Community-Based Learning

Community-Based Learning

W&L students are actively engaged in the Lexington and Rockbridge County communities. Community-based learning is our approach to education that integrates learning and mentorship with community engagement through reciprocal community partnerships and critical reflection. With our close ties to the community, our commitment to education, and our mission to preparing students to be engaged, responsible leaders, we provide a unique environment for service and civic engagement in an academic setting.

Offerings for community-based learning occur both inside and outside the classroom, and differ depending on the course.


Faculty and community partners place students at sites where they serve the mission of the organization while also applying and extending their knowledge and skills. Students relate community-based service experience to learning objectives using structured reflection and learning activities.

Community-Based Research

Students, faculty and community partners collaboratively engage in research to address a community-defined interest or aspiration. Involvement occurs at all levels including defining the research parameters and design, implementing the project, and shaping the final deliverables.


Students, faculty and community partners collaborate on a project to address a community-defined interest or aspiration. Topics and formats vary from course to course, but are designed hand-in-hand with the community organizations.

Community-Partnered Seminar

Students join faculty and learning partners from the wider community to read, discuss and learn together about a topic with broad social relevance.

Learning in Action

By learning in, with and about communities, students develop critical intellectual and civic virtues consistent with the Washington and Lee University mission.