Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Community Service Learning

cuba   guatemala   rwanda

What is Community Service Learning?

Community Service Learning (CSL) is an educational approach that integrates service in the community with intentional learning activities. Within effective CSL efforts, members of both educational institutions and community organizations work together toward outcomes that are mutually beneficial.
~ Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning

Community Service Learning @ Western aims to connect classroom with community in a way that is mutually beneficial to all participants:students, faculty, and community partners. We believe the community can contribute in multiple and meaningful ways to student learning objectives. In addition, Western students can contribute knowledge and skills toward developing sustainable solutions for community-identified needs. At Western, we provide a variety of experiential learning opportunities that give students important opportunities for practical application of classroom learning. CSL courses offer additional benefits to students such as increased sense of civic engagement and the chance for their academic work to make a positive impact in local and global communities.

CSL offers a number of valuable benefits to students, including:

Community Service Learning Opportunities for Arts & Humanities Students:


  • Course: ENGLISH 2018A: The Culture of Leadership I Faculty Member: Dr. Joel Faflak; Course Facilitator: Josh Lambier Term Offered: Fall 2013 Course Description: This course addresses the complex nature of leadership – the social, moral, and ethical dilemmas faced by women and men put in the hot seat of speaking and acting for others – as represented in key works of literature and culture. What role does a leader play: hero, manager, thinker, strategist, artist, figurehead, authority, imagineer, dictator, star? What does culture teach us about leadership, and how does it train us as leaders? Through lectures, discussions, and a variety of assignments from personality assessments to community leadership interviews, we will debate the diverse and often conflicting attributes of leadership: organization, intellect, power, intuition, wisdom, morality, feeling, empathy, creativity, charisma.
  • Course: ENGLISH 2018B: The Culture of Leadership II Faculty Member: Dr. Joel Faflak; Course Facilitator: Josh Lambier Term Offered: Winter 2014 Course Description: This course addresses how literature and culture take up the issue of leadership as it organizes human relations into social organizations – businesses, political parties, nations, etc. How do groups function as a form of leadership? When do they speak for and against the rights of individuals? We will address both the positive and negative aspects of group leadership, from tribes to empires, democracies to dictatorships, mobs to masses. The class will divide into teams to undertake the major course assignment, a group case study on the creativity of leadership. Key texts include: Shakespeare, Coriolanus; Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians; Morrison, The Bluest Eye; The Hunger Games; The Godfather; The Triumph of the Will. We will also address a variety of recent group phenomena from musical chorus lines and flash mobs to the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring. These will be supplemented by course readings from a variety of sources, from Sun Tzu and Aristotle to Hobbes, Malthus, Marx, Freud, and Disney.

Film Studies:

  • Course: FILM 3312G-Special Topics in Film Studies (Film Studies: Service-Learning) Faculty Member: Juan Bello Term Offered: Winter 2014 Course Description: Students will experience the art of narrative and filmmaking through engaging with a local non-profit organization in the creation of a film that will be of benefit to the organization.

French Studies:

  • Course: FRENCH 3140B- Rwanda: Culture, Society ( Rwanda: History, Society and Reconstruction) Faculty Member: Dr. Henri Boyi Term Offered: Winter Term (in-class) and Intersession Term (international) Course Description: An Interdisciplinary Experiential Learning Course on Rwanda, the students are first introduced to Rwanda, its history, its culture and the impact of the 1994 genocide. They then travel to Rwanda for a five-week trip, where they are placed in community organizations to witness, and help with, the reconstruction efforts.

Modern Languages and Literatures: 

  • Course: SPANISH 2200- Intermediate Spanish and SPANISH 3300 –Advanced Spanish Language Faculty Member: Ana Garcia-Allen (Course Coordinator) Team Offered: Fall and Winter Terms (1.0 credit) Course Description: Spanish 2200: Combining grammar and communication this course prepares students to discuss, read and write about a variety of topics and to explore ideas about Hispanic culture in relation to their own. Includes a Community Service Learning option. Spanish 3300: Further development of oral and written skills with systematic acquisition of vocabulary and selective grammar review. Based on a multimedia and communicative approach, this course aims to develop fluency. Discussions, readings, and writing will focus on the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Includes an optional Community Service Learning component.
  • Course: LINGUIST 2244A – Second Language Acquisition Faculty Member: Dr. Joyce Bruhn Term Offered: Fall 2013 Course Description: An overview of research on naturalistic and instructed second language acquisition (SLA). Various aspects of first language and second language learning/acquisition processes provide a framework for consideration of basic questions in SLA. Issues considered include situational factors influencing SLA, learner differences, and cognitive processes in learning a second/foreign language. The course will match students up with members of the London and Western community who are endeavouring to learn a second language.
  • Course: SPANISH 2216G –Exploring Hispanic Cultures II Faculty Member: Dr. Victoria Wolff Term Offered: Winter 2014 Course Description: Introduction to reading, writing and researching in literature, film, popular culture and digital Spanish. Students develop foundations in these fields through a series of case studies across generic, historical, geographical areas of the Hispanic world. Taught by one core professor in conjunction with different specialists.
  • Course: SPANISH 4511G –Hispanic Studies: Music, Dance, Performance Faculty Member: Dr. Victoria Wolff Term Offered: Winter 2014 Course Description: This course focuses on the performing arts of the Hispanic World and how they incorporate cross-cultural influences and traditions, relate to other art forms such as the literary and visual arts, intersect with the world of mass media and entertainment, and address issues of identity, gender, social (in)justice, and/or resistance.
  • Course: SPANISH 3500G –Community Service Learning (Hispanic Studies: Guatemala) Faculty Member: Dr. Alena Robin Term Offered: Winter Term (in-class) and Intersession Term (international) Course Description: Learn about the Hispanic world through classroom study and community service learning in a Spanish-speaking country. The course contemplates, culture, history and contemporary social issues. Community Service Learning activities, destination and length of the stay abroad will vary.
  • Course: SPANISH 2200-Intermediate Spanish; SPANISH 3300 –Advanced Spanish Language ( Intermediate and Advanced Spanish: Cuba CSL) Faculty Member: Fiona Hurley (International Coordinator) Term Offered: Fall and Winter 2013 (1.0 credit), travel during Reading Week Course Description: Combining grammar and communication this course prepares students to discuss, read and write about a variety of topics and to explore ideas about Hispanic culture in relation to their own. Includes a Community Service Learning trip to Cuba over Reading Week.


  • Course: PHILOSOP 2010F –Philosophy of Food Faculty Member: Dr. Henrik Lagerlund and Dr. Ben Hill Term Offered: Fall 2013 Course Description: A philosophical reflection on food and wine. Issues may include the treatment of animals, moral and political dimensions of genetically modified food, hunger and obligation to the poor, the role of food in gender, personal and national identity, and what role do food and wine play in the good life.
  • Course: PHILISOP 2750G –Philosophy: Ethics in Action Faculty Member: TBD Term Offered: Winter 2014 Course Description: This course examines individual and societal obligations in two complementary ways: first, through the study of philosophical work on moral obligations and, second, through service learning projects. In written work students will be required to integrate what they have learned in the classroom and in volunteer work in the community.

For more information, visit the Western Student Success Centre website.