Student Success Centre

Curricular Community Engaged Learning

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This form of Community Engaged Learning (CEL) integrates service to the community with specific course curriculum. As part of the requirements of earning course credit, students complete a placement and/or a project defined by a community organization to advance their mission. CEL courses are offered within various faculties and disciplines. This hands-on, practical experience in the community allows gaining a deeper understanding of course content as it applies to local and international contexts.

Curricular Community Engaged Learning can take two forms:

  • Placement-Based CEL

  • Project-Based CEL

Students spend between 2-6 hours a week over a course of a term working both on- and off- site for the organization fulfilling a specific need(s) and completing a project determined by the community partner.

Students work in a group (approx. 3-10 students) to complete a project and deliver a specific outcome determined by the community partner.

In general, students and community partners are expected to work together, on average, 2 hours per week for the duration of 8-10 weeks over the course of the term (or longer for full year courses) toward completion of a placement and/or project determined by the partnering organization.

How does participating in Community Engaged Learning benefit...


  • Increase interest and understanding of course material and its application
  • Promote civic engagement and social  awareness and responsibility
  • Strengthen individuals attachment to their community
  • Recognize your own integral role in the growth of your community
  • Gain hands-on experience in the non-profit sector
  • Develop personal, professional, and intellectual skills
  • Enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Develop and fine-tune communication, collaboration, and leaderships skills
  • Learn more about social issues, their root causes, and potential solutions
  • Meet interesting people and expand your network
  • Build connections that can potentially lead to future employment

Faculty & Staff

  • Utilize innovative teaching strategies to serve a public good
  • Contribute to improved student learning outcomes as students apply course content within real-world settings
  • Help students build transferable skills to prepare them for post-graduate employment
  • Offer students the opportunity to engage in self-directed learning
  • Build connections with industry and community partners that can lead to research collaboration and other forms of engaged scholarship

Community Partners

  • Gain fresh perspectives, new insight and enthusiasm, and creativity  to the agency/organization brought by our students
  • Increase your capacity through additional human resources, as students can provide office support or work on long-term projects that meet defined needs within the organization
  • Increase awareness of your organization as students become familiar with your mission and share the work they are doing with peers and professors in the Western community
  • Increase public awareness of key issues and potentially correct misconceptions
  • Recruit future volunteers and employees
  • Network with colleagues in other organizations and agencies
  • Identify and access other university resources; build relationships with faculty and staff
  • Exchange knowledge through active participation in the learning process

Learn more around the role you can take with Curricular CEL


Faculty & Staff

Community Partners

CEL Course offering