Five College Community-Based Learning (CBL)

Five College CBL Programs

Each of the Five Colleges takes a unique approach with community-based learning, but in every instance combinations of students, staff, faculty and community agencies come together to take a collective approach to helping and learning about the greater community. Please click on the links below to find out more information about CBL at each campus.

Amherst College

Hampshire College

Mount Holyoke College

Smith College

UMass Amherst


Photos above from F'2010 Holyoke Bound: Dave McNeely of the Community Service Learning Program at UMass Amherst in discussion with students and community members in the United Congregational Church, Holyoke

Hampshire College

At Hampshire, community-based learning involves combining formal classroom study of a particular issue with direct "real-world" exposure to the issue in a community setting. The community component of a CBL course might involve student internships, guest lectures by representatives of community organizations, field research involving community agencies or any combination of these approaches. Liberal arts colleges have increasingly experimented with CBL, and with reason; such courses have the potential to enliven curriculum.

For more information please contact:

Mary Bombardier, Director
Community Partnerships for Social Change
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002-5001
(413) 559-6620

Robin Marion, Educational Outreach Coordinator
Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth, and Learning
Hampshire College
893 West Street 
Amherst, MA 01002-5001
(413) 559-5659

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Mount Holyoke College

The Weissman Center's community-based learning program connects academic work and purposeful engagement with the world. It links Mount Holyoke College students with communities through courses, independent studies, internships, research and service projects that combine learning and analysis with action and social change. Students learn about communities and learn to apply ideas, theories and models to social issues in a practical context while gaining insights from practitioners in communities and in community-based organiztions.

For more information, please contact:

Alan H. Bloomgarden, Director of Community Engagement
Weissman Center for Leadership
Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075
413.538.3072

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Smith College


At Smith, community-based learning is a teaching methodology and philosophy of reciprocal learning designed to put theory into practice by combining the elements of academic study with interactive community placements or research.

For more information, please contact: 

Tiertza-leah Schwartz
Center for Community Collaboration
Smith College 
Northampton, MA 01063
(413) 585-3060

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University of Massachusetts Amherst

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Service-Learning (SL) is a teaching and learning method that enables students to link theory with action through guided reflection. SL connects students to members of a community where they provide meaningful service that responds to community needs and aspirations as defined by the community.

For more information, please contact:

UMass Civic Engagement and Service-Learning
611 Goodell Building
University of Massachusetts Amherst
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9272
(413) 545-2015

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