Jade, IHCC student, participates in a handshake
Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning

You don't have to wait until you graduate to put your knowledge to work. Through Community-based learning, you can collaborate with local high schools, conduct research with community partners and solve operations issues for organizations.

Community-Based Learning Showcase

Contact Information

Shannon Williams
Community-Based Learning Coordinator


Dr. Amy Zsohar
Faculty, Communications
Co-Chair CBL Faculty Community of Practice


Welcome to our online celebration of community-based learning (CBL)!

CBL at Inver Hills offers a wide variety of ways to learn and engage with the community, whether that is the campus community, Dakota County, state of Minnesota, and beyond. CBL takes place inside and outside the classroom through courses, Student Life, and campus events.

There are many benefits to participating in CBL; including:

  • Concrete experience to showcase to employers skills in problem solving, communication, critical thinking skills, and more
  • Hands-on way of learning course content
  • Building relationships with students, faculty, staff and community members
  • Learning civic skills
  • And for some, finding your passion and way to make a change in the world

Thank you to all the students, faculty, staff, and community partners for another successful year!

CBL Courses

Community-Based Learning courses change from semester to semester. They are made possible by the dedication and hard work of faculty who believe in this proven high-impact practice. Faculty – learn more about how CBL can be a form of teaching and engagement in your class by checking out our resources here.

Interpersonal Communication, Dr. Amy Zsohar

Students learned about interpersonal communication by partnering, volunteering, and completing a project with The Link CORE Drop In Center, a nonprofit focused on youth homelessness in Dakota County. (Fall, 2 sections)

Students learned about deliberative dialogue through a partnership with Better Angels. Students learned skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground and affirm the importance of maintaining relationships with those on the other side of the political divide. (Spring)

Students learned about interpersonal communication through the lens of sexual violence prevention with the partnership of Counseling, Student Life, Lewis House, and social justice educator Guante. (Spring)

Small Group Communication, Brad Manley

Students worked in small groups to plan and execute a program or project in conjunction with a community-based partner. (Fall and Spring)

Economics for Consumers, Scott Sandok

Students had the ability to earn a full letter grade of extra credit by volunteering with Junior Achievement. (Fall)

Introduction to Education and Reflective Teaching, Cheryl Redinger

Students served a minimum of 30 hours over the course of the semester in a PreK – 12 classroom. (Fall and Spring)

Introduction to Academic Writing, Laura Funke

Students wrote and read cultural folktales to kids at Garlough Elementary School. (Fall)

Introduction to Social Work, TBD (Fall) and Janice Hofschulte (Spring)

Students volunteered at a social services agency for 15 hours over the course of the semester to get a feel for social services work. (Fall and Spring)

College Success Strategies, Dr. Zsohar

Students interviewed IHCC alumni and created blog posts, videos and podcasts as part of the college’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. (Fall, 3 sections)

18 and Nowhere to Go Learning Community, Dr. Lisa DuRose and Dr. Julie Luker

Students partnered with Ampersand Families, a St Paul agency that advocates for systemic change in the foster care system and has an emphasis on serving teenagers in the system. Students wrote persuasive letters to stakeholders advocating for changes to the foster care system. (Fall)

Power of Stories Learning Community, Mary Thompson and Laurel Watt

Students interviewed residents of Timber Hills Presbyterian Homes and clients of DARTS for a storytelling project. Students asked seniors about their formal and informal education experiences and then wrote their stories. (Fall)

Life is a Journey Learning Community, Patrick Chaussee and Laura Funke

Students participated in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week by attending a guest speaker presentation by Ryan Berg of Avenues for Youth. (Fall)

Reading Workshop, Greg Dahlstrom

Students developed and put on a one-hour reading event for kids at Discovery Charter School. The event included reading books selected by Inver students and creating/leading discussion. (Fall)

Introduction to Engineering, Joan Carter

Students showcased their engineering projects to visiting AVID students from Inver Grove Heights. (Fall)

Environmental Science, Tanya Smutka

Students prepared and shared presentations on current environmental science topics to visiting AVID students. (Fall)

Nursing Leadership I, Amy Matthys

Students complete a site visit, interview, and quality/safety project proposal for Good Samaritan of Inver Grove Heights and St Terese of Woodbury. (Fall and Spring)

Introduction to Sociology, Maureen Clark

Students were given the opportunity to volunteer with a local nonprofit as an option for one assignment. (Fall)

Introduction to American Culture, Dr. Katie Nelson

Students learned about American culture through the census. A guest speaker from Voices for Racial Justice presented about hard-to-count communities, fear and reasons for not participating in the census, and what’s at stake by not participating. Students then created messages targeted at hard-to-count communities. (Spring)

Biology: From Cell to Organism, Tanya Smutka

Students taught visiting AVID students from Lake Middle School how to build cell models. (Spring)

Psychology of Death, Dying and Loss, Connie Manos-Andrea

Students planned, prepared and hosted an “Intergenerational Coffee and Conversation Hour” with residents at Timber Hills Presbyterian Home on Student Success Day. (Spring)

CBL Projects Planned but Canceled Due to COVID-19

Biology Lab, Courtney Hickey

Students planned to teach visiting students from Falcon Ridge Middle School about basic bones in humans and compare them to bones in animals.

Environmental Science, Tanya Smutka

Students planned to showcase and deliver presentations on current environmental topics to AVID students from Eastview High School.


Co-Curricular Community-Based Learning

From voter registration to guest speakers to direct service, Inver Hills engages and learns with our community outside the classroom through Student Life clubs, campus events, and community partners. Here are just a few of the activities from this year!

Opportunity Fair

During Welcome Week, dozens of organizations joined us on campus to share their volunteer and paid opportunities. It was a great way to form connections between students and our community partners! Check out the photo album!

Voter Engagement

The Center hosted a paid Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) intern in fall 2019 to focus on voter education and turnout. Our CEEP intern coordinated and assisted with six GOTV events, many in collaboration with Student Senate.

IHCC and DCTC Day of Service

Day of Service

The Center collaborated with the Foundation to plan a joint Day of Service for IHCC and DCTC’s 50th anniversary. More than 100 faculty, staff and students worked together to carry out service projects on and off campus! Check out the photo album!

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Communication classes, Counseling, LGBT+ Club, and the Center collaborated on programming for the national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in November. Events included spoken word poetry, SNAP enrollment help, guest speaker Ryan Berg from Avenues for Youth, and a collection drive. Check out the photo album for the spoken word coffeehouse event!

Census 2020

IHCC's participation in the census started back in August when seven staff, faculty and students attended an institute on higher education and the census. This group continued to work throughout the academic year to inform students about the census and encourage participation; including: class discussions and projects, a Cultural Dialogue with TRIO, hosting census job recruiters on campus, coordinating guest speaker presentations, and passing out lots of information.

census hiring
census staff

Student Volunteer Events

We love to collaborate on service projects! We worked with clubs like Nursing Club, Psi Beta and VIBE Club, and also host on-campus service projects like Inver Loves Volunteers, where students made valentines for residents at Timber Hills/Presbyterian Homes. Volunteering is a great way to build connections, gain experience and have fun! Since we began distance learning after spring break, we continue to try and foster these things through remote service events like the Inver Together campaign and the Earth Day action contest.

Thank you

Thank you to our community partners who give their time and talent to co-educate our students and provide transformative learning experiences.

  • 360 Communities
  • Ampersand Families
  • City of Inver Grove Heights
  • Discovery Charter School
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Garlough Environmental Magnet School
  • Good Samaritan Society
  • Inver Grove Heights School District
  • Junior Achievement
  • Living Well Disability Services
  • Loaves and Fishes
  • Neighbors Inc.
  • Prodeo Academy
  • Salvation Army
  • St Terese of Woodbury
  • The Link CORE Drop In Center
  • The Open Door
  • Timber Hills
  • ...and many more!

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