What we do

The Center for Community Learning is your home for exploring community-based learning partnerships. We are a friendly and energetic staff of five people with various backgrounds, expertise, and community relationships, and we’re here to help. Through our multiple programs listed below we are partnering with students, faculty and community members to meet their goals for learning and social change.


If you are a WWU faculty member or community organization representative and are considering a campus community partnership, please contact us at any time. We regularly assist faculty who wish to establish community partnerships, to facilitate community learning for their students, or to simply learn more about the community. We also assist community organizations who would like to partner with Western faculty and learn more about campus programs.

Community Engagement Fellows

Community Engagement Fellows is a community of practice that brings together representatives from higher education, government, non-profit organizations, industry, P-12 schools, and other community organizations. This year-long program has attracted over 350 Fellows to facilitate the growth of effective, durable learning and community development systems. Through community forums, cohort meetings, design clinics and retreats, Community Engagement Fellows brings a multidisciplinary and multicultural approach to serving the public good and improving our bioregion and planet.

Community Connect

Community Connect is a partnership with local nonprofit organizations and the WWU Human Resources Wise & Well U employee training program. We are working together to provide community partners with a platform to educate WWU employees about community engagement needs and opportunities through workshops, forums, and dialogues.

Partnerships for Change

Partnerships for Change is a WWU community partnership development program that strengthens and supports the conditions to thrive and participate in social change. Through peer learning, centered in equity and inclusion practices, participants explore dominant power structures and expand the possibilities for creating mutually beneficial partnerships for Western students, faculty and community organizations.

These partnerships include working with the Whatcom Volunteer Center, area nonprofit leaders and boards, the Whatcom County Health Department, Western’s Teaching and Learning Academy, and Social Justice and Equity Committee.

First-Year Engagement

The First-Year Engagement (FYE) program works collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and community partners to design and implement community engagement opportunities for first-year students. A primary goal of FYE is to encourage students to learn about and build relationships with local community organizations, and to help them cultivate a sense of place and belonging beyond the campus grounds. The First- Year Engagement program partners with two significant first-year programs: Western Reads and Viking Launch. Western Reads is a campus-wide, common reads program that promotes intellectual engagement and conversation amongst new students through experiences related to a common text, including community-based learning experiences. Viking Launch is designed to provide incoming first-year students with the solid academic foundation and social connectedness that can help them thrive as they transition to college life at Western.