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The Community-Based Learning office supports Huron's mission of "combining rigorous learning with the exploration of new territory" by connecting the classroom to the community, and the community to the classroom.

Through Community-Based Learning (CBL) initiatives, Huron students have the opportunity to participate in course-based experiential learning, community-based research, and independent study. CBL enables our students to gain a better understanding the challenges facing the community, enhance their ability to think critically and be self-aware, engage in problem-based learning, and explore the variety of career options available after graduation. CBL activities at Huron build the capacity of community organizations, extending and supporting their mission, vision, and values.


In order to provide meaningful community-based learning opportunities, CBL components are  integrated and planned as part of a course.  We establish partnerships that are meaningful and relevant to course material and that offer benefit to both the student and the community partner.  

Of paramount importance to any CBL project is its ability to fulfill shared objectives and build capacity among all partners. It is about collaborating with partners whose resources and experiences are complementary, so that together students and community partners can bridge gaps, explore challenges, and learn from one another.
  • Learning and Evaluation

  • Learning in and through CBL involves critical reflection and critical thinking that enhances learning. The intellectual growth achieved by this process can be assessed with the same rigour as traditional learning through texts and lectures. In this process, students focus on seeing the connections among ideas, theories, contexts, and applications.

    Learning in a CBL course challenges the norms that many are used to in a traditional university classroom. In a CBL course students are expected to be a co-producers of knowledge, engaging in teaching, sharing information, and critical self-reflection.

    Students should understand that grading associated with a community-based learning projects is assessed based on the demonstration of the learning outcomes,  not on service to the community organization.  

  • Outcomes for CBL Students

  • Desired Learning Outcomes For CBL Students:

    • A heightened sense of agency in your own education
    • A greater understanding of how you are engaged in practices with social relevance when in the classroom and during independent study
    • Increased interest in the subject matter
    • Increased sense of personal efficacy
    • Greater engagement in classroom experiences
    • Heightened sense of civic responsibility
    • Improved critical thinking and writing skills

    Other Outcomes For Students Include:

    • Ability to communicate effectively and work with a diverse range of people
    • Enhancement of skills that are transferable to employment including, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, team-work and independence
    • Realistic self-appraisal and enhanced self-esteem
    • Increased awareness of the world and appreciation for diversity

  • Examples of CBL Courses

  • The Historian's Craft: The centrepiece of this course is an annual class project that brings together the theoretical and practical aspects of the course material. In the 2012/13 year, the class project was built around the letters written by the nineteenth-century abolitionist, the Reverend Hiram Wilson. This class went on a field trip to Oberlin, Ohio, to explore the archives, and tour the town that was a hub of the Underground Railroad. The students research from this class will contribute to a wider community of historical research through the 'Promised Land Project'.

    Chinese Diaspora and Literature Representation: This year, for the first time, Dr. Laura Wu added a CBL component to her Chinese 2243 course. We brought in 4 Chinese-Canadian writers to come to campus, do a lecture on their life and writing, and engage in discussion with the class. Students were divided into smaller groups, each of which was responsible for introducing the writer, conducting an interview, and chairing a discussion session. This included an opportunity for those students to enjoy dinner with the guest speaker after the class. The four CBL interviews were published in Red Maple, a regional Chinese language newspaper (published twice a month) between March 6 and July 3, 2013, reaching a much bigger community in southwestern Ontario (Red Maple covers the Chinese communities in London, Waterloo, Guelph and Hamilton).

    Living Religions of the World: The purpose of this course is to develop students’ understanding of the living religions of the world with a major emphasis on their origins, historical development, teachings and practices. Through CBL, students were able to better understand current practices of these religions and broaden their exposure to a religious community outside their typical experience. A final conference took place on March 27th where students presented on their research and experiences.

    Students were placed with community agencies where they worked on local issues relating to poverty. This year, we were more selective with the partners that students could work with and narrowed it down to 4 options. The final class involved a poverty symposium where students presented the results of their research and engagement to community partners and students.  

    Think Global, Act Local: Students in this course worked with the two community partners to explore issues relating to food security. The class was divided into two groups, one that worked with the Daily Bread Food Bank and the other with the Life Resource Centre’s Garden of Hope. The students partnered with the organizations to create promotional/informational videos to help further the reach of their organizations. The community partners seemed especially pleased with the contributions that the students made to their organizations. The videos were presented at a final event on April 24th.

    Victorian Literature: A survey of works in fiction, prose and poetry by representative men and women writers which introduces students to the diversity of a self-reflexive age, to its experimentation with literary forms and subjects, to its defences of individual liberty, and to its affirmations of women’s rights. Students in this course were given an opportunity to explore the implications of illiteracy in today’s society by volunteering with Frontier College.
  • Opportunities for Community Engagement

  • Students at Huron can be involved in the community in many ways, both as part of a class (curricular) or for personal development and growth outside of class (co-curricular). The following resources are provided to help students research their options for community engagement outside of their courses. Further information can be obtained by visiting the Student Services office, located in the West Wing.

    The Centre for Global Studies maintains a list of community partners that offer volunteer and internship opportunities.

    The Student Success Centre has volunteer opportunities for Western students that can be accessed through Career Central.

    Charity Village hosts volunteer and job opportunities in the not-for-profit/ social profit, NGO and social services sectors.


Faculty members carefully integrate and plan CBL initiatives to enhance student learning and fulfill the student learning objectives related to courses and modules. Working together with the coordinator, Huron faculty member ensure that CBL activities make a positive difference to both students and community partners.

  • Key Objectives of CBL

  • Although the fundamental principals remain consistent, the interpretation and delivery of CBL courses will vary across disciplines. Similarly, the learning outcomes for students in a CBL course are likely to be more heterogeneous than a traditional course because of the variety of placements and contexts within which the learning takes place. Part of successfully planning a CBL course is being open to risk, flexibility, and adaptation.

    Key Objectives:

    • Develop transformative partnerships with our community partners to allow all stakeholders to achieve their goals.
    • Provide a wide variety of community-based learning opportunities for our students to experience and engage with course content.
    • Instil a commitment to social and community awareness and action within our community and beyond.

  • Benefits of Community-Based Learning for Huron Students

  • • Enriches and enlivens course material and brings to life issues of social justice
    • Engages students in active, hands-on learning that demonstrates the relevance of their academic studies in real-life situations
    • Connects students to the community and to local organizations
    • Increases awareness and develops civic responsibility and commitment to improving social, economic and political inequities
    • Develops reflective practice and critical thinking skills
    • Improves interpersonal and communication skills in a workplace environment

  • Support and Funding

  • Huron is committed to supporting faculty members through the process of developing and offering a CBL course. We are able to help identify and establish connections with community partners, provide administrative support, assist with project and event planning, and allocate financial resources as needed.

    Through the generous support of the RBC Community-Based Learning fund as well as donors to Huron's Community-Based Learning initiatives, funding is available to offset some of the costs of CBL courses.  In order to apply for funding, faculty members are asked to read the Project Proposal Guidelines. Applications for funding should be submitted to the Dean's Office and will be reviewed by Community Based Learning Adjudication Committee.

    Deadlines for submission: TBA

    FINAL REPORT (.docx)

Community Partners

It is our goal to develop transformative community partnerships that allow all stakeholders to achieve their goals.  Through the CBL experience, we want to instil in our students a commitment to social and community awareness and action and provide a benefit to the local and global community.

  • Potential Benefits to Community Partners

  • • Enhanced human resources that can contribute to quantity and quality of services to community members
    • New knowledge that can improve program design and delivery
    • Increased innovation and new approaches to service delivery. For example, students bring knowledge of youth culture, use of technology etc. that can change and enhance organizational approaches
    • Academic institutions may be connected to policy makers and this may be leveraged to increase the voice of the community members
    • Opportunities for generation of knowledge that can empower the community to create and drive solutions and challenge issues
    • Students can bring enthusiasm and energy to their work that can help to revitalize staff and clients while the partners bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our students

  • Community Based Learning Options for Community Partners

  • In a community-based learning course, there are two common models:
    External community-based learning: This form of community-based learning extends classroom learning into the community partner's office. Students are expected to volunteer between 2-5 hours per week (depending on the course) both remotely and at your office. The time and resource commitment required is more extensive than for the problem-based approach.

    Problem-based community-based learning:
    The problem-based approach invites the community partner into the classroom to present their organization and a problem or project they wish students to work on. Afterward, the students will work in pairs to either provide research and recommendations on how to solve your problem or work on your project. The time commitment using this approach is minimal, approximately 2-6 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between community-based learning and volunteering?

  • Community-based learning and volunteering are both valuable activities that can help students connect with community partners, enhance personal skills, and support professional development. The added benefit of CBL is that the academic component drives the experience; learning occurs offsite and is integrated into the classroom. When a student volunteers, there is typically no academic component to their work.
  • Who do I contact if I want to host a student?

  • Please see the contact information on the upper right-hand side of this page.
  • What if students need police background checks?

  • Please let us know as early as possible if students will require a police background check in order to participate in CBL activities with your organization. Students are responsible for covering the cost of the background check, if required. In London, requests for Police Background Checks can now be submitted online
  • What are my responsibilities as a student intern host?

  • As a community-based learning host, you are responsible for orienting the student to your organization and the project they will be working. Communicating your expectations, policies, resources, and key staff are crucial in making the experience successful for you and the student. You are also expected to provide supervision and guidance to the student, evaluate their performance, and in some cases participate in a site visit or survey to evaluate the program.
  • What if there are no community-based learning courses that match a project I have in mind?

  • If there are no current initiatives at this time that support your idea or project, contact us to discuss how something may be arranged in the future.
  • What if a student doesn't show up or behaves unprofessionally?

  • If you are experiencing a difficulty with the student, please contact us immediately. The contact information for CBL programs at Huron is listed in the upper right-hand corner of this page. You may also wish to contact the course instructor so issues can be resolved quickly.
  • What if a student gets injured?

  • Process for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board coverage: 

    The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) has implemented a new streamlined process for students enrolled in an approved Ontario university program that requires them to complete placements in the workplaces as part of their program of study.

    The Workplace Educational Placement Agreement (WEPA) Form has been replaced by the Postsecondary Student Unpaid Work Placement Workplace Insurance Claim Form. Placement Employers and Training Agencies (universities) are no longer required to complete and sign the online Postsecondary Student Unpaid Work Placement Workplace Insurance Claim Form for each placement that is part of the student’s program of study in order to be eligible for WSIB coverage.

    Instead, this form only needs to be completed when submitting a claim resulting from an on-the-job injury/disease. Please note that universities will be required to enter their MTCU- issued Firm Number in order to complete the online claim form.

    Postsecondary Student Unpaid Work Placement Workplace Insurance Claim Forms


    Please note that all Occupational Health and Safety procedures must be followed, and WSIB processes must be put into place in the event of an injury/disease. The university will keep the signed original of the placement letter on file and ensure that placement sites have a copy.

  • What are the benefits of hosting a student?

  • As one of Huron's community-based learning partners, you can expect to benefit from having one of our bright, hard-working, and passionate students assist you with some of your projects and activities. In addition, you are also promoting your organization; Huron acknowledges all of its partners on our website. Our community partners can also take part in special events and can apply to receive library privileges at Huron, Brescia, and Kings.