Learning Outside Classroom Walls

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

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 that 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. These relationships result in learning, reflection, and the practice of civic responsibility.


Please contact  Ann Hughes, director of  the Ware Institute.