Center for Community Learning



Mission Statement
The mission of the UCLA Center for Community Learning is to promote civic engagement for undergraduates and faculty through the integration of teaching, research and service. In collaboration with academic departments, the Center supports courses and programs that stress the importance of global citizenship, diversity, leadership and social justice. The Center strives to make community learning a cornerstone of undergraduate education, through ongoing partnerships with community-based organizations.

The Center’s goals are:
  • To connect UCLA undergraduates with the diverse communities of Los Angeles through meaningful, interdisciplinary work that emphasizes academic excellence within undergraduate education.
  • To assist individual faculty and academic departments in the creation, development and support of innovative coursework that integrates off-campus experiences with curriculum.
  • To play a leadership role among peer research institutions in the advancement of a civic engagement agenda and social innovation at the state and national levels.
  • To train, supervise and mentor graduate students for future careers in academia, university/community partnerships and engaged scholarship.
  • To expand available resources whenever possible by securing external funding.


Meet the Directors
KATHY O'BYRNE, CENTER DIRECTOR, has been actively involved with non-profit community organizations since 1973. A psychologist by training, she earned tenure at Cal State Fullerton before coming to UCLA in 2001. Dr. O’Byrne graduated from Vassar College, earned a Masters degree at Arizona State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. In 2004, she received the California Campus Compact Richard E. Cone Award for Excellence and Leadership in Cultivating Community Partnerships in Higher Education. Dr. O’Byrne has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters on service learning and civic engagement in higher education.

ELIZABETH GOODHUE, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR ENGAGED TEACHING, helps develop and maintain community-based programs at the Center, including service-learning and internship courses. She also publicizes Center programs on and off campus, leads workshops for faculty and graduate students who are interested in developing community-based courses, and teaches undergraduate seminars on public arts and humanities. Dr. Goodhue received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Arizona before going on to earn a Ph.D. in English from UCLA. During graduate study, she received the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Award for outstanding teaching, research, and service. She is the author of articles on eighteenth-century British literature and, with colleagues from the Imagining America public humanities consortium, of an essay on the role of academic administrators as intermediaries between university and community stakeholders. Most recently, she contributed an essay to the collection Service Learning and Literary Studies in English (MLA 2015).

DOUGLAS BARRERA, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR ENGAGED RESEARCH, works on a civic engagement research agenda for the Center, which includes the motivations among community partners to participate in institutional civic engagement initiatives, and how such participation corresponds to theoretical conceptions of community-campus partnerships. Before coming to UCLA, he was program director for a non-profit community organizing agency in San Diego, and taught methods of community engagement at U.C. San Diego and the University of San Diego. He is co-author of the Council of Europe publication, Advancing Democratic Practice: A Self-Assessment Guide for Higher Education, and the Higher Education Research Institute’s publication, First in My Family: A Profile of First-Generation College Students at Four-Year Institutions Since 1971. Dr. Barrera received his Ph.D. and an M.A. in Education from UCLA, and an M.A. and B.A. in History from San Diego State University.