Community Psychology Learning Community (CPLC)

The Community Psychology Learning Community was created for new transfer students majoring in Psychology who are interested in making a difference in society. It is designed to help transfer students:

  • transition to UNC Charlotte and take steps needed to be successful here

  • access resources, including faculty, graduate students, and other undergraduates, and

  • develop critical skills needed for graduate school or employment in a related field

Most students learn little to nothing about community psychology in their first psychology courses, and many community colleges don’t even offer a course in community psychology. The CPLC exposes students to this exciting field so they can see if it fits their interests.  The social justice orientation of Community Psychology is emphasized in the core courses that all CPLC members take their first semester. CPLC students also connect with faculty and graduate students to learn about graduate school opportunities, and steps they can take to be successful when applying for graduate school or employment.

Students in the CPLC take 2-4 courses together during their first semester at UNCC, allowing them to get to know one another and benefit from the support they provide one another.

To be members of the CPLC, students must enroll in two courses:

PSYC2165 - Community Psychology, where students learn the key concepts of community psychology, which emphasize: 

  • prevention of problems, rather than treatment

  • building strengths, competencies, and assets; rather than focusing on deficits

  • the importance of social context, multiple causes of problems and solutions, and the diversity of human experience

  • the sense of community and interdependence

  • promoting positive change


PSYC3001 - The CPLC Course, which is a small, discussion-oriented class in which students:

  • learn about the local community and how to engage with it

  • learn to apply community psychology principles to address community needs

  • participate in team building event (low rope course)

  • develop a sense of community at UNC Charlotte

  • connect with faculty and graduate students to learn about community research and graduate school

  • conduct a group project that serves the local community

  • attend a professional Community Psychology regional conference

  • attend and participate in a number of local events together, learning about the community and developing a greater sense of community among themselves

  • learn to adapt to UNC Charlotte to be successful academically

In addition, members are also encouraged to and can enroll in the following courses, and space is reserved for CPLC students in these classes:

PSYC2101 – Research Methods 1 (strongly recommended, but statistics is required as a prerequisite)

PSYC2130 – Social Psychology

In the second semester, students who have completed PSYC 2101 – Research Methods 1 are encouraged to enroll together in a section of PSYC 2103 - Research Methods 2.  Students are also encouraged to become engaged in faculty research, perhaps enrolling in PSYC 3806 – Undergraduate Research Assistantship, and/or in community engaged practice through enrollment in PSYC 3405 – Practicum in Applied Psychology, to gain valuable experience.

This short video, created by students in the CPLC, tells you more about what you might expect if you were to join the CPLC (note that the procedure for applying has changed a bit this year.

Why should you join the CPLC?

There are multiple benefits of becoming CPLC members:

  • Connect with other students interested in social justice
  • Visit community programs and attend community events
  • Join roundtable discussions addressing community issues
  • Participate in team building activities
  • Develop skills to be successful in graduate school
  • Attend the Southeastern ECO-Community Psychology Conference
  • Connect with faculty and graduate students at UNCC and other universities
  • Become involved in faculty research, developing skills to be competitive in applying for graduate school.
  • Learn about university resources and programs that can help you be successful here and beyond.
  • “Hit the ground running” in your integration into UNC Charlotte and the Psychology Department, to get the most out of your years at UNC Charlotte

The 2016 CPLC after completing the leadership (ropes) experience. 

Who Can Join the CPLC?

The CPLC is only available to students who are new to UNC Charlotte, who have declared Psychology as their major, and who have sophomore or higher standing. Preference is given to students with junior standing, and who have a prior GPA of 3.00 and above. In their applications, students are asked to "make their case" and tell why they would be a good member of the CPLC.

To Join

Go to the link below and complete the brief set of questions. You may want to think about your answers to these questions and write them out before you go to the application survey.  You can copy and paste them into the application. You will be asked to tell:

  1. “What do you hope to gain from the experience?” Here is your opportunity to explain how the CPLC will contribute to your experience at UNCC.
  2. “What strengths do you bring to the CPLC to help make it a stronger learning community?”  Tell us about how you will help this learning community be a positive experience for everyone involved.
  3. Are there particular weaknesses or difficulties you anticipate that the CPLC could help you with?  Let us know how we can be helpful to you!
  4. Describe a social issue that you are particularly concerned about, and tell how you have been involved in efforts to address that issue OR, if you’ve not been involved in efforts to address the issue, how might you imagine yourself getting involved with the issue in the future? Help us know your interests.
  5. If you have a GPA of less than 3.0, tell us why you’re a good candidate for the CPLC. If you have overcome obstacles to your success, let us know so we can support you in your continuing growth.

Click on this link to apply Apply to the CPLC

Frequently Asked Questions About the CPLC

Q: Do you have to live on campus to be in the CPLC?

A: No, students can choose to live on or off campus.

Q: Is the CPLC a class or a club?

A: Neither. The CPLC is a group of students who take classes together, work together, and support one another. They all take the CPLC PSYC3001 course, which counts as an elective for psychology majors.

Q: Does joining the CPLC require community service hours?

A: Although the CPLC doesn’t require specific community service hours, all students in the CPLC will participate in a service project and off-campus activities as part of the requirements of the CPLC course.

Q: Do you have to have a strong interest in community psychology to join the CPLC?

A: Most students entering the CPLC have never learned enough about community psychology to have a strong interest. Some students, upon learning about community psychology, really want to learn more, get involved in community psychology research, and then apply to graduate school.  Students should have a strong interest in social justice and have a strong desire to make their communities better places.

Q: Does this require a lot of time outside of class?

A: It does require time out of class to go to community events and programs, to attend the ECO Conference, and to work on the class project.  This is not more than many courses require, though, and our students frequently report that those experiences are the highlights of the semester and make the CPLC such a success.  No worry if you don’t have a car, students carpool regularly – all part of a community of people working together to be successful!

Q: I’m thinking that I may want to focus on my studies this first semester at UNCC, and join the CPLC next semester. Is this possible?

A: No. Sorry. We only bring in new students in the Fall semester of the year they transfer to UNCC. However, the CPLC is designed to help you be successful in your first semester.  Students work together and support one another in their courses, making their transition more successful.  This is the perfect time to join. As one of our students said:  “The CPLC has given me eleven familiar faces to help with my transition to UNCC. This has made a significant difference in my ability to cope throughout my first semester here. I have felt very supported and cared for by the other members of CPLC. There is a strong sense of mutual support amongst everyone, and we really get along with each other. This has helped me feel like I’m actually a part of UNCC, and that I can make a difference by just being myself.”

Q: What if I have other questions?

A: Contact the CPLC Coordinator, Dr. Jim Cook, at

Members of the 2016 and 2017 CPLC attending the ECO Psychology Conference in Atlanta and visiting the Dr. Martin Luther King National Historical Site with M.A. and Ph.D. Community Psychology students and faculty.