How CBL Partnerships Work

CBL students, faculty, and staff work in many communities and with many different types of community agencies and organizations.  There is no unified “community voice” guiding us to successful, reciprocal, sustainable partnership.  But there are many community organization staff and leaders with extensive experience working with area colleges, students, faculty with much to share with us about what works and what does not, and why.

For the last decade or more, Holyoke community leaders, social and human service agency staff, residents, educators and those of us who come from area college campuses have met together to consider ways to ensure that campus-community partnerships are practiced to the highest ethical and practical standards.  The “Campus-Community Partnership Project” yielded the Holyoke Campus Community Compact. Mount Holyoke’s CBL Program is a signatory to that Compact, and as such, we seek to abide by its principles. 

Principles of Practice guide Mount Holyoke faculty and students toward sustainable, ethical practices that value rigorous and meaningful academic learning as an essential outcome of campus-community partnerships.

Former CBL Program Coordinator and Director of Community Engagement Alan Bloomgarden wrote this essay on Sustainability and Community-Based Learning

Students are both the key resource Mount Holyoke College brings to campus-community collaborations, and the central beneficiaries of such partnership even in the best circumstances when they are also contributing to a community need. Through CBL, students experience extraordinary growth in their understanding of current social issues, diversity, leadership, social action and change, and perhaps most importantly – themselves. Students are encouraged to speak with CBL Program staff at any stage of their Mount Holyoke College career about their interests and ambitions as activists, community citizens, potential non-profit sector and education job seekers, change agents, and leaders.

Faculty members and College departments/programs are invited to develop CBL courses, curricula, and community-based research (CBR) projects for faculty and student scholarship, in consultation with Alan Bloomgarden, Director of Community Engagement. The director offers practical support through CBL program resources, as well as substantive guidance and an extensive library of materials including: sample syllabi, assessment and evaluation tools, reflection and discussion exercises, models of good practice, and curricular development guides.

Community Based Organizations are invited to propose CBL projects suitable for students and faculty in courses, independent learning, and research and service, for ongoing or one-time partnerships by contacting Alan Bloomgarden, Director of Community Engagement at or by phone (413)538-3072.