Learning Outside Classroom Walls

  • 13 South Africa Course
  • 13 S Africa CBL Intern on field
  • 13 S Africa Interns-2
  • Asylum class
  • PIT at Central Market
  • F&M Works in Lancaster
  • PSSI Program
  • PSSI Program
How the Ware Institute Can Assist Faculty

We have carefully fostered many community partnerships in Lancaster and can assist faculty with finding appropriate placements in the community for their students.  We provide orientation for students before they engage with the community, arrange transportation and process clearances if necessary. We can also review best practices for designing a CBL class with interested faculty.

Prior to completeing the Faculty Proposal form below, please review the Human Subject Study and Animal Study Policies & Guidelines.

Faculty Proposal Form for Community-based Learning Course

What Students Say About Community-based Learning:

Community-based learning 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

What is Community-based Learning?

Community-based Learning (CBL) is an academic pedagogy that links traditional classroom learning to real, hands-on experiences and learning in the larger community. Students are challenged to link the theories that they learn in the classroom to the realities in the field. Some examples of CBL opportunities include F&M students working on political asylum cases with a local non-profit legal organization, students working with a local judge in a Drug-court setting, or students teaching School District of Lancaster students about artifacts from the Thaddeus Steven’s archeological dig.

CBL differs from voluntarism in that students are prompted to intentionally reflect on their experiences and link their hands-on experience with readings and lectures. The relationship between the community and the students is reciprocal, in that students learn from the community, but also provide a valuable service to the community.

Activities undertaken with the community outside the classroom provide students with experiences to test the theories and ideas they learn in their course lectures and assignments.  In the Lancaster area, this could mean working with a museum, social service agency, municipality or other organization which is related to the subject being studied.

Guided reflection activities, in the form of papers, journals, or in-class discussions, further enable students to perceive and grapple with the connections between their coursework and their work in the community.  

Key Components of CBL
  • Commitment to community partnerships
  • Learning and academic rigor
  • Internal reflective thinking
  • Practice of civic responsibility

The Ware Institutue arranges all the contacts and logistical details for students and faculty who incorporate a CBL component into their courses, matching the needs of local community partners with the educational goals of faculty members and students' availability.


For more information about community-based learning please contact Dr. Susan Dicklitch, Professor of Government, Director of the Ware Institute, Associate Dean of the College or Lisa Wolfe, Associate Director, the Ware Institute.