About Us

About Us

Penn State Altoona’s Center for Community-Based Studies (CCBS) is an interdisciplinary community learning laboratory.

The following principles have guided the Center’s development:

  • Meaningful, sustained partnerships must tap the CORE MISSIONS of the institutions and organizations involved;
  • Meaningful, sustained partnerships require INSTITUTIONALIZED SUPPORT to bridge the operational differences among sectors;
  • Meaningful, sustained partnerships require coordination of MULTIPLE TYPES OF ENGAGEMENT, from course projects to independent or group research to academic internships.
  • Meaningful, sustained partnerships inspire STUDENT SUCCESS, from skills development in leadership and problem-solving to critical thinking and effective communication relations.

Our Approach

CCBS taps the core teaching, service and research missions of Penn State.

  • STUDENT LEARNING: During the 2014-15 academic year over 200 students and 15 faculty members will have participated in academic-community partnership projects coordinated by Community-Based Studies staff. Student engagement to date has taken the form of faculty-guided research (8), course projects (168) in 8 disciplines across all four divisions, and academic internships (1).
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Three community collaboratives form the core of the Center’s outreach strategy: the Main Line Canal Greenway (12 members), the Healthy Blair County Coalition (15+ members), and the Underground Railroad/National Park Service Partnership (4 members). Each partnership entails multiple projects; each project promises meaningful deliverables upon completion.
  • SCHOLARLY INQUIRY: CCBS strives to identify opportunities for and to facilitate faculty research into issues and questions that inform our community engagement projects. The following are current examples of this effort:
    • Maureen Ittig—Applying an Ecological/Risk Framework to Understanding Poverty in Blair County
    • Nicholas Rowland, Jungwoo Ryoo—Digitizing Experiential Education: the eDashboard Project
    • Tulay Girard—Connecting Canal Towns of the Juniata Valley via Social Media
    • Tim Dolney—Mapping “Opportunity” in Blair County
    • Jungwoo Ryoo—Juniata River Water Trail Mobile App project