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Project-Based Learning

We invite you to create a unique and long-lasting experience in your classroom...

Project-Based Learning is a growing and popular pedagogical implementation for today’s college courses. Taking students and faculty out of the confines of classrooms and into surrounding communities, PBL offers the chance to connect students to real life issues. When working side-by-side, community members and students pool resources to seek solutions to current social, economic and municipal problems. This collaboration benefits all involved. By merging learning outcomes with community interaction, students are awarded opportunities to apply meaningful significance to an academic subject, experience civic responsibility, and create stronger local communities.

Yorktowne Hotel project based learning intiative

  • Why Community-Based Learning?

    Why Community-Based Learning?

    When a community-based learning component is added to the classroom experience, students begin to identify, and apply, theoretical course content on a deeper, more direct hands-on level of academic and social understanding. With intentional focus on learning, CBL opportunities create a three-fold benefit, engaged teaching, engaged students and an engaged public.

    In York, this can look like anything from students working directly with city youth in programs to help them grow their confidence, to an engineering project set on a better method of travel downtown on a borrowed bike system.

    When working with community partners, theory becomes integrated with practice and a new perspective is formed outside of the classroom. Relationships are built and the defining lines between Colleges and their local communities start to diminish. Students enter the community as representatives of York College understanding the importance of professionalism, social and cultural awareness, and skills for competently and effectively interacting with communities beyond campus.

    Community-based learning creates exposure to class content by examining the multitude of social problems facing many contemporary American towns and cities. Direct engagement with community members living and functioning in the midst of current social issues offers unique and expanded learning opportunities for students. Through this type of engagement, students, local agencies, and stakeholders can work together to explore and address the everyday challenges that face communities.

    Resources are combined in a fitting way and can include labor, critical thinking, academic research and experience. Ideas that are ignited between college students and the local public can help ease financial burdens from a community with exhausted, or limited budgets. Community-Based Learning projects help groups of people find commonalities that enrich neighborhoods. Studies are beginning to show the correlation between happiness and successful communities when multiple levels of support and open communication are factored in.

    For students, the experience is one that allows them, sometimes for the first times in their lives, to sense civic responsibility. It is not just an opportunity for them to give their time and ideas, but also to gain self-actualization and self-worth. For faculty, it is an opportunity to see the young adults in their charge take on the implications behind the words of a text. For the community, it is a chance to see that York College is a member of the York community. 

  • How to Incorporate CBL into Student Learning

    How to Incorporate CBL into Student Learning

    A successful CBL component takes a little planning. That’s where the Center for Community Engagement can help. From Community contacts to Logistics, we can assist in turning your CBL idea into a class reality. Giving thought to what the end goal is and finding the right community partner is amongst the first few steps. Providing students with the proper vehicle for reflection and dissemination of data will also help guide the project along the way. Consideration of Course Objectives and Best Practices will help shape the direction you want your class to take. 

  • Community Partners

    Community Partners

    Successful community-based learning initiatives represent equal partnerships with area agencies and institutions. This is, we begin by asking our partners what needs they have, then try to match those needs with students and faculty who can both help to serve those needs and to learn important skills in the process. 

    York City and its surrounding areas share many of the concerns that similar sized town and cities across the nation are experiencing. These can be issues of food insecurities, veteran’s rights, youth afterschool program, etc. the list goes on and on. Many of local agencies suffer from lack of enough funding to help start new or support existing programs. When CBL projects combine the access to the intellectual capital and research facilities that York College can offer with the experience and issue expertise of the community agencies, many projects find successful outcomes.  

  • Academic Resources

    Academic Resources

    Community-based leaning has a long history and a body of scholarship surrounding it. Whether called community-based learning, community engagement, service learning, or some other name, the key is reflective practice---learning by doing. York College’s Center for Community Engagement has adopted the term community-based learning as the umbrella term that describes systematic and reflective learning opportunities that have a significant experience for students in our community, whether curricular or co-curricular. The resources included below reflect this focus.

    The works included are meant to be just a start. Your help in making this page richer is appreciated; we would be happy to have your further suggestions for resources to include. If there is an additional resource you would like to see on this list, please contact to have added. 

  • Assessments


    As part of the college’s overall effort to collect data, the CCE invites you to participate in a CBL survey. This will not only afford the chance to reflect on your project, it will provide an opportunity for a broader picture to take shape. With the compilation of the material you share, York College can show the numbers of the students that are enriched by its faculty’s efforts to provide this community-learning atmosphere. At a glance, we will also be able to show the ever-growing number of community partnerships in the Greater York area and the good work done collaboratively.

    Please take a few minutes to complete the survey in the link below. If there is additional information you would like to share, not covered by the survey, please email with any further questions or suggestions. 

More than Word-for-Word
When YCP alum Kevin Schreiber, and former member of the PA House of Representatives, took a new position as President and CEO of York County Economic Alliance he brought along with him a project started for York County, a local resources guidebook.
Contact Us
Center for Community Engagement
Jo-Ann Orcutt, Director of Programming
Humanities Center, 200
Phone: 717.815.1545

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