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Community Engagement & Service

Community-Based Learning Course Designation Request Form

Please complete the form below to submit your request for the Community-Based Learning Course Designation (CB). Currently the designation is available for undergraduate courses. Once approved, your course will be listed with the letters "CB" through the registrar. This will enable students to search for a list of all community-based learning courses.

Submissions are reviewed by staff in the Center for Community Engagement & Service. They will be evaluated based on American University's definition and criteria for Community-Based Learning. You will want to be sure to note how your class meets these criteria through your syllabus or other supporting documents. Once processed, you will be notified of designation approval or with feedback on the changes necessary to earn the designation.

  • Deadline to submit for Spring 2018 Designation: Monday, September 25th at 5pm.

AU's Community-Based Learning Definition & Criteria:

Community-based learning (CBL) (also commonly known as "service-learning") at American University is an academic, course-based pedagogy that extends and deepens classroom-based learning through meaningful involvement with a community agency, nonprofit organization, or school.  Through a planned collaboration between the professor/class and community partners, all stakeholders benefit from the CBL experience, both by meeting course objectives and addressing community-identified goals and needs.

During the course of the semester, students critically process and reflect on their experiences to heighten their engagement with central academic themes, bridge theory and practice, and contribute to clarification of their own personal values, career goals, and sense of social responsibility. Student-produced CBL service, projects, or research contribute positively to the community or organization.


1. The entire class is involved in community-based learning.

2. Reciprocity is a key characteristic of the service-learning partnership.

3. A minimum of 20 service-learning hours are required.

4. Faculty will prepare students for community entry.

5. Students critically reflect on their experiences.

6. Academic credit is earned for learning, not for service alone.

7. Students, the instructor, and the community serve as co-educators.

8. All courses are Assessed at the student, instructor, and community levels.