Curricular community engaged learning (CEL) integrates service to the community with specific course curriculum. As part of the requirements of earning course credit, students complete a placement and/or a project defined by a community organization to advance their mission. CEL courses are offered within various faculties and disciplines. This hands-on, practical experience in the community allows gaining a deeper understanding of course content as it applies to local and international contexts.

33 courses
had embedded CEL experiences in 2018/2019

46,383 hours
donated to community projects through courses

245
curricular community partners in the 2018-2019 academic year

What to expect when participating in curricular CEL:

Students enrolled in a CEL course engage each week with a project or placement, depending on the partnering organization's needs.

  • Placement-Based CEL

  • Project-Based CEL

Students spend approximately 2-4 hours each week off-site at the organization fulfilling a specific need(s) and/or completing a project determined by the community partner.

Students work in a group (approx. 3-10 students) to complete a project and deliver a specific outcome determined by the community partner. Recent highlights on projects that emerge out of these collaborations can be found on our institutional repository, Scholarship@Western.


Curricular CEL allows you to get involved in community issues for credit. Imagine developing a communications plan that will be used by partners in their planning; organizing an event which promotes change and growth in the London community; or connecting with other populations outside the Western bubble all while gaining valuable experience and earning a course credit!

Snapshot Benefits

  • Increase interest and understanding of course material and its application
  • Promote civic engagement and social awareness and responsibility
  • Strengthen individuals attachment to their community
  • Recognize your own integral role in the growth of your community
  • Gain hands-on experience in the non-profit sector
  • Develop personal, professional, and intellectual skills
  • Enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Develop and fine-tune communication, collaboration, and leadership skills
  • Learn more about social issues, their root causes, and potential solutions
  • Meet interesting people and expand your network
  • Build connections that can potentially lead to future employment
  • Student Guide to CEL: Learn more about Community Engaged Learning, including expectations, processes and more.

The following resources may also be helpful to you as you engage with your community partner:

  • Student and Community Partner Expectations Agreement: This document helps students and community partners guide the initial conversation on project planning, to ensure that all key components of the partnership are outlined and agreed upon by everyone involved.
  • Student and Community Partner Debrief: This document helps students and community partners identify strengths and weaknesses on the partnership, provide and receive feedback, and discuss strategies for improving future partnerships.
  • myEL.uwo.ca CEL Logs. For those courses who have a mandatory CEL log component, students can enter their hours, and 1-2 sentences on the tasks they completed over the course of the CEL experience. Please note: users need to login to Western Connect before clicking this link to access this page.

Many of our CEL placements and projects will require students to obtain a Criminal Record or Vulnerable Sector check. This can be completed through the London Police Service or through police service in your hometown, provided that you have remained an official resident of that municipality.

For more information about Police Checks in London and how to obtain them, please access our resource: Information Regarding Police Checks