Community Engaged Learning

The Centre for Global Challenges wishes to promote interdisciplinary collaboration between Utrecht University researchers, its students, and societal stakeholders from across the globe through Community Engaged Learning (CEL).

What is Community Engaged Learning?
CEL is experiential education in which students, teachers, and external partners work together on societal challenges. CEL integrates societal engagement with academic study and reflection to enrich and enhance the learning experience and contribute to community needs. 

Community Engaged Learning comes in different forms. At the Centre, we prioritize projects that:

  • intersect with our core research themes of human rights, conflict & security, sustainability, and equity;

  • look beyond disciplinary boundaries;

  • connect with global partners or show how global challenges manifest in local needs; and

  • focus on the development of transformative competencies.

How will the Centre for Global Challenges promote CEL?

  1. CEL Project design: The Centre identifies and designs new CEL projects together with teachers and community partners. The focus is on CEL projects that intersect the research focus areas human rights, conflict & security, sustainability, and equity, and are transdisciplinary and transformative in nature.

  2. CEL Platform: The Centre aims to be an open platform for the university, that facilitates sustainable development of CEL. The platform focuses on helping departments, programmes, teachers and students design, implement, and evaluate CEL projects, by connecting societal partners working on global challenges and teaching teachers who want to integrate CEL into their courses.

  3. CEL Knowledge exchange: In close collaboration with the Centre for Academic Teaching, we share our experiences in CEL with the larger university community by developing a toolbox with practical tips and strategies for teachers and programme directors. Furthermore, trainings and workshops are held to share best practices and inform interested faculty about CEL opportunities.


In the university-wide TIC to TIC project, which stands for Thematic Interdisciplinary Challenge to Teach, Inspire and Change, students and professionals work together on innovative solutions to problems identified within the strategic themes. The TIC to TIC programme offers multi-level and multidisciplinary learning where Bachelor’s- and Master’s students work together with professionals from a variety of disciplines. The course allows you to experience how your knowledge and specific skills can be used in the search and implementation of solutions for pressing social issues.

From February 8 until April 18 (period 3) we will offer TICs in collaboration with three societal partners from which you can choose: Drowning Deltas, Contesting Governance and Green Teens

Da Vinci Project
The Da Vinci project is an interdisciplinary honours programme combining CEL and Design Thinking around sustainability for 2nd- and 3rd-year Bachelor's students who are looking for an extra challenge. Student from across disciplines work together on teams, using Design Thinking methods, to provide solutions for societal partners. From the Centre for Global Challenges, Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh is involved with the project. To learn more, visit the Da Vinci Project.

UGlobe CEL Team

Joost de Laat

Brianne McGonigle Leyh

Babette Berrocal

Lotte van der Haar

Nadine Blignaut-van Westrhenen

Enric Vila i de Villasante

Maria van der Harst

Carlotta Henning

Ruth ten Hove


UU Centre for Academic Teaching

UU CEL Programme Team

Special Interest Group CEL

Join us!