Community Based Learning and Research 

Community Based Learning and Research (CBLR) courses are one way that Fort Lewis College fulfills its mission “to prepare citizens for the common good.”

Offered across the curriculum since 2008, in fulfillment of major field and Liberal Arts Core requirements as well as for elective credit, CBLR courses assist students in becoming active, responsible citizens by exposing them to the complex issues and needs of the local community and engaging them in addressing those needs through service, action, and research informed by relevant academic research.

CBLR courses are win-win-win for:

Active student learning

  • Jerome Bernard, a student in ENVS 495 – Environmental Colloquium, which  worked with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Environmental Division’s Water Quality Programs, valued the CBLR experience:  “I learned how an environmental agency actually functions on a day-to-day basis. I became more aware of the victories and struggles that are an ongoing part of the environmental movement.”

Academic knowledge creation

CBLR courses provide a method for academic knowledge creation.  Outstanding student work in community-based research is published on FortWork, the college’s digital commons. 

  • Brad Clark et al., “Horse Gulch Assessment Report”
  • Stella Dickson et al., “A Study in Restorative Justice in Education”
  • Brendan Jones, “Fighting in the Forests:  A Plan for Conflict Resolution in the Backcountry”
  • Candice Jenkins, “Individual Water Conservation:  The Key to Solving the Water Shortage Crisis”

Service to our community

  • CBLR community partners represent a broad cross-section of local non-profit organizations, tribal agencies, governmental offices, and public schools.


Students in Dr. Julie Korb’s Bio 250 – Ecology of the Southwest course assisting the Colorado Division of Wildlife in fish surveys of Colorado cutthroat trout on the Florida River.