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Undergraduate Programs

Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning has been shown to substantially enhance student academic learning, life skill development and a sense of responsibility. Students "engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development.  Reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of service-learning" (B. Jacoby and Associates, 1996). 


Community-Based Projects are distinguished through an interaction, motivation, and/or impact that involve a community beyond the university. We define a community-based project as a project with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • It is defined by the community.
  • It is constrained by the community.
  • It provides a clear social benefit.
  • It involves the community through feedback and prototype evaluation.
  • It creates a new community through the solution of a problem.

Community-Based Learning courses

  • Engineering 110: Community-Based Engineering Design
  • Engineering 111: STEM Outreach in the Community

In Engineering 110, student teams are partnered with a local community business or organization and complete a design project from problem identification through final prototype. The course focuses on "hands-on" experience in project management, building cross-disciplinary team skills, and prototyping.  Training and use of the SCU Maker Lab are included in the course. The course is open to students at all levels, and all majors (engineering or non-engineering). Students gain community awareness and begin to develop their understanding and working knowledge of professional ethics while expanding their skills in project management, written and verbal presentation skills.

Engineering 111 is a 2-unit course which satisfies the Core ELSJ (Experiential Learning and Social Justice) requirement. Students work in partnership with educational institutions in the local community to provide STEM outreach in after-school programs. The course examines challenges surrounding K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education such as funding, diversity and accessibility. Student teams develop lesson plans and lead activities to introduce young people (grades 4-12) to engineering concepts through engaging hands-on activities.