Community Psychology Learning Community (CPLC)

The Community Psychology Learning Community was created to offer 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 the 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 need to take to be successful when applying for graduate school or employment.

Students take 2-5 courses together during their first semester at UNCC, allowing them to get to know one another and benefit from the mutual support they provide.

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 and culture
  • 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
  • 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
  • learn to adapt to UNC Charlotte to be successful academically.

In addition, members are also encouraged to and can enroll in the following courses:

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

PSYC2150 – Psychology of Adjustment (special section for transfer students only)

PSYC2160 – Health Psychology

In the second semester, students who have completed PSYC 2101 – Research Methods 1 are encouraged to enroll together in 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.

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 events
  • Join roundtable discussions on community topics
  • Participate in team building exercises
  • 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 members’ research to develop 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, and getting 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.

To Join

Complete the online application, which involves your writing two short essays.

  • First, you are asked to tell “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.
  • Second, you need to describe “What could we expect you to contribute?”  Tell us about your strengths, and how you will help this learning community be a positive experience for everyone involved.

We recommend you thoughtfully write your responses and then, after carefully proofreading them, to paste them into the application here.

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: The CPLC is a group of students who take classes together and work together. 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: What if I have other questions?

A: Contact CPLC Coordinator, Dr. Jim Cook

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.