The Center for Community Learning supports civically engaged curriculum development in two main areas: service learning courses and internship courses. We also work with faculty and academic departments to develop opportunities for undergraduates to collaborate with community partners on research projects. Contact Associate Director Dr. Beth Goodhue  to schedule a meeting to discuss how the Center for Community Learning can support your teaching.

“Engaged learning” raises expectations of students, enables them to consider how their learning affects and is affected by its application, and enhances the educational process by increasing their involvement in learning.

– The American Association of Colleges and Universities (“Bringing Theory to Practice,” 2012)


What is service learning?

According to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse , service learning “is a pedagogical approach that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” Research suggests that adults learn best through active learning. In service learning courses, students learn through active participation in thoughtfully organized service within the community that is connected to academic, credit-bearing courses. Potential learning outcomes for service learning include increased critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communication skills, and experience working in diverse communities.

Service learning also sparks student interest, energy, and creativity, and offers lessons for a lifetime. Both faculty and students have an opportunity to develop real-world connections for academic curriculum by collaborating with community partners on projects that foster reciprocal benefit for all parties.

Overview of Service learning at UCLA

  • Students typically work 3-4 hours per week at a pre-approved off-campus site, for a total of at least 20 hours during the quarter.
  • Students work on meaningful projects designed by their community partners.
  • Students engage in reflection that is built into class discussions and graded assignments to create equal parts “service” and “learning.”

Getting Started

The keys to success are to plan well, start early, and consider the options for your service learning course. There is no single model, but many options exist to implement your vision for the course.

Utilize the Center’s resources:

  • Books and journals on the history, best practices and national models of service learning
  • Downloadable resource guides providing tips for civically engaged course development (see below)
  • Assistance with designing or revising your syllabus to align the course with Academic Senate guidelines
  • Help in identifying potential community partners that are well-established, organized, safe for students, and have worked with other faculty previously — check out our Engaging LA map!
  • Logistical support including timesheets, liability forms, site selection forms and evaluation tools.

Other useful resources for developing service learning information include Campus Compact  and the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse . On the “Faculty Resources” page of the Campus Compact website, you can browse sample syllabi and explore models of service learning at many different institutions. Another useful resource is the service learning toolkits , which allow you to browse by topic, resource type, your professional field or you can search and use filter tools to narrow your results.

For more information about service learning at UCLA, download one or more of our resource guides:

SL Syllabus Requirements
Handouts for Students in SL Courses


At UCLA, undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to seek internship opportunities in nonprofit agencies, government organizations, and corporations. Each year, hundreds of undergraduates enroll in a 195CE internship course developed in collaboration with academic departments and administered by the Center for Community Learning. Email Associate Director Dr. Beth Goodhue  if your department is interested in developing a new academic internship course or would like to explore how the Center can help support the curriculum for your existing internship program.

Overview of Internship Courses at UCLA

  • Juniors and seniors are eligible to enroll in four-unit 195CE internship courses and typically work 8-10 hours per week at an approved off-campus site, for a total of at least 80 hours during the quarter.
  • Students engage in meaningful work with their community partners.
    Students engage in reflection and complete research-based writing assignments that ask them to synthesize academic knowledge with experiential learning.
  • The UCLA Career Center  maintains the BruinView database of internship opportunities and regularly collaborates with the Center for Community Learning to support academic internship courses.

Sample 195CE syllabi can be downloaded on the Center for Community Learning’s Internship Course page.

New Reflection Journals on e-Pubs! FREE for faculty and students!

Now on Purdue’s ePubs are two new Service-Learning reflection journals available for download, and it’s free! These academic tools were created to help students with Service-Learning and Academic Community Engagement assignments and projects. One of the journals titled Service-Learning Reflection Journal, consisting of more than 100 pages, provides a guide for Service-Learning projects that may last from a few days to a few weeks. One of the items it offers is a quantitative assessment for the beginning and the end of the Service-Learning project. The journal has reflection assignments to help prepare for the Service-Learning project, as well as the conclusion of the project.

The second journal, the International Service-Learning Reflection Journal, is specifically created for international study abroad courses. It provides pre-entry assignments and re-entry assignments to help with the reflective process. The journal also has a quantitative assessment for the beginning and end of the project.

Reflection in the classroom is an important teaching tool for critical thinking. Students have the opportunity to enhance their learning experience by answering prompted questions that stimulate thoughts and ideas. For more information and to download these journals, go to International Service-Learning Reflection Journal  or for the Service-Learning Reflection Journal .


Engaged scholarship is defined by the collaboration between academics and individuals outside the academy–knowledge professionals and the lay public (local, regional/state, national, global)–for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

— The New England Resource Center for Higher Education Website (2012)

The UCLA Center for Community Learning encourages faculty and students to collaborate with community partners on research projects. The Center’s library includes many resources that can assist with this work.

We also recommend the following online resources:

A Partial List of Publication Outlets

See also: Campus Compact’s list of Publishing Outlets


How can the Center for Community Learning help me incorporate community learning into my undergraduate courses?

We are happy to meet with UCLA faculty from any department—whether you are new to community learning or have previous experience. Through collaboration and conversation, we can describe various models of community learning for your review. There are many ways to proceed, based on your discipline and your goals for the course. Our meetings include a discussion of national best practices in civic engagement, making it easier to imagine the work students might do off-campus, and the relationship of that work to graded assignments for your course. Students earn academic credit in conjunction with work completed off campus through service learning courses and/or internship courses.

What is the difference between a service learning course and an internship course?

Service learning courses meet as traditional classes of any size, from small seminars to large lectures; students complete a minimum of 20 hours of work with nonprofit organizations during the quarter. By contrast, UCLA has reserved the 195 independent study course number for all undergraduate internships. Students meet with their instructor one-on-one at scheduled intervals throughout the quarter but complete the majority of their coursework independently, including a minimum of 80 hours of work at their internship site.

Is it possible to incorporate community partnerships into existing courses as well as new courses?

Yes. Faculty members generally modify existing courses by linking graded assignments to the off-campus work as another required “text” from which students can meet learning objectives. New courses are designed with these sorts of assignments in place at the start. Please contact us whether you are planning a new course or revising an existing one, so we can help with various components for your syllabus and answer your practical questions.

What are the minimum requirements for my students to leave campus as part of my course?

Both service learning students and academic interns must sign a UCLA liability form on the first day of the course.

Students in service learning courses (with the “SL” suffix) work at least 20 hours per quarter with their pre-approved off-campus partner. They also attend class each week and complete regularly scheduled course assignments. (Time spent completing service learning is not a substitute for time in class, and does not replace class meetings.)

Internship courses offered through the Center for Community Learning are designated as 195CE and have the following requirements: students work at least 80 hours per quarter at their pre-approved site, meet five times with a graduate student coordinator at the Center, and complete weekly writing assignments plus a final 8-10 page research paper.

What are the important points to have in my syllabus?

Service learning courses with the “SL” suffix must follow the guidelines approved by the UCLA Academic Senate. They can be found on the  service learning page of the Center’s website.

Syllabi for academic internship courses are created and approved through collaboration between the academic department and the Center.

How do I meet community partners whose work fits with my curriculum?

We can share information on community partners with whom we have worked over the years. We make introductions, describe locations and possible project descriptions for your students, arrange site visits or help schedule community partners’ presentations to your class. We can also share your syllabus with community partners before the course, as one of the first steps in the planning process.