Community-Based Learning

CBL Designation

One of UW-Whitewater's hallmarks is its ongoing commitment to community engagement and student success. As stated in Goal 2, Objective 2 of the Strategic Plan, UW-Whitewater is committed to "activites that enhance student learning and development" and has set a goal to "Increase student participation in High-Impact Practices (HIPs)..." 

Community-Based Learning (CBL) is one of these recognized high impact practices. CBL is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service/experiences with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their community experiences. We believe that faculty and staff can play a crucial role in communities beyond campus by forming reciprocally beneficial partnerships that Inspire, Engage, and Transform the learning experience for UW-Whitewater students while directly benefitting the community. 

Formalizing a process for CBL course designation provides a number of benefits to students, faculty and staff, assists us in meeting the goals of the Strategic Plan, and furthers our commitment to LEAP. 

Benefit to Students

  • Make informed decisions when selecting courses
  • Honors Students may receive honors credit for CBL courses (see H-Option for more information).
  • Advisors will be better equipped to help students select CBL classes and explain the benefits of participating in a HIP. 

Benefit to Instructors

  • Receive recognition for incorporating CBL into their courses
  • More readily communicate course components to prospective students
  • CBL courses will be searchable and easier to market to future students 

Benefit to UW-Whitewater

  • CBL designation will allow UW-Whitewater to track participation in CBL and develop strategies to increase participation 
  • Useful for reporting both internally (e.g. annual reports, audit and review, etc.) and externally (e.g. UW System)

Links to Curriculum 

  • Clear evidence in the syllabus and/or other course documents of a CBL project and/or experience
  • Service outcomes are listed and clearly aligned with both course learning outcomes and campus-wide CBL SLOs 

Links to Reflection/Assessments

  • Student reflection during and after the CBL experience 
  • Assessment of students' engagement in complex community topics or issues, including their personal role in such issues
  • Reflection affords students the opportunity to gain understanding of multiple perspectives 

Articulation of Partnership/Meaningful Service

  • Commits to working with one or more community partner (school(s), non-profit(s), business(es), or an on-campus unit in a meaningful, reciprocal partnership
  • The CBL partnership leads to attainable and measurable outcomes that are valued by the community partner
  • Incorporates student choice and voice related to content or process of the CBL experience 

Duration and Progress Monitoring

  • All students are engaged in at least 15 hours of CBL experience* (direct contact, training/prep, project work, reflection)
  • On-going communication with the community partner, students, and instructor to keep all parties well informed about activities, progress, and project measures (i.e. assignments, scheduled check-in dates, etc.)

*Note: For 1- or 2- credit courses, this expectation would be reduced

Take the following steps to officially designate your class as a community-based learning (CBL) course. The CBL designation will apply to a specific instructor and their section(s) of a course offered in a specificed semester. 

New Application

Step 1: Instructor uses this form to submit proposal and supporting documentation. 

  • Indicate specific term, course, and section number(s)
  • Attach a syllabus plus additional course material as necessary 

Step 2: The proposal first goes to the Department Chair for acknowledgment; the Chair is affirming their support for this CBL offering. 

Step 3: The proposal is then reviewed by the Community Based Learning Council, which is comprised of CBL practitioners from each UWW College and chaired by CBL Coordinator. 

Step 4: If the proposal is approved, the CBL coordinator will direct the Registrar to add the CBL designation and a standard explanatory note to the relevant course section(s). 

  • CBL Courses will be designated with the letter Z
  • The Registrar's office will also create a course attribute for the CBL course sections
  • The following note will be added to the Course section: This is a community-based learning class that will engage students in collaborative learning experiences with partner community organizations. It is possible that part of the work you perform with your community partner will occur off campus. Your professor will provide more details on the first day of class. 

Expedited Process for Renewal 

This procedure is to be used for a course that has already been approved as a CBL course using the process explained above.

Step 1: Proposer updates existing approved proposal for new semester and section number(s) and, if necessary, makes other edits such as change of partner. 

Step 2: Updated form is submitted to the Department Chair for acknowledgment. 

Step 1: Proposer updates existing approved proposal for new semester and section number(s) and, if necessary, makes other edits such as change of partner. 

Step 3: The proposal then goes to the CBL coordinator for automatic approval and forwarding of information to the Registrar's Office. The Council will be informed of renewals but does not need to act unless substantive changes are being made. 

Note: If a proposal is not approved, the CBL coordinator will inform the proposer and provide feedback and suggestions for revision (either immediately or for a future semester). 

Course Name Sections designated as CBL
Accounting 357 Laura Poupitch 
CIGENRL 403/603 Melanie Schneider
Counsed 72- Ola Bamgbose
Counsed 743 Anne Garvey Shah
English 163 Rossi Ivanova
English 435  Janine Tobeck
History 190 Anthony G. Gulig
ITSCM 385 Andrew Ciganek or Christina Outlay
ITSCM 451 Timothy Carone- Section 1
ITSCM 452 Roger Yin- Section 1
MKT 350 Karen Whalen 
MKT 479 Carol Scovotti and Victor Berger
MKT 491 Karen Whalen 
Psychology 487 Heather Niemeier
SCIBUS 485 Dennis Kopf
Social Work 361 Jeannine Rowe
Social Work 493 All
Social Work 764 All
Social Work 783 All
Social Work 784 All
Spanish 321  Jodie Parys
Spanish 322 Jodie Parys and Maria Elena White
Spanish 371 Jodie Parys
Spanish 372 Lisa Huempfner

Spanish 491/SocialWork 491/Public Health 491 (Health and Aging in Costa Rica)

Jodie Parys and Jeannine Rowe

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester offerings:
    • January 15
  • Spring semester offerings:
    • August 30
  • Summer offerings:
    • December 15

Submit your proposals and supporting documentation HERE