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Community-engaged learning

Community-engaged learning is a rewarding way to apply your studies to real-life projects in the community.

This type of learning is a partnership between UVic students, faculty, campus partners and the community beyond campus. It's a way to gain meaningful hands-on experience that supports and honours the community AND strengthens your academic experience. 

Contact us and we can help you:

  • identify opportunities for CEL in your degree program
  • learn how to include your current volunteer initiatives in a CEL experience
  • meet community leaders and change-makers
  • connect your learning to community initiatives
  • navigate UVic systems and processes
  • engage respectfully with community
  • explore funding opportunities

Types of community-engaged learning

At UVic there 4 types of community-engaged learning.

Each type can vary in terms of how closely you work with the community member and the complexity of the project or initiative.

1) Community-service learning courses

These for-credit courses are a blend of classroom experience and volunteering or unpaid placements with community groups, where you'll dive into the day-to-day operations and connect your experience with course content. 

Examples: 

  • Community Engagement 300, an interdisciplinary course in Social Sciences where students learn about the role of non-profit organizations through a 40-hour placement with regional non-profits like the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture
  • Comparative Electoral Systems course, where students joined with local political organizations to host community outreach events on the topic of electoral reform in BC.

2) Field-based learning courses

These courses typically include 1 to 3 weeks of place-based and/or land-based learning with community.

Examples:

  • The I-witness field school, where students emplore the ways in which the Holocaust has become memorialized in Central Europe through visits with relevant community groups in Europe.
  • A course where archaeology field school students helped in an excavation at an ancient Tseshaht First Nation settlement in the Broken Group Islands.

3) Community-engaged projects

In these CEL courses, students work on a community project that supports a community initiative and student learning goals.

Examples:

  • The Media Production for Writers course, where two students created journalistic content for Tao Wellness to showcase their work and their members.
  • An exchange of knowledge, such as students in the Growing Community Class meeting with former Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to discuss the urban food system.

4) Community-engaged research courses

In this type of course, students do research requested by or developed with community that supports community initiatives and student learning goals.

Examples:

  • Chem 399, a research experience course, where a student applied and built chemistry research skills while reducing drug-related deaths with Substance Drug Checking.
  • Anthropology students contributing to the protection of ancestral sites by learning about Indigenous cartographies and ethnographic mapping in collaboration with Hul’q’umi’num’ Elders and Parks Canada.

Faculty & community members

Learn about students' experiences

Students have shared their experiences taking part in a variety of CEL initiatives.

Reflections from the Students in Community Summer Program

This past summer of 2022, students from across campus were invited to the Students in Community initiative, a fund to support their coursework which engaged them with community partners. While...

Need help?

Contact us for support on everything related to CEL.