Community Engaged Learning for Faculty

What is Community Engaged Learning?

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a course, internship, or program that includes...

  • an engagement with a community that addresses societal needs not currently being met by governments, markets, or the independent sector

  • intentional integration of learning objectives and experience with/in the community

  • student preparation and ongoing reflection and/or critical analysis

  • reciprocal benefits for students, community, and campus partners

  • opportunities to critically examine public issues and/or explore one's civic identity

Who we are and what we do

The Community Engaged Learning team is a partnership between the Haas Center for Public Service and the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education. We also work closely with many departments and programs across campus, such as the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and EthnicityEducationHumBioEarth Systems, the Office of Community HealthPublic HistoryUrban Studies, among many others. 

The Community Engaged Learning team is available to support faculty throughout the teaching process—from course design through evaluation. 


Why teach a Community Engaged Learning class?

jane stanford picture"The University was accordingly designed for the betterment of mankind morally, spiritually, intellectually, physically, and materially. The public at large, and not alone the comparatively few students who can attend the University, are the chief and ultimate beneficiaries of the foundation. While the instruction offered must be such as will qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life, they should understand that it is offered in the hope and trust that they will become thereby of greater service to the public." 

Jane Stanford, Address to the University Trustees

October 1, 1902

Community Engaged Learning in the news


painting of a faceThe CEL program and similar undertakings have been featured in the Stanford Magazine (May/June 2014), the Stanford Report (February 2014), and the Graduate School of Education newsletter (Aug 2014). If you are interested in publishing about your class, let us know


Developing a Community Engaged Course

Identify and reach out to relevant community partners

Develop student placements or projects in conjunction with the community partner

Clarify student and partner roles and expectations

Prepare students for community experience

Communicate with partners and students throughout the course

Facilitate student reflection and intentional linkage of learning objectives with service experience

Measure impact

Coordinate capstone events

Maintain community partnership beyond the academic quarter

To schedule a consultation about your course, or to become a mentor for a new faculty member engaging in CEL, please email

Fund your community engaged learning class

The Haas Center for Public Service and VPUE partner to provide funding for community-engaged learning classes. Course grants are ideal to cover the additional costs of teaching a community engaged learning course, including student transportation, community partner honoraria and/or supplies, and other expenses. Course grant applications are accepted on a rolling deadline. 

Apply here

If your course has previously received a course grant and you would like to apply for a renewal of funding, please fill out the below form.

Renewal of Funding Form

Join the community

To join our email list, please contact our Program Manager, Nathaniel Berger.

To join our Community of Practice (monthly face-to-face meetings with other CEL practictioners), please contact Sarah Truebe

Review example Community Engaged Learning syllabi


ANTHRO 112: Public Archaeology: Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project (ANTHRO 212, ANAMST 112)

ANTHRO 169A: New Citizenship: Grassroots Movements for Social Justice in the U.S. (CHILATST 168, CSRE 168, FEMGEN 140H)

Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity

CSRE 146S: Asian American Culture and Community (AMSTUD 146, ANAMST 146S, COMPLIT 146)

CSRE 203A: The Changing Face of America: Building Leaders for Civil Rights and Education (also featured on our examples page)

Earth Systems

EARTHSYS 127: GIS for Good: Applications of GIS for International Development and Humanitarian Assistance (EESS 122, EESS 222) (also featured on our examples page)

EARTHSYS 176: The Peninsula Open Space Trust Practicum: Community-Based Environmental Research for Open Space Management


EDUC 103B: Race, Ethnicity and Linguistic Diversity in Classrooms: Sociocultural Theory and Practices (AFRICAAM 106, CSRE 103B, EDUC 337) (also featured on our examples page)

EDUC 183X: Practicum in English-Spanish School and Community Interpreting (CHILAST 183X, EDUC 283X)

EDUC 322: Community-based Research as a Tool for Social Change: Discourses of Equity in Communities & Classrooms (AFRICAAM 130, CSRE 130, EDUC 123X) (also featured on our examples page)

Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies

FEMGEN 138: Violence Against Women: Theory, Issues and Prevention (FEMGEN 238, HUMBIO 178V)


HISTORY 5C: Human Trafficking: Historical, Legal and Medical Perspectives (FEMGEN 5C, HUMBIO 178T, SOMGEN 205)

HISTORY 166B: Immigration Debates in America, Past and Present (CSRE 166B, HISTORY 366B)

HISTORY 201: Introduction to Public History in the U.S., 19th Century to the Present (AFRICAAM 102, CSRE 201, HISTORY 301)

Human Biology

HUMBIO 122M: Health Challenge of Human Migration: Health and Health Care of Migrants and Autochthonous Populations (PEDS 212)

International Relations

INTNLREL 142: Challenging the Status Quo: Social Entrepreneurs  Advancing Democracy, Development, and Justice (AFRICAST 142)


MED 157: Foundations for Community Health Engagement

MED 158: Hunger and Nutrition in the Bay Area

Religious Studies

RELIGST 162: Sprituality and Nonviolent Urban and Social Transformation (CSRE 162A, URBANST 126)

RELIGST 188A: Issues in Liberation: El Salvador

Theater and Performance Studies

TAPS 13SC: Journeying In and Out: Creative Writing and Performance in Prisons

Urban Studies

URBANST 145: International Urbanization Seminar: China (EARTHSYS 138, IPS 274)

URBANST 164: Sustainable Cities


For more information about these or other CEL courses, email

Have a class to tag on Explore Courses? 

The CEL team tags classes on Explore Courses so interested students can search specifically for community engaged learning (or service-learning). Please send a copy of your most up-to-date syllabus to to see if your class qualifies. We try to respond to requests within two weeks. 


Case Studies

Stanford student in field catching bugs in a net. Photo by Rod Searcey for Stanford VPTL.

Students Walk and Talk Like Ecologists

Rodolfo Dirzo, Cynthia Wilber

Class in session: instructor Stephan Sonnenberg speaks to students. Photo by Rod Searcey for Stanford CTL.

Studying Human Trafficking Through Medical, Legal, and Historical Lenses

Rebecca D. Walker, Stephan P Sonnenberg, Katherine R. Jolluck
History 5C, FEMGEN 5C, HUMBIO 178T, SOMGEN 205