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Community-Based Learning

The mission of Community-Based Learning at Inver Hills is to involve students and faculty in a methodology that blends academic learning with community service to encourage civic engagement, enhance the educational process and build community through active involvement.

Contact Information

Emily Johnson
Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning


Center for Career Development and Community-Based Learning

College Center, 2nd Floor

CBL Links

Career Development Links

Community-Based Learning

What is Community-Based Learning?

Community-based learning (CBL) happens when students and faculty enhance their course experience by applying the concepts and skills they have acquired in their coursework to a real-world context that meets a community need. A wide variety of possibilities exist for community-based learning collaborations between classrooms and community partners.

diagram of CBL collaboration

Community-based learning can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  • Individually or by an entire class (required for credit or optional)
  • Direct service or indirect service
  • Research or advocacy
  • In the community, in the classroom or completely online

Benefits of CBL


  • Explore majors and career options
  • Enhance skills such as communications, critical-thinking and problem-solving
  • Develop you understanding of diverse communities and social issues
  • Build your resume for scholarships, applying to other universities and future employment
  • Meet class requirements and strengthen your understanding of course content
  • Engage, serve and learn about your community


  • Support retention and persistence initiatives
  • Build community partners and stakeholders
  • Enhance pedagogy and develop creative and diverse teaching strategies
  • Broader awareness of current societal issues as they relate to their academic areas of interest
  • Increases opportunities for professional recognition and reward while also introducing new areas for research and publication

Community partners:

  • Help prepare today's students to be tomorrow's civic leaders
  • Meet organization’s needs for human resources and support the organization’s mission
  • Bring new energy, perspectives and enthusiasm to the organization and clients they serve
  • Contribute to the organization's volunteer pool
  • Increase public awareness of key issues and correct any misperceptions
  • Network with colleagues in other organizations and agencies
  • Identify and access other university resources; build relationships with faculty, students, and staff

The Impact of CBL

Since the Community-Based Learning program at Inver Hills began in 2003, students have contributed more than 100,000 hours of community service, and we’re still growing. During spring 2015 alone, more than 70 courses and 1,000 students participated in community-based learning.

How does a student participate in CBL?

Check out CBL in Inver Hills News

America Reads and Counts

The America Reads and America Counts Challenge Acts were passed by President Bill Clinton in 1997. The goal of the acts were to increase reading and math skills in gradeschoolers. Reading and math skills begin at a very early age, and it’s up to a student’s teacher, parents, and other adults in their lives to help them excel in these abilities. Unfortunately, not every child gets the amount of attention they need and deserve when it comes to their reading and math skills. Visit America Reads and Counts to learn more.

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