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Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research

What is the Center?

The Center is the collaborative effort of students, faculty, staff, and community organizations creating partnerships to enhance student learning while filling community needs. The Center at Penn State Berks focuses on service learning (SL) and community-based undergraduate research (CBUR).

What is service learning?

SL is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities” (servicelearning.org). Common activities in service learning include doing research, tutoring, working in homeless shelters, mentoring at-risk youth, and visiting with senior citizens. The possibilities are infinite.

What is community-based undergraduate research?

CBUR is actually one main form of service learning; the service activity is the research. CBUR enriches coursework by encouraging students to apply the knowledge and analytic tools gained in the classroom to the pressing issues that affect local communities. Working with faculty members and community leaders, students provide services to organizations including but not limited to developing research projects, collecting and analyzing data, and sharing their results and conclusions with the organizations and agencies that need the information. Not only does the community benefit, but students' understanding of the subject is also greatly enhanced. 

What's the point?

The Center provides opportunities for students to develop research skills, to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems, and to effectively communicate their findings. It strives to raise awareness of social issues and empowers students to become leaders in affecting social change and to develop a lifelong commitment to service.

What do these projects entail?

For examples of service learning and community-based undergraduate research projects done by students at Penn State Berks, please visit our Completed and Active & Ongoing Projects pages.

For examples of service learning and community-based undergraduate research projects being done nationally by undergraduate students, please visit our Online Resources page.


For more information, e-mail Dr. Laurie Grobman (leg8@psu.edu) or call 610-396-6141.