Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning is defined as course-related student assignments or activities that take place off campus, are unpaid, and take place with or within a community-based organization. These may be identified through such indicators as: internship, fieldwork, field studies, applied, service learning, community engagement.

Each student placement site should have a current contract or MOU (for internships, per Executive Order 1064) on file with the University.  Also, each student should have a signed university waiver on file for their community-based placement.


Departments have the option to set up their own internal processes and documents for student placements and community partnerships in accordance with Chancellor’s Office risk management guidelines for internships  and courses.

Departments may elect to use the Center for Community Engagement’s CalStateS4 system, which manages all the necessary placement documentation. CalStateS4 significantly eases the risk management burden on departments and faculty. For more information on how to adopt CalStateS4 email

Departments will be asked to report student placement and community partnership information each quarter to the Center for Community Engagement.

  • Departments, or courses within departments, utilizing the CalStateS4 system: no additional reporting is required.  

  • Departments or courses within departments not utilizing CalStateS4: department chairs are asked to send a report at the end of each quarter to the Center for Community Engagement using the Department Chair Community-Based Learning Reporting Form

Planning:   If a course contains a community-based learning component:

If students are going to an off campus site on more than one occasion, departments can set up internal processes and documents in accordance with CO risk management guidelines and report information to the Center for Community Engagement at the end of the quarter or departments can utilize CalStateS4. To begin using CalStateS4 email

If students are going to one site, for a one-day service project or multiple sites for one-day service projects, please follow the University’s Field Trip Policy documentation and submit this information to the Center for Community Engagement at the end of the quarter. For access to the CCE’s online Service Learning Field Trip Form, please email

Departments electing not to use CalStateS4 for internships, please see the California State University Office of the Chancellor Executive Order 1064 Internship Guidelines to ensure department compliance, and report placements to the Center for Community Engagement at the end of the quarter using the Department Chair Community-Based Learning Reporting Form.

Process for Course Based Community Partnerships and Student Placements through the Center for Community Engagement’s CalStateS4

1.  All partners with whom students are placed in unpaid positions must have a current contract (for internships, an Agreement per Executive Order 1064) on file with the Center for Community Engagement.

   a)  A list of our contracted partners may be found here:

   b)  If a student would like to be placed with a non-contracted community partner, it can take over a month to have a contract fully executed.  The first step in the process to becoming a contracted community partner is for the community partner to complete the Center for Community Engagement's Community Partner Request to Initiate Partnership Form. This form is only available to departments and courses using S4. For access to the form email

2.  Once students have selected and confirmed placement at a site on our list of contracted partners, they must log their placement in CalStateS4. Within this placement process, students will complete the Off Campus Learning Waiver.  

3.  Faculty may view and manage students placements by logging into CalStateS4.

4. At the end of the quarter, students will be asked to evaluate their placement site in an effort to improve the effectiveness of partnerships.

5. To begin using CalStateS4 please contact the Center for Community Engagement at  

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