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.