Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Community-Based Learning began as a grass-roots movement among faculty and staff who believed in the potential of education to transform students' lives and society. Now more than 100 faculty connect course learning objectives and reflection exercises with community involvement, thus allowing thousands of PCC students to volunteer with community agencies, learn about social issues, and make a difference in their communities. Since its inception, the Community-Based Learning Program has also grown to offer a co-curricular component through its AmeriCorps Students in Service program and the Step Up & Serve Days of Service.  Through all of its programming, Community-Based Learning supports the Mission, Vision, and Values of PCC.


What is Community-Based Learning?

Community-Based Learning is a teaching/learning method which is rapidly gaining popularity in schools and colleges across the country. When you enroll in a Community-Based Learning course at PCC, it means the professor has agreed to include a community involvement option or requirement in the course. Instead of writing a research paper or taking an exam, you will participate in community activity and then relate that participation to the course material in a written report, presentation, or other method of reflection of the instructor's choosing. The amount of time required for this option is entirely up to the professor and, therefore, will vary from course to course.

Why Community-Based Learning?

Excerpts from student evaluations and journals:

  • I'm glad my sociology class got me to start volunteering. It's something I've always wanted to do yet I needed a bit of a push!
  • It was a real eye-opener for me.
  • I loved asking the lady I was folding paper cranes with how long she lived in Oregon and suddenly her amazing life story came out to me unhindered...
  • This program has brought a sense of fulfillment to me.
  • This Community-Based Learning project connects you to a community experience.