Community-Based Learning in Psychology

Community-based learning is a way for students to actively connect their academic work with direct experience in the community. 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.  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.

Community-based learning is part of a growing number of psychology courses. Community partners include schools and organizations in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Community-Based Learning Courses

CBL 115 - Gateway to Service (2 Cr.)

This course will introduce students to the philosophy, theory, and best practices of academically-based community engagement. Through readings from a wide range of disciplines, students will reflect their role as thoughtful and engaged members of a community, and investigate assumptions about race, class and privilege. In investigating the various meanings of leadership, students learn how to develop beneficial, sustainable community collaborations. Topics include the nature and meaning of leadership, building capacity for change, gaining a greater understanding of community challenges, asset mapping, ethics of leadership, perspectives on learning development, and building collaborative community partnerships. This course includes a community-based component. Graded pass/no pass. Fall, spring.

CBL 299 - Independent Work (1.5 Cr.)

Building on community-based learning experiences in other courses, the independent study is designed to give students the chance to further explore working in the community. The student will be supervised by a faculty member, and will coordinate efforts through the Office of Community-Based Learning. May not be repeated for credit. Graded pass/no pass. 

PSY 219 - Black Psychology (4 Cr.)


Cultural psychology is a subfield within the areas of social psychology and cultural anthropology. It involves the study of the interconnections between and among intergenerationally transmitted behaviors, meanings, and symbols, and psychological processes such as cognition, affect, personality structure, and behavior. This course offers a foundation to the field through a case study of Black culture and psychology. Specifically, we will examine the cultural psychological experiences of people of African descent, primarily African Americans, and Black Psychology as a specialty with important implications for human and social science conceptual paradigms, theory, knowledge production methods, and intervention. Community Based Learning Course. Writing Enriched Curriculum Course. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Fall semester. Grayman-Simpson.

PSY 226 - Relational Psychology (4 Cr.)

Moving away from a framework of psychological research, theory, and evaluation that unduly values objectivity, independence, and personal achievement, students explore collaboratively the ramifications of a psychology that places human relationship, connection, community, and care at the center of psychological health and development, where mutual empowerment and empathy, rather than separation from others, are the goals. This feminist, antiracist, and critical psychology recognizes the powerful impact of the sociocultural context in impeding mutuality, and provides an interpretive framework for understanding and reshaping culture, lives, and theory. Specific topics vary from year to year, but include the following: the works of Carol Gilligan, the relational psychology of Jean Baker Miller and the Stone Center, the psychology of gender (e.g., girls’ development, the construction of masculinity), the psychology of oppression, and relational classrooms and environments. Writing-Enriched Curriculum (WEC) course. Prerequisite: PSY 105 or PSY 111 (inactive) or sophomore standing. Spring semester. Pringle.

PSY 245 - Psychology of Environmental Problems (4 Cr.)

(cross-listed as ES 245) (LER-ENV)(GCR-ENV)

This course outlines current environmental problems and their historical bases. The course then explores how different psychological perspectives view the relationship between individuals and the environment, as well as reviews psychological research related to environmental sustainability. Guidance is provided for improving environmental sustainability based on the different psychological perspectives. A major goal of this course is for students to develop an understanding of how psychology can contribute to promoting sustainability of the environment. A community-based learning experience is required. Prerequisite: ES 140 or PSY 105 or PSY 111 (inactive). Fall semester. Mills.

PSY 312 - Existential and Humanistic Psychology (4 Cr.)

(Formerly PSY 212)

Major theories of existential and humanistic psychology are covered, including consideration of the work of May, Laing, Frankl, Fromm, Rogers, and Maslow. Themes of human freedom, love, peak experiences, and optimal development will be emphasized.  Prerequisite: PSY 105 or PSY 111 (inactive). Fall semester. Patrick.

For more information on Community-Based Learning in psychology and in other departments at Goucher College, contact Michael Curry, Interim Director of Community-Based Learning at, 410.337.6275 or visit the website at:

Community-Based Learning