88% of students who took a community engaged learning course at the University of Iowa agree their project helped them better understand course content. 

Teaching a community engaged learning course can be exciting and deeply rewarding. Research indicates these courses are a high impact learning practice, often leading to deeper student understanding of course material, higher overall GPAs, and stronger retention rates throughout undergraduate school.

The Office of Community Engagement, along with numerous campus partners, is here to provide you with resources, best practices and technical assistance to ensure that your community engaged teaching experience runs as smoothly as possible.

We can help increase the benefits of community engaged courses while helping navigate structural challenges, logistical issues and and potential partnership pitfalls.

Teaching an engaged course

The following guide provides faculty at Iowa a beginner’s overview of how to develop a community engaged course. If you are new to this area of teaching, or simply want to review how you currently teach engaged courses, this guide can help you think through various items to consider, including project development, syllabus development, partnership creation, project management and evaluation. 

How-To Guide: Teaching a community engaged course


Faculty are also encouraged to review the Goals and Principles of community engaged teaching and learning before beginning the process of developing a new course or modifying existing courses to be community engaged.

The Office of Community Engagement’s (OCE's) Resources page provides a library of scholarly articles about community engaged teaching and learning. For more information about how faculty can partner with OCE to incorporate or enhance their community engaged teaching, please contact Nick Benson, Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement, at nicholas-benson@uiowa.edu.

Additional Resources

The University of Iowa Center for Teaching

The Center for Teaching is an excellent resource for faculty looking to tweak or revamp their standard course into a community engaged course. The following link provides a variety of resources for faculty to consider when transitioning an existing course or creating a new community engaged course:

Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC)

The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC)  is an engaged-learning program at the University of Iowa.  IISC partners faculty, staff, and students with urban and rural communities to complete projects that enhance the sustainability of Iowa's communities, while transforming teaching and learning at the university. Faculty interested in connecting their courses to sustainability-related projects in Iowa can work with the IISC to create or adapt their syllabus, identify a community partner, and develop and implement a course project.

Campus Compact

Campus Compact, a national organization that has been leading the field in community engaged learning, provides a wealth of information for faculty looking to create or modify their community engaged courses.