The Penn State Berks Center for Service Learning and Community-Based Research (SL & CBR) supports faculty who involve their students and community partners in collaborative, impactful work. Service learning and community-based research contribute to community well-being and simultaneously enrich students’ course learning. Since its founding in 2010, the Center has facilitated over 40 academically-grounded university-community partnerships. Service Learning and community-based research extend beyond conventional concepts of student community service and volunteerism, instead emphasizing sharing and reciprocity, partnerships, and shared knowledge-making defined by mutual respect among the partners.
The Center at Penn State Berks, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs, is faculty-led and faculty-run. It is a forum to share knowledge, expertise, experience, and training among participating faculty. Service learning (SL) and community-based research (CBR) require that faculty re-design their classes. Faculty take risks that often lead to meaningful student learning and contribute to the public good and social justice. Students also leave their comfort zones as they apply new concepts to real situations, and communities benefit from the knowledge and activities students bring to the organization.
The Berks Center hosts the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research. This multi-disciplinary, online journal is dedicated to publishing exceptional intellectual and reflective work by undergraduates on service learning and community-based research from all types of academic institutions from around the world. Full text articles of all published work as well as submission information are on the journal's website: Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research.