What is community-based learning and research?

Community-based learning and research is a teaching and learning strategy that emphasizes experiential learning, direct service, and community partnership. All partners in community-based learning and research are both teachers and learners. Practical solutions take shape as students, faculty, community partners and staff share their knowledge and skills to research questions presented by community organizations. Community-based learning takes place in academic courses, internships, independent studies, EXCEL scholar projects, independent faculty research, and student clubs and honor societies.

Community-based learning and research allows students and faculty to:
  • Test the validity of facts and theories, and study concrete instances of phenomena presented in course readings, lectures, and discussions
  • Learn from people in the local community who have expertise in subjects outside of Lafayette faculty expertise
  • Analyze ways in which concepts and skills learned in a traditional academic setting might be used to solve real-life problems
  • Work collaboratively with those not part of the campus community to design and implement projects that benefit the larger community
  • Pursue scholarly projects in their field of interest

Experiential learning in action