Quality Enhancement Plan: Engagement Drives GPC Education

The following terms create the framework within which Community-based Learning at GPC operates:


Community-based Research: Community-based research is a pedagogy designed to engaged "students in a collaborative partnership to work on real research that will make a difference for local communities. Students are socialized as public scholars, learning actively about the research process and about how empirical inquiry can be applied to real social issues" (Paul, 2006).

Service Learning: Georgia Perimeter College uses the American Association of Community Colleges' definition of service learning: "Service learning combines community-based service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address community-identified needs while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.

Civic Engagement: Civic engagement is active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good while addressing root causes of community-identified needs in an effort to affect positive change via community-based service and/or the democratic process.


Community-Identified Need: A community-identified need is an issue or concern identified and expressed by community individuals and/or organizations who partner with GPC and/or who serve as community-based service placement sites for GPC students, faculty, and staff. Community-identified needs are addressed by relying on community strengths and assets.

Community Partner:  A community partner is a non-profit organization, governmental agency, or school that has entered into a formal agreement with GPC to work through the Atlanta Center in an effort to collaborate with GPC’s students, faculty, and staff to address community-identified needs and to provide opportunities for intentional academic learning.

Community-Based Service: Community-based service is the act of doing for others to address a community-identified need that affects positive change and that results in the advancement of the common good. Community-based service is distinguished from community restitution (i.e. that which is court ordered).

Experiential Learning: Experiential learning is the discovery of knowledge and the making of meaning through critical reflection on doing. Based on the research and writings of David Kolb, John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget, experiential learning is an umbrella term covering educational approaches such as internships, cooperative learning, and service learning.  

Internship: An internship is a form of experiential learning in which a student intentionally engages in academic learning related to career preparedness.

Placement Site: A placement site is a non-profit organization, governmental agency, or school that agrees to host GPC students, faculty, or staff to address community-identified needs through service learning and/or community service.

Reflection: Reflection is the process through which knowledge is discovered and by which meaning is made in experiential learning. Reflection is the graded component of service learning activities. Effective reflection is continuous, connected, challenging, and contextualized. Examples of reflection activities include journaling, public speaking, online discussion forums, small/large group discussions, blogs, wikis, collage, video, art, photo journaling, research papers, mathematics exercises, experimentation, etc.

Sponsor: A sponsor is an individual or organization that supports the efforts of the Atlanta Center through financial and/or in-kind contributions.

Sustainability: Sustainability is the capacity to endure.

Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromosing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.