Learning Community

The Learning Community for Community-Based Learning is a two-year program that supports the creation of high quality community-based learning (service-learning) courses to foster the development of students in the areas of personal and social responsibility, civic action, and community engagement.  Participants will expand their understanding of service-learning pedagogy, dialogue with peers engaged in course (re)design, and participate in an on-going professional development support network during course delivery.  Participants will implement their course in the second year of the program.  After successfully completing the first year, participants receive $500 in professional development funds.  Participants also have access to funds to support course implementation in the second year.

Applications due August 6, 2021     DOWNLOAD APPLICATION

Questions?  Contact the BGSU Center for Public Impact at publicimpact@bgsu.edu or 419-372-9865
First Year Expectations
  • Participants meet seven to eight times per semester and engage in a well-developed curriculum including readings, discussions, and activities on topics such as:
    • Course design and learning outcomes
    • Developing strong community partnerships
    • Reflection facilitation and tools
    • Logistical planning
    • Preparing students to engage
    • Cultural competencies for community engagement
    • Community-based research and scholarship
    • Assessment and sustainability
  • Participants work individually and support each other in (re)designing a course to include community-based learning, with the intent of implementing the course in the second year.
Second Year Expectations
  • Participants teach their CBL course during the fall, spring, or summer following their first year.
  • Attend monthly learning community meetings as the new courses are implemented.
  • Participate in community’s activities, topics, and/or projects, including the BGSU Teaching and Learning Fair (March).

Candidates should be tenure-track faculty members (including assistant, associate, and full professors), Lecturers, or Instructors, who have experience with community-based learning or a passion for the development of community-based pedagogies and engagement. Collaborative applications focused on integrating curricular and co-curricular engagement may also include an administrative staff member as a co-applicant.

Participants will be chosen to create a diverse group representing a variety of disciplines, experiences, and colleges at main campus and Firelands.  Graduate students are eligible to apply to participate in the learning community as part of our commitment to the development of future faculty members. Graduate students who are interested in the learning community should send an email to publicimpact@bgsu.edu to discuss the application process.

  • Receive $500 of professional development money in the first year of the learning community.
  • Qualify to access funds to support course implementation.  Amount it determined on a case-by-case basis depending on course needs.
  • Connect to community partners and organizations.
  • Develop knowledge of learning outcomes for community-based learning and assessment resources.
  • Build a network of peers committed to community-based learning and research.
  • Explore best practices in community-based pedagogy and course design.
  • Incorporate community partnership best practices into course design and delivery.
  • Participate in an on-going support network during course delivery.
  • Build an on-going relationship with the Center for Public Impact.

"The Office of Service Learning and the Service Learning Faculty Learning Community (SLFLC) offer a wealth of information and experience that allow faculty to benefit whether they are brand new to the concept or have taught multiple service learning courses. The Service Learning Faculty Learning Community allows faculty to exchange ideas, discuss projects, provide collegial support, and discuss the many opportunities and challenges that are part of service learning projects. For me personally, the first year of the SLFLC was spent developing and implementing a new a course utilizing service learning where students worked with individuals with neurocognitive disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) in long-term care facilities and adult day health centers. While this was not ideal timing for development of a course within the SLFLC, the support of staff and colleagues allowed me to navigate that first course. By the second year, I was learning how to incorporate new ideas like utilizing a peer facilitator and examining how I could utilize what I was doing with service learning as not just a pedagogical approach, but also  blending research into the course through examining the benefits and challenges of service learning implementation into the curriculum. I found my participation in the SLFLC beneficial and would encourage those who are newly interested in service learning, as well as though who have already incorporated service learning into their curriculum, to consider how developing strength in active service learning can benefit their program, department and BGSU’s reputation as an institution that offers opportunities for active and critical learning."


"I had a great experience in the learning community. First I learned a lot. Though I had some previous experience with community-based learning prior to coming to BGSU, this learning community gave me the time to study best practices in depth and reflect on how I could incorporate them into my own teaching. Second, I improved as a teacher by learning new pedagogical practices. Initially, I planned to incorporate new learning experiences into an existing course, but was inspired to develop a new course on the politics and policy of poverty through discussions with fellow cohort members and the CCCE staff.  They put me in touch with community partners and gave me the confidence to understand how to integrate CBL practices into the new course. As a result, I incorporated policy advocacy assignments, a simulation, and thoughtful reflection essays into the course.Third, I really enjoyed the peers I met. As a new professor at BGSU, I got to meet other like-minded colleagues who were in my cohort. I also really enjoyed our last meeting, where we presented the new course to our cohort, as well as past cohort participants, and received valuable feedback on where to improve."