Community-Based Teaching & Learning

Community-based teaching and learning is embraced by schools and departments across Washington University.

Often referred to as service-learning, key elements include learning activities in service to an organization or community, course content and assignments connected to that partnership, and faculty oversight.

To nurture growth in this area, the Institute offers technical and financial assistance, individual consultation, and facilitation of community partnerships.

Washington University offers more than 75 courses that include a community-based component. Community-based teaching and learning courses (CBTL) offered in 2014-2015 can be found listed by school in the right-hand sidebar.

If you know of updates or a course that should be listed here, please contact us.

View a full listing of courses by topic area.

Resources by Specific Group

The Gephardt Institute offers a variety of services to faculty to support CBTL. Please contact Jenni Harpring to learn more.

CBTL Grant

The Gephardt Institute offers limited financial support for costs associated with CBTL courses and research, through the Civic Engagement Fund.

Technical Assistance for Course Development

Not sure where to start with your planning? Have a community partner, but unsure of the type of student project? Looking for a potential partner? Contact us to consult on CBTL course development and implementation.

Partnership Development

The Gephardt Institute collaborates with faculty to secure partnerships for CBTL courses. For example, our request for projects process helps ensure community voice throughout the partnership. See an example of our work with the Brown School that results in approximately 35 community partnerships for 150 students in 6 course sections.

Critical Reflection Facilitation/Training

Reflection deepens the CBTL experience. We train faculty and staff across campus to facilitate activities and lead conversations about civic engagement, community service and social change from experts in the field. Contact us for more information about customizable sessions.


What kind of impact does your course have on students? What about impact on community partners? The Gephardt Institute can help you evaluate student civic engagement and community partner outcomes. We can develop a tool specifically designed for measuring the impact of your CBTL course. See our work with the Sam Fox School Alberti Program.

Do you have a project sitting on the shelf? A question that your agency needs answered?

Students may be able to help give your organization the jump start needed to tackle them. We support courses that partner with community, government, and nonprofit organizations.

For information on how the Gephardt Institute can assist, please contact Matthew Bakko.

The Gephardt Institute also supports the George Warren Brown School of Social Work’s CBTL course, Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities. Under the supervision of a faculty member, students apply their developing knowledge and skills in stakeholder assessment, community engagement, and management in diverse settings. Potential outcomes for you may include expanded programs and services, new insight into organizational decision-making, or improvements in fundraising and grant-making processes. For information on the Request for Projects process for this specific course, please click here.

"I was immersed in new perspectives and encouraged
to think critically and holistically about how policy and infrastucture affect older adults."
- Shayel Patnaik,
Arts & Sciences '18, after taking "When I'm 64"