Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions about the CBL program. If you have an additional question that was not answered here, please contact Stephen Towns, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-225-2504.
- What is community-based learning?
- How many courses will the Office of Community Engagement collaborate with each semester?
- What are the criteria for a course project to be considered for CBL Program?
- What is expected of a faculty member participating in a CBL course?
- What is expected of a community organization interested in becoming part of a CBL project?
- What is the role of OCE for the duration of the project?
- How are Community-Based Learning projects funded?
- When are students most available?
- What types of creative disciplines does the CBL program represent?
- How often are students required to interact with the community partner?
- How experienced are students participating in the CBL program?
- How long do CBL projects take?
- If a partnering organization knows a MICA faculty member, can they contact them directly?
- How far in advance does a community partner need to talk to OCE about a potential project?
- How far in advance does a faculty member need to talk to OCE about a potential project?
- Can a faculty member create a new course for CBL?
1. What is community-based learning?
The OCE defines community-based learning as experiential learning where students and faculty collaborate with communities to address problems and issues. There is an equal emphasis on advancing community goals and providing meaningful learning experiences for students.
2. How many courses will the Office of Community Engagement collaborate with each semester?
OCE currently has the capacity to support up to 3 courses per semester.
3. What are the criteria for a course project to be considered for CBL Program?
OCE is able to support projects embedded in the curriculum and that:
- Are approved by a Department Chair.
- Are designed and implemented in collaboration with at least one community partner.
- Respond to a community-identified opportunity or need affecting Baltimore City or the Greater Baltimore region.
- Seek to create tangible outcomes. Examples include but are not limited to: prototypes, a beautification/redesign of space, print, or digital materials; an arts-based experience or intervention; etc.
- Engage a majority of enrolled students into the project's implementation.
- Have a well-defined set of learning objectives for students.
Before the project begins, faculty are asked to provide:
- A course syllabus.
- Student learning objectives for the project and/or course.
During the project, faculty are asked to provide:
- Photo documentation of the community-based learning process and/or product.
- Open lines of communication between and among all parties.
- Written feedback from participating students on the impact of the community engagement experience on their learning (OCE will provide a brief evaluation tool).
- Written feedback from the participating faculty member on the overall experience (OCE will provide a brief evaluation tool).
5. What is expected of a community organization interested in becoming part of a CBL project?
Community partners are asked to:
- Be aware of the constraints of MICA's academic schedule and importance of achieving student learning objectives for the project.
- Engage with faculty and students throughout the duration of the project, as needed.
- Ensure key staff and community members are made available to faculty and students for project evaluations, reviews and critiques.
- Share an available budget for the project to faculty and OCE or notify faculty and OCE if there are no available project funds.
- Provide written feedback on the overall experience (OCE will provide a brief evaluation tool.)
6. What is the role of OCE for the duration of the project?
Please see OCE's role here.
7. How are Community-Based Learning projects funded?
Funding will be negotiated in the planning phase of the project. OCE will provide modest funding for project supplies and faculty support. An organization will be asked to be financially responsible for project expenses exceeding the OCE limit. On projects where the final learning objective of course is to develop a prototype or design; the partnering organization will be asked to finance the completion of the final product.
8. When are students most available?
MICA has a full student body in the fall and spring semester. The fall semester generally runs from early September to late December. The spring semester generally runs from late-January to early May.
9. What types of creative disciplines does the CBL program represent?
MICA offers 14 studio majors, two liberal arts majors, 13 studio concentrations, six liberal arts minors, as well as a range of dual degree and 5th year capstone masters programs. There is a wide array of student and faculty interests. You can view a full list of MICA programs here.
10. How often are students required to interact with the community partner?
There is no set number of hours students are required to meet with their community partner for the CBL program. The frequency of community interaction is determined by the capacity of the community partner and the demands related to course-specific learning objectives. Because students will greatly benefit from time spent with the partner in the field, it is important to negotiate availability before the project begins and create that expectation in students.
11. How experienced are students participating in the CBL program?
Students vary in experience and skill level. These opportunities are implemented in part to allow students professional development opportunities working with community. While OCE cannot guarantee that organizations will receive their exact desired outcome, OCE will work with organization and faculty to assess and identify the best courses for projects.
12. How long do CBL projects take?
Project length is contingent upon the needs of the project, student requirements for the course, and constraints of our academic schedule. Therefore, it is important to contact OCE so that we are able to help you determine a practical scope for your project.
13. If a partnering organization knows a MICA faculty member, can they contact them directly?
Yes. However, we also recommend that any organization interested in being a part of the CBL program contact the Office of Community Engagement for an initial brainstorming session. This will allow OCE to float your project with multiple departments within the institution. Community partners can fill out an inquiry form here or contact Stephen Towns, Program Coordinator, at 410-225 2504 or email@example.com.
14. How far in advance does a community partner need to talk to OCE about a potential project?
The earlier that you propose your project, the more we time we have to discuss with potential departments. It can take as much as two semesters to build a new project into an existing course. Tell us about your project here.
15. How far in advance does a faculty member need to talk to OCE about a potential project?
The earlier that you propose a project, the more we time we have to coordinate details and confirm whether OCE can assist with the project. Please note that currently OCE has the capacity to partner with three projects a semester. Tell us about your project here.
16. Can a faculty member create a new course for CBL?
A faculty member considering developing a new course must consult with their department chair. New course approval is strictly at the discretion of department chairs. The Office of Community Engagement is unable to fund expenses associated with new course creation.