Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning is a way for students to actively connect their academic work with direct experience in the community. By combining hands-on work in the community with the academic framework provided by the curriculum, students gain a rich experience of social issues. Students learn about the workings of community; encounter differences related to race, class, and privilege; gain a deeper understanding about social justice; and are able to do work that is beneficial to others. They also gain a greater understanding of themselves.

Community-based learning emphasizes academic rigor, reflection, and developing ongoing community partnerships. All academic disciplines and divisions (humanities, social sciences, sciences, and the arts) can integrate community-based learning practices.

Goucher College's Community-Based Learning program offers opportunities in 10 distinct areas.

  • Animal Welfare
  • Criminal Justice & Prison Education
  • Community Organizing
  • Empowering Ability
  • Environmental Justice
  • Food & Housing Security
  • K-12 Education & Youth Development
  • Immigrant & Refugee Programs
  • Neighborhood Development
  • Health and Wellness/Mindfulness

There are many ways to get involved with Community-Based Learning and social justice programs.

  • Become a part of one of Goucher's weekly signature programs, including a unique off-campus Federal Work Study job;
  • Volunteer with a local organization through the Community-Based Learning blog to learn more about one-time and periodic service events with one of our many community partners;
  • Get involved with an activist or social justice student club, or volunteer through Athletics or Spiritual and Religious Life;
  • Apply to be on the Social Justice Committee, a body within Goucher Student Government;
  • Take a Community-Based Learning course;
  • Participate in a community-based internship;
  • Serve on the Social Justice and Activist Alliance; or
  • Apply to be a Student Leader for Civic Action, a student director for one of our weekly signature programs.

Our programs support organizations throughout Baltimore City and Baltimore County. These opportunities range from weekly and ongoing volunteer programs to credit-bearing Community-Based Learning courses, and also include the community-based programs lead by members of student clubs, athletic teams, and other campus groups. In 2013-2014, more than 1,000 Goucher students participated in a community-based experience with 60 community partners, with over 31,000 documented hours of community engagement. Goucher offers nine signature weekly volunteer programs that span from tutoring in Baltimore City schools to organic gardening on local farms.

Please contact Lindsay K. Johnson ’05, associate director of community-based learning (410-337-6262, lijohnso@goucher.edu), if you have any questions about community-based opportunities or would like to know more about a federal work study position within the Community-Based Learning Program.