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Community Based Learning and Research
Program Coordinator - Michelle Bonanno
Preparing citizens for the common good in an increasingly complex world is the mission focus of Fort Lewis College. In Fort Lewis College classrooms, community-based learning and research (CBLR) is a teaching methodology that helps to achieve this mission by transforming students into informed and engaged citizens. Because CBLR curriculum is both academically rigorous and civically conscious, it creates opportunities for students to develop and apply knowledge that contributes to the common good. Community-based classroom projects ask students to address a community problem or need through personal and direct engagement, problem solving projects, and/or research. Students benefit from the contextual and experiential nature of their coursework by participating in thoughtful, critical study of issues relevant to the particular form and context of engagement while the community benefits from the engagement of students who are able to bring that knowledge to bear upon those issues.
Examples of CBLR projects:
- Marketing students using classroom knowledge to develop and implement a marketing plan for a local nonprofit and an emerging growth company.
- Engineering students constructing a water system for a village in Ecuador and providing health assessments and health education to village residents.
- Art students working with a local community-based organization to design and paint a mural celebrating the cultural diversity of the region.
- Biology students partnering with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) to monitor local elk populations and then joining the CDOW in the preparation of a wild game meal for citizens at the local soup kitchen.
- Journalism students writing a series of articles for the local newspaper which inform and engage the public in a variety of regional issues.
- Students in a Philosophy course on “environmental ethics” using the knowledge gained in the course, and the care and activism modeled by the professor, to engage as individuals and groups in acts of caring for the environment.
- Composition students researching the effects of outdoor interaction on motor fitness skills and the impact of experiential learning on reducing symptoms of ADD.
- Sociology students producing a documentary video on regional health care and health care access issues to facilitate public awareness and discussion about a number of critical health care issues within the region.
Students now have the opportunity to document CBLR projects on a Civic Engagement Transcript, a supplement to the academic transcript, which recognizes and validates distinctive and integrative opportunities in which students connect traditional classroom learning with informed civic engagement. The Civic Engagement Transcript records ways in which students extend and enhance classroom learning primarily through community-based learning and research initiatives and co-curricular engagement and leadership centered around serving the common good. Providing students with these opportunities affords Fort Lewis College an avenue for fostering the development of leadership skills, an inquisitive and analytical mind, a respect for human diversity and individuality, and a sense of civic and global responsibility. The Civic Engagement transcript provides an avenue for formal recognition of both the students’ and the College’s commitment to the “development of the responsible citizen, grounded in honesty, courage, and compassion.”
Students may view an unofficial copy or request an official copy of their Civic Engagement Transcript on the WebOpus Civic Engagement tab. For more information about the Civic Engagement Transcript, please visit the Center for Civic Engagement website: www2.fortlewis.edu/civicservice/home.aspx
Engineers without Borders
Engineers Without Borders is a student organization with the purpose of coaching students in building a sustainable system in a developing country. This means making connections with other students in the group and also making connections with the community to which we travel, in order to help that village become successful in the implementation of a water or sanitation system.
Contact: Max Bohana email@example.com
Several opportunities exist for students interested in being peer tutors or undergraduate teaching assistants.
Training and CRLA certification in being a peer tutor is available through the Fort Lewis College Tutoring Center: http://www2.fortlewis.edu/academicsuccess/TheTutoringCenter/TutorResources.aspx
Peer education specific to residence life is taught in ED 350 . Students wishing to be teaching assistants for a specific instructor start by enrolling in ED 289 . Once they have completed this class, they may register for practicum work in ED 489 . A maximum of 6 credits in ED 289 and 6 credits in ED 489 are allowed to count towards the bachelor’s degree.
Teachers without Borders
The mission of Teachers Without Borders on Campus at Fort Lewis College is to build student leaders, because they have the drive, the enthusiasm, and the desire to make a difference. We provide students with the materials and knowledge needed to impact the educational gap. We support the professional development of educators by exploring current educational issues locally, nationally, and internationally. We also support the collaboration of student organizations on campus who share the same or similar aspirations and goals. Our best intention is to think and act locally and impact globally.
Contact Erin Thompson: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Fort Lewis College majors require at least one senior seminar or senior thesis class in which students pursue advanced study and independent research in topics of their choosing. Public presentation of this work may occur at annual undergraduate research poster sessions and/or senior exhibitions.
In addition all departments offer opportunities for focused work with an individual faculty member through their independent/individualized study 299/499 courses. The student and instructor submit a proposal for this work which must be approved by the department chair and dean prior to Census Date. The proposal form is maintained by the Registrar’s Office at: