Community Based Learning

What is Community-Based Learning at Yale?

Community-Based Learning (CBL) allows students and community organizations to work together to meet both an organization’s needs and students’ academic requirements . Community nonprofit and government organizations identify projects of research, analysis, or evaluation that would be helpful to them.   These projects are then matched to courses at Yale. Students complete research for the community organizations which compliments coursework; in the past, the research has culminated in a paper that serves as the final project for the class and serves as a resource for the organization. The goal of the CBL project is to assist, rather than merely study the organizations, although the work that students do for the organization will be incorporated into a final research paper or project for their class.

Why Community Based Learning?

Completing a service based research project within the rigorous academic framework provided by a class allows students a unique forum to make connections between academia and service in ways they cannot do as comprehensively through separate academic and service experiences.   The combination of theory and application enhances academic life and makes CBL different from either internships and jobs or purely academic courses. The inclusion of a community based learning component brings fresh enthusiasm to the classroom, and a deeper level of intellectual engagement. Implemented properly, it has the potential to bring students and teachers closer to the material, the community, and each other.  

Benefits for students:

  • Integrate theory and practice
  • Compare the nuances of real life experiences to texts and the arguments laid out by authors read for class
  • Enrich role as a citizen of New Haven by becoming more closely linked to the community
  • Build leadership skills.
  • Engage more thoroughly with the material
  • Receive WR distributional requirement credit

Benefits for Faculty:

  • Connecting research interests with community organizations.
  • Promotes a lively exchange of ideas in class and pushes students to be more engaged with practical applications of theory
  • Forming a closer bond with community organizations as well as students

Benefits for Community Organizations:

  • Receive assistance on articulating research needs that your organization struggles to address,
  • coordinate with faculty and students at Yale, build a broader volunteer and support network within the University.
    • Forming a closer bond with students and faculty at Yale
    • Getting more dedicated and educated interns in the future who have a vested interest in your organization through their classroom work with you
  • Projects can assist with gathering data and information about those you serve, demographics, effectiveness of programs

Contact Us

Whether you are a professor, community partner or student, there is space to get involved in Community Based Learning at Yale. Contact CBL student Co-Directors Jacob Wolf-Sorokin ‘16 and Justine Yan ‘14 for more information.