Community-Based Learning

Community-Based Learning photo

Learning doesn't only happen in the classroom at Central. You will get first-hand experience in many different settings outside the traditional educational environment.

Community-Based Learning connects the college and the community to expand learning and strengthen communities. Central College is a recognized leader in civic and community engagement, earning some of the nation’s highest honors.

You will be an active participant of the community. Each year, approximately 400 students engage in academic service-learning, and hundreds more get involved through other volunteer opportunities like Central Service Day. Community-Based Learning engages students in academic service-learning, internships and community service.

Named a national top 5 institution for community service
  • Service learning integrated into over 40 courses
  • 500+ students participate in Central's annual Service Day

Beyond Central

 

Successful Careers

Service-learning placements have led to the following careers for alumni:

  • Emily Rouse is a recipient of a full-tuition Public Service Scholarship from Drake Law School.
  • Marketing Manager – EPC Projects, Energy
  • Conservation officer, Jasper County Conservation Board
  • Sixth grade teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore, Md.

Community Partners

We work with more than 100 partners, including:

  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa
  • Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity
  • Red Rock Lake Association
  • Science Center of Iowa
  • WesleyLife

View the complete list of community partners.

 

Awards

  • Annually since 2006, Central has been recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service in recognition of extraordinary volunteer efforts by the school and its students.
  • Central has achieved the prestigious community engagement designation from the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching: Central was one of six Iowa colleges and universities to receive the Community Engagement Classification for 2015.

Students volunteering with Community! Youth Concepts

Service-Learning Courses

These are just a few of the courses at Central with a service-learning component. Courses are available in every discipline.

Students volunteering at DMARC food pantry in Des Moines.

Writing for Non-Profit Organizations (English)

This course uses writing, service-learning and civic dialogue as tools to expand your understanding of community. As a part of the course, you will complete writing projects with a non-profit organization or agency. Past projects include brochures, newsletters, press releases, donor letters, grant proposals and more.

Global Sustainability (Political Science)

You will explore global sustainability issues drawn from the environmental, economic and social justice realms. Learn more about these issues by interacting with the environment and with populations affected by injustice and inequality.

Fitness After Fifty (Exercise Science)

You will learn how to develop safe and effective physical activity programs for older adults. Students volunteer with organizations serving older adults and plan and facilitate exercise programs.

Human Relations (Education)

You will gain experience in diverse classrooms to prepare for a career as an effective teacher.

The Central Difference

Desired Outcomes

You will be able to . . .

  • Connect disciplinary knowledge and skills to experiences in communities.
  • Recognize the interdependence and interrelationships within communities.
  • Identify and practice methods of effective civic and community engagement.

Variety of Opportunities

  • Direct service (help at an after-school program as part of Child and Adolescent Development;
  • Capacity-building (practice being a public relations professional with a client as part of Public Relations)
  • Community-based participatory research (help a youth development program assess their work as part of a senior sociology seminar)

Access to Experts

As a student at Central, you will have access to national and regional experts on crucial issues facing our local, national and international communities. 

Learn More

Visit the Service-Learning Hub for more information.