Community-Based Learning: Working in Community

Winter 2022
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 17
12 16 Credits per quarter
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This Student-Originated Studies (SOS) is designed to support student research, learning and practice in a cluster of areas such as gender, racial, and economic justice; food regimes and farmworker justice; student and youth movements; labor movements; communities organizing for civil, economic and human rights, and in response to prisons, national security policy, and militarization. SOS CCBLA is offered for students who have made solid arrangements with community-based organizations or agencies to shape an internship or students who have developed a plan for an independent study that involves community-based learning, organizing, research, and participation. The Center for Community Based Learning and Action offers students support to plan spring internships and community projects. Please contact CCBLA Director Ellen Shortt Sanchez ( to explore community opportunities or go to Community work should be remote; students may also apply to work in a hybrid mode with COVID safety plans. In program internship contracts for hybrid activities now include COVID waivers to be signed by field supervisor and student.

Students will develop strong links to organizations, regional social movements, and community mentors and partners who will be the students guides and hosts in their work. Working in conjunction with schools, advocacy groups and other non-profit organizations, students will examine what is means to work with and support community-based institutions in our region. We will meet as a program to investigate what it means to learn from community-based work, drawing on the elements of popular education to explore ideas such as praxis, pedagogy, participatory democracy and collective strategies of resistance to oppression and the misuses of power.

A second goal is to create a community of learners in our classroom so that collectively, we can support each other’s individual projects.  How do we approach community-based work? How can we study about, learn from, and engage with our local communities in respectful, non-dominating, non-coercive ways? How do theoretical frameworks inform community work? How do practical experiences inform theories? What role does self-reflexive collective practice play in the transformation of community?

Listening to each other and learning to give constructive feedback will allow us to reflect on our learning, the challenges we face and the benefits we receive from working in community settings. We will do our best to create a space where we can allow ourselves to make mistakes, laugh, learn from one another and from each other’s experiences. Questions we will often return to are: how are our struggles connected? What strategies have advocates of women’s rights, immigrant rights, workers’ rights, indigenous rights, queer rights, prisoners’ rights, environmental rights and others used to counter the exclusionary and exploitative effects of capitalism?

Students will meet remotely every week and complete weekly asynchronous work via Canvas. In our studies, we will emphasize modes of identifying and valuing community knowledge—knowledge that supports activism and advocacy. We’ll address the practical and theoretical issues of community work: How do we value our own distinctive identities while respecting differences we encounter? What skills do communities find useful? How does collaboration differ from helping?

This program allows for some flexibility in how you set up your community-based work/independent research project. In addition to class meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday (7 hours):
  • Enrolling for 16 credits will involve 200 hours of community-based/independent project work (10 weeks x 20 hrs.)
  • Enrolling for 12 credits will involve 100 hours of community-based/independent project work (10 weeks x 10 hrs.)


Winter 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20225
So - Sr (12): 20226

Academic details

Preparatory For

Education, Community-based organizations, Government and Non-Government agencies, Labor organizing, Immigrant Advocacy, Law, Food Justice and Food Systems

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting