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About the Donelan Office

The mission of the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning is to engage faculty, staff, students, and community partners in a process of integrating theory and practice.  In the Jesuit tradition and through service and research, we promote experiential learning opportunities that foster the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources, as we strive to make a substantial contribution to our local community.

The Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning was established with a $1.2 million endowment from Trustee and alumnus Joseph P. Donelan II to facilitate connections between academic learning and community engagement. Since its opening in September of 2001, more than thousands of students have participated in the program, enriching their intellectual experiences in the classroom with first hand experience in the Worcester community.  

Dr. William Meinhofer, the founding director, developed the Donelan Office into a strong program that has improved relations between the College and the City of Worcester. Dr. Margaret Post continued to build upon Dr. Meinhofer's work by serving as the second director of the Donelan Office. Dr. Michelle Sterk Barrett became the director of the Donelan Office in 2012. 

Current staff also include the Associate Director, Isabelle Jenkins '10. The CBL Interns, undergraduates who have participated in CBL and are selected for leadership positions with the Donelan office, are available to further support faculty, CBL students, and community partners.

Learn more about Community-Based Learning through our "Introduction to Community-Based Learning" (PDF) Power Point, our Student Handbook (PDF), and through reading CBL-related websites.

Read more about Joe Donelan '72.

Our Jesuit colleges and universities "boast a splendid variety of in-service programs, outreach programs, insertion programs, off-campus contacts, and hands-on courses. These should not be too optional or peripheral, but at the core of every Jesuit university's program of studies... Every discipline, beyond its necessary specialization, must engage with human society, human life, and the environment in appropriate ways, cultivating moral concern about how people ought to live together."

-Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus

“We all have the capacity to respond to the most pressing problems we face locally, nationally and around the globe.  Our Jesuit tradition calls us to begin that work on the bridge between our classrooms and the Worcester community.”

-Margaret A. Post, former Director of the Donelan Office of Community Based Learning

The Donelan Office is a part of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World at the College.