Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Franklin & Marshall Faculty and Students Talk About Community-Based Learning


"As America becomes an increasingly segregated society, both economically and socially, service-learning courses break down barriers and force students to confront some of America's most serious social, political, and economic problems. Through service-learning courses, students don't merely read about our problems, they find themselves smack in the middle of them -- and that involvement makes them more critical readers, better students and thoughtful citizens."

-- Stanley Michalak,
The Hon. And Mrs. John C. Kunkel Professor of Government



"This is more than volunteer work, more than just helping people in the community. The students' time spent in service to the community helps them internalize the concepts they are discussing in the classroom. service learning really works!"

-- Sean Flaherty,
Professor of Economics, Director of Service Learning



"I strongly believe that you can blend academics in the ivory tower with practical knowledge that also helps the community."

-- Susan Dicklitch, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of the College ,
Director, The Ware Institute for Civic Engagement



"Thinking back on my experience teaching "Community and Culture in Metropolitan America", I would have to say that I most value how it broadened our students' perception of community. Over the course of the semester, Lancaster became the "common ground" and established our "common cause." It challenged all of us--students, faculty, and the city itself--to imagine for ourselves new identities, new questions, and new possibilities. What is education, if not that?"

--Linda Aleci,
Associate Professor and Chair, Art & Art History Department

  • Eddie Alsina '16

What Students think about Community-Based Learning

"CBL class allow students to engage through service with the Lancaster community while gaining more of an academic understanding for why fundamental injustices occur in our world, our country, and our neighborhoods. CBL courses have fueled my intellectual curiosity and allowed me to gain knowledge about the world in a way that a traditional course never has.

In Citizenship I learned of various political sciences and their interpretation of Citizenship and what it means to be stateless. While reading Sandell, I was also assisting a refugee family from Nepal to life examples of what stateless individuals have endured and what it meant to become a citizen of a new country. Though I can no longer quote Sandell, I will always remember my refugee family and what they taught me about life, family, and citizenship.

In Drug Courts I was made aware of the revolving door experiences that most addicts face. They do drugs, commit a crime, go to jail, get released eventually and the cycle starts all over again. The Drug Courts program in Lancaster County strive to work with individuals that are ready to change the fundamental root of their problem: addiction. This class allowed me to observe and interact with addicts that used all sorts of drugs ranging from alcohol to heroine. My knowledge about the struggles addicts face and the real problem solving strategies is one that will guide me in all paths of life.

Learning about health care issues in the US and South Africa through statistics is one way to study public health. Applying that knowledge to helping treat and start TB campaigns for patients in the Masipumelele Living Hope Primary Health Clinic allows you to fully understand what the HIV/AIDS epidemic means for babies, women and men across the globe. It is these experiences that have shaped my goals and future aspirations.

Providing tax services for low-income families in Lancaster allows us to learn what it means to be living in poverty. VITA: Social In/justices in Lancaster allows a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the existence of poverty in the Lancaster area and how different vulnerable groups are significantly affected by the local economy.

The liberal arts ultimately create educated citizens of the world that have a core understanding of one academic subject while they gain education and appreciation in all sorts of fields. CBL courses allow F&M citizens to understand problems and issues through a rigorous academic approach while using real life experiences to enhance their understanding of the injustices that exist in our world."

-- Mona Lotfipour '12


"Community Based Learning (CBL) classes have transformed my academic and personal experience here at F&M.  From taking these classes, my life has been turned in a completely new direction, as a member of the community here at F&M and of the world.   To be a member of the community, we must know what is going in within that community and be able to not just study it, but participate in it.  Community Based Learning classes provide that opportunity. Sometimes at F&M, we are isolated to the realm of academics, but CBL courses take you out of the classroom and put that knowledge into practice.

In taking the Citizenship Seminar, which works with refugee families that have recently been resettled in Lancaster, I have been able to help assimilate a Burmese family into a new life, while simultaneously reading about why they were put in the position of persecution that brought them here.  This opportunity has changed my global perspective into a local one, where the help I can give is right down the street. CBL classes have allowed me to experience what it feels like to learn and to teach, to be a leader and a follower, and to use my academics in practice instead of just in theory.  It is something no student should miss out on at F&M. "

-- Lilah Thompson '11 

  • lilah thompson
  • "Community Based Learning (CBL)
  • classes have transformed my academic and personal experience here at F&M.  From taking these classes, my life has been turned in a completely new direction, as a member of the community here at F&M and of the world."

    Lilah Thompson '11