Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Image Map

Community-Engaged Learning and Pedagogy: Pedagogy and Best Practices

Pedagogical and applied research related to developing and implementing community-engaged learning in new or established classes.


This LibGuide supports the Eigel Center's efforts to develop and encourage faculty as they incorporate service-learning and community-engaged pedagogies into new and existing courses. This guide includes both theoretical and practical advice on using community-engaged practices and activities in college courses. The Eigel Center also supports immersive learning, but this LibGuide focuses on community-engaged and service-learning pedagogy and practice. 


"Service learning" and "community-engaged learning" both describe using a community partnership to enhance academic content and student learning. Although the terms can be used interchangeably, "service learning" tends to emphasize learning through direct service or volunteering at an organization, whereas "community-engaged learning" tends to emphasize learning through comprehensive and reciprocal community partnerships at the course, department or university level.  "Community-engaged" is the more recent, inclusive and preferred term to describe student learning through various types of community partnerships and forms of community engagement. While any service learning should be community-engaged learning, community-engaged learning is not limited to service learning. 

"Immersive learning," on the other hand, permits students to have sustained, direct interaction with local, national, or international communities as they grapple with social justice issue. Immersive learning partnerships differ from community-engaged partnerships in that they enact solidarity, are more forward-looking and attempt to dismantle structural or systemic injustices. Community-engaged partnerships tend to work on more immediate  and finite community partner needs or goals. 

Both types of learning are considered high-impact teaching practices.

The Eigel Center supports both types of learning are currently helping faculty identify which of their courses should include a service-learning or immersive learning course attribute. The attributes are unrelated to the core curriculum and are designed to help interested students identify courses with community-engaged or immersive components. More information about the service-learning attribute can be found here and more information about the immersive learning attribute can be found here


This LibGuide was developed by Wendy Maxian, Associate Professor of Communication, through the generous support of the 2017-2018 Conway Fellowship. Any questions should be directed to her at

Additional Resources



Community-Engaged Course Design: Best Practices

1) Enter into a productive and reciprocal partnership with a community organization.

-- See the "Community Partners and Community Impact" tab above.  


2) Include academic content relevant to student learning and partnership objectives. 


3) Incorporate student reflection opportunities to enhance learning. 

4a) Evaluate or assess student learning outcomes related to academic content.

4b) Evaluate or assess student learning outcomes related to the community partnership.