Community Engaged Learning (CEL)

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) at Western partners with local and international organizations to mobilize knowledge and exchange resources in order to address critical societal issues.  By engaging students, staff, and faculty in meaningful experiential learning opportunities, CEL helps meet community defined needs while promoting students’ sense of civic engagement and social responsibility.  These partnerships help extend Western’s reach beyond campus and foster excellence and innovation in teaching and learning.

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

  • Meaningful connections to local and international communities
  • Context to apply academic learning outside the classroom
  • Hands-on experience to aid in building a resume
  • Development of critical thinking skills
  • Enhanced understanding of diverse cultures and communities
  • Opportunities to learn/practice transferable skills including communication, teambuilding, and problem-solving
  • Increased sense of civic engagement and social responsibility

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

Community Engaged Learning Opportunities for Arts & Humanities Students:

Modern Languages and Literatures: 

Italian 1033- Italian for Beginners and Our Italian-Canadian Stories
Faculty Member: Pietro Pirani and Maria Laura Mosco
Team Offered: Fall and Winter Terms (1.0 credit)
Course Description:
 Next to a trip on the Italian Riviera, what could possibly be better than learning Italian while interacting with a paesano from London? Join Italian 1033! Through in-class/online course work and a community based project, you will learn the language of music, cuisine, sport, art, science and culture and develop the skills that facilitate community engagement while actively immersed in the vibrant local Italian community. You will also have the opportunity to contribute to the building of a digital archive of stories collected through interviews with the local Italian-Canadian community or your own family.


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.


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.


SPANISH 2216G –Exploring Hispanic Cultures II
Faculty Member: Dr. Victoria Wolff
Term Offered: Winter 2017
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.


SPANISH 4511G –Hispanic Studies: Music, Dance, Performance
Faculty Member: Dr. Victoria Wolff
Term Offered: 
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.


SPANISH 3500G –Community Service Learning (Hispanic Studies: Guatemala)
Faculty Member: Dr. Alena Robin
Term Offered:
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.


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 2016 (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.


ENGLISH Canadian Literature, Creativity and the Local
Manina Jones 

This course examines the literature of Southwestern Ontario since 1970, considering Alice Munro and others who find inspiration in London, Ontario and the surrounding area for fiction poetry, and drama. Students will develop critical, creative, and experiential perspectives and will work with community partners, exploring course concepts in a real-world setting.

Previous Projects Include: Create, promote, organize and host a campus poetry slam/open mic event in partnership with the London Poetry Slam organizers; Create a mini-documentary about the slam, helping students integrate with the community and get a sense of what the London Poetry Slam does on and off stage; Compile edited video presentations of historic Eldon House to be used for outreach into the community, internal oral history capture and promotion

Film Studies:

FILM: Service Learning
Christine Neguz
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.

Previous Projects Include: videos prepared for Hope’s Garden, Muslim Resource Centre, Regional HIV/Aids Connection, CONNECT for Mental Health and VibraFusion Lab

French Studies

Rwanda: Culture, Society and Reconstruction *not currently offered for 2016-17 academic year
Henri Boyi
Immerse yourself in an experiential learning opportunity of a lifetime in Rwanda. This course is based in the Department of French Studies in Rwanda and offers our students the opportunity to serve in an international social and cultural setting.  Course work will prepare students to deal with issues related to the history and culture of Rwanda, and will offer an in-depth look at a number of contemporary social issues. Guest lecturers will be invited to speak to the class. A stay in Rwanda of four to six weeks will be required for the completion of the course. Students will also work with agencies that offer community services in London in order to gain local experiential and service learning before going to Rwanda.

For more info visit the  French Studies websit e or consult the course outline


PHILOSOPHY: Philosophy of Food
Benjamin Hill and Henrik Lagerlund
The course aims to present certain philosophical reflections on food and give the students a better understanding of the food system as well as its vast implications for us individually and the world at large. Issues dealt with in the course for example include human rights violations, 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 does food play in the good life.

Previous Projects Include: Helping to facilitate workshops for families in our community on how to cook healthy and nutritious meals with limited financial resources; Doing research on the use of food stamps in our community to determine whether this is an effective solution to food security; Developing tools for a county food hub that will outline the benefits of purchasing local foods and supporting local food products