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Learn from Experience

Experiential Learning

The University of Rochester has a distinguished and diverse tradition of experiential learning opportunities, from study abroad to credit-bearing internships, undergraduate research, entrepreneurship, studio arts and music performance. The Rochester Center for Community Leadership contributes to this tradition by facilitating community-engaged learning experiences--both curricular and co-curricular. Community engaged learning provides a structured approach to learning and teaching that connects meaningful community experiences to enhance academics, personal growth, and civic identity. Community engaged learning enriches coursework by encouraging students to apply the knowledge and analytic tools gained in the classroom to the pressing issues affecting our communities.

Components of Community-Engaged Learning

Academic Material
Just like traditional courses, community engaged learning starts from a place of academic inquiry. Students learn foundational approaches to their area of study and engage in academically rigorous work.

Academic material includes items such as:

  • Course content
  • Academic theories and frameworks
  • Discipline-specific research
  • Research questions

Relevant Engagement

  • Activities in the community that are relevant to academic material
  • Community-identified needs, interests, and capacities

Critical Reflection
We believe critical reflection is essential to learning. Critical reflection helps us generate, deepen, and document learning and is a process through which experiences become meaningful. Critical reflection enables us to understand:

  • Who we are
  • What we know, what we need to learn, and how we learn
  • Identify how the world around us works, our place in it, and responsibility to it

Learning Goals of Community-Engaged Learning

Venn Diagram for Learning Goals: academic enhancement, civic learning, personal growth.

To learn more about community engaged learning opportunities, contact Lauren Caruso at

Giving Opportunities

CEL Fact Sheet

Learn about community-engaged learning giving opportunities [PDF]