Center for Community Learning

Since 1992, the Center for Community Learning (formerly the Center for Service-Learning) has been a resource to Western faculty and students, and to local, regional, and international partners. Our office is a hub of activity that has as its core mission: Cultivating social responsibility through community learning and action.

Community learning and practice is an equitable partnership model where all participants contribute and receive benefits equally. When university-community engagement work is at its best, it begins by considering the values and priorities of the community, with the principles of equitable relationships as its goal. It embraces more questions than answers, including: “What is community and who defines it?” In the pursuit of this ideal, community learning and practice intersects with power structures, culture, class, educational status, and social identities in ways that can be both challenging and rewarding for practitioners. Community is experienced differently based on social stratification and marginalization along markers of race, ability, sexual and gender identity, education, age, religion, veteran status, national origin, etc.

The practice of community learning and action can provide the means and proficiencies for seeing, understanding, and acting in the world in a more integrated, inclusive, and ethical way. Sometimes the roadmap for that journey can be messy! In the words of James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Facing injustice and inequity head on can be painful for community learning practitioners, but it can also bring the joy of deeper connections, insight, and real social progress. On behalf of Western faculty and students, we are grateful for all of the support from our community teachers!

Tim Costello's signature

Tim Costello



  • Mailing Address

    Western Washington University
    Center for Community Learning
    Wilson Library 481, Mail Stop 9125
    516 High Street
    Bellingham, WA 98225-9125

  • Physical Address

    Wilson Library
    Fourth Floor, WL 481
    516 High Street
    Bellingham, WA

  • Office Hours

    Monday through Friday

    9:00am-4:00pm

  • Contact Us

    communitylearning@wwu.edu

    (360) 650-7542