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Service Learning Program

At MSU Denver, service learning is defined as a form of experiential learning in which students combine classroom experience with community-based service that:

  • Meets an identified community need,
  • Provides a structured opportunity for students to reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content,
  • Balances student goals and community goals through collaborative development of course content and service opportunity, and
  • Engages students in structured preparation for, participation in, and reflection on the service experience.


The mission of the Service Learning Program is to assist MSU Denver faculty in the design and implementation of service learning, a high-impact instructional practice, and to integrate it into the curriculum across disciplines at all levels. To fulfill this mission, the Service Learning Program staff provides course design assistance, training, and administrative and other program support to faculty; develops and sustains community partner connections; and collects data on all dimensions of service learning.

CPD 290F Community-based Learning through Serving.

Develop your role in your community and apply your learning to your academic and professional career.

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Are you currently enrolled in, or considering taking, a service learning course? Service learning courses provide an opportunity for students to collaborate with a community partner in a real world setting.

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Traditional courses that become "service-learning" typically originate with one common idea: that students will derive more substantial benefits from the subject matter if they can connect it with personal experience and actual circumstances. From there, faculty redesign their syllabus, conceive of new writing assignments, and seek out opportunities for their students to get involved in the community. The function of the Service Learning staff is to assist faculty in this process by providing resources and assisting with logistics such as site identification.

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Community Partners

Community partners bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our students while increasing civic responsibility and awareness on broader social and cultural issues in the community. MSU Denver’s program for Service Learning is committed to facilitating these high-impact instructional practices for our students, faculty and community partners. We appreciate your involvement with Service Learning and look forward to a rewarding partnership. Please contact us to learn more.


How is the CBRFP structured?

Faculty-initiated funding application

The CBRF Program is a competitive program with a faculty-initiated application process.  Faculty members identify community partners and student researchers at the time of application.  Applications indicate how the CBR project contributes to the faculty member’s scholarship, deepens the student’s learning, and builds the community partner’s capacity.  Applications will also include a written endorsement from the community partner, along with a project description, standard IRB approvals (if applicable) and a budget request.

 CBR faculty development

 Because faculty and students may not be familiar – or initially comfortable – with the principles and practices of CBR as a research approach, faculty development and networking opportunities will be provided. 

 Guided, critical reflection

 Although preparation for their CBR experiences is crucial, students must also be given the opportunity to reflect critically upon those experiences in order to learn from them.  Therefore, on-campus lunch gatherings will be scheduled for students.  During these gatherings, students will share not only the progress they have made on their research projects, but also their reactions to the CBR process and what it means for their own development as inquirers.  The CBRF Program administrator (the Service Learning Specialist) will facilitate the gatherings.

 Public dissemination and celebration

 CBR fellows will be expected to present their work at the Undergraduate Research Conference or a relevant professional development conference at the end of Spring semester.


How will the CBRFP be funded?

Each of four CBR teams will receive a maximum award of $1,250: $1,000 for a student stipend and $250 for research project expenses. 

 Application Deadline:

Deadlines are fluid for AY 2020-2021.  Applications will be reviewed and fellows will be notified in the order received. Additional grant applications may be considered if all funds have not been awarded during the initial cycles. 

Application Process:

Information on the fellows program and the application can be found on our SharePoint site.

Please submit your application electronically to Lori McKinney

Institutional Review Board

Have questions about whether your project needs Human Subject Protection approval from the IRB? Contact them - they're really helpful!

If you have any other questions about the Community-based Research Fellows Program, please contact Lori McKinney Service Learning Specialist

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An Applied Learning Center program

Visit the Applied Learning Center for information about internships, service learning, civic engagement, and the undergraduate research program.