Community-Based Experiential Learning

The Faculty of Arts and the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) support opportunities for you to apply your academic knowledge in community contexts through community-based experiential learning (CBEL).

Through CBEL, you can engage beyond the university to tackle complex real-world issues in a collaborative environment with community organizations.

By taking part in these experiences:

  • you apply your classroom knowledge to enrich your grasp of it,
  • invest yourself to make a positive difference, and
  • challenge yourself in new learning environments to better understand the type of work you’d like to pursue.

Courses with a CBEL Component

Take a course with a CBEL component and be guided by the course instructor. In CBEL courses students have the opportunity to:

  • interrogate and apply course-based knowledge,
  • participate in advancing the priorities of community-based organizations working to improve the social and cultural positions of certain segments of society,
  • practice and develop their reflective and critical thinking skills, and
  • interpret theoretical knowledge so it is useful to community partners.

CBEL Courses 2015-16


  • Coordinated Arts Program, Bachelor of Media Studies Stream

– ASTU 100: Media, Genre, and Stories – Kathryn Grafton; Kim Snowden
– VISA 110: Introduction to Digital Visual Arts – Christine d’Onofrio

  • ECON 335: Fertility, Families, and Migration – Catherine Douglas
  • GEOG 371: Research Strategies in Human Geography – Siobhan McPhee
  • SOCI 100: Introduction to Sociology – Kerry Greer
  • VISA 481: Advanced Seminar II – Christine d’Onofrio


  • GEOG 379: Human & Environmental Geography Field Course – Siobhan McPhee
  • GEOG 419: Research in Environmental Geography – David Brownstein
  • POLI 328: The Comparative Politics of Immigration – Antje Ellermann
  • POLI 363: Canadian Foreign Policy – Allen Sens
  • PSYC 320: Psychology of Gender and Sex Differences – Sunaina Assanand


  • ANTH 409: Urban Ethnographic Field School – Thomas Kemple; Kerry Greer

Community Involvement Outside of Courses

Participate in a short-term CBEL project or one- or two-term placements with community partners including inner-city schools and non-profit organizations. You will receive support and training from UBC CCEL staff.

Reading Week Projects

Short-term Reading Week Projects take place over three days in February. Engage in the community on hands-on projects within a group or individually. Projects range from designing and running after-school programs about nutrition, gardening, and healthy living at local neighborhood houses or inner city schools to working with seniors on documenting their personal histories and most memorable experiences.


Ongoing Trek placements take place over the academic year. In Trek, you become part of a team of UBC students who support a community partner from October to April. Trek projects can range from mentoring children in areas such as literacy, math, science, and the arts to supporting adults living with HIV/AIDS.


Madeleine Meek, CBEL Officer, Arts
604-822-1943 |
UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL)