Information graphic of volunteerism, leadership, and service-learning facts

About the CCBLLR

UW-Milwaukee has a core commitment to graduating students who are dedicated to community engagement and leadership. To this end, UWM has developed deep partnerships with the non-profit sector, providing student opportunities for volunteerism, service-learning, and community-based work-study options. Through service, students develop:

  • leadership skills,
  • multicultural competencies, and
  • an investment in civic life and social responsibility.

Established in 2012, the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research moves UWM to the next level by improving the student civic and leadership experience through a holistic and seamless approach to community engagement. Overall, the CCBLLR will ensure greater impact and success in UWM fulfilling its civic mission and providing well-developed leaders for our communities. We encourage you to explore this page to learn more about our leadership development programs, volunteer programs, and academic service-learning programs.

To learn more about how the CCBLLR was established, read the CCBLLR Vision Document.

View our presentation for more information about the CCBLLR: PowerPoint or PDF.

Want to know how UWM students, faculty, and staff are engaged in the community? Visit the CCBLLR Recognizes page to see recent accomplishments from all disciplines.

If you are looking for a specific form or other document, visit the Resources page.

Our Mission

The Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research (CCBLLR) partners with the community to inspire students, faculty, and staff to engage in activities that foster enduring personal and social change.

Center Videos

UWM Spotlight on Excellence:

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Spotlight on Excellence video on YouTube
To use closed captions for the Spotlight on Excellence video, mouse over the video while it is playing. Click the "CC" button once to turn closed captions on, and click the button again to turn closed captions off.

Watch another video about UWM student leaders and volunteers: Doc|UWM video on Vimeo

Meet Our Staff

Laurie Marks

Headshot of Laurie Marks

Laurie Marks is the Executive Director of the UW-Milwaukee Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research. Since 2000 she has worked with students, faculty, staff and local non-profit and government agencies to create meaningful community-based learning programs where students are engaged in making a real difference in the lives of others through service. Laurie also teaches leadership courses in the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies for the Education and Leadership Living Learning Community and the curricular certificate program in Community Leadership. She has a Ph.D. in Urban Education from UW-Milwaukee, and a M.Ed. from Marquette University.

Laurie can be reached at 414-229-3161 or at

Nicky Glaser

Headshot of Nicky Glaser

Nicky Glaser is the Interim Director of Community-Based Learning at the Center for Community Based Learning, Leadership, and Research. After obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Social Work from UWM in 2011, Nicky served a year as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Center for Volunteerism & Student Leadership, coordinating both youth mentoring and older adult programs. She is working towards a Master of Science in Cultural Foundations of Education with a concentration in Urban Communities and Education. Currently, Nicky works on the coordination of the Center's older adult programming, episodic events, student leadership retreats, alternative spring breaks, and hunger and homelessness awareness programs. In her free time, Nicky likes spending time with her friends, her grandma, books, and kitties.

Nicky can be reached at 414-229-3161 or

Hilary Wilson


Hilary Wilson is the Community-Based Learning and Leadership Program Manager at the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research. She holds a BA in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies from UW-Madison, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California Los Angeles. As a graduate student, Hilary worked closely with community organizations engaged in community-based participatory research and gained a deep appreciation for university-community work. In Milwaukee, Hilary has worked in youth development as well as community organizing, and is excited to work with students, faculty, and community partners in building a healthier and happier city. Hilary also loves to dance salsa and sing. 

Hilary can be reached at 414-229-3161 or

Samantha Bickert

Headshot of Samantha Bickert

Samantha Bickert is a Graduate Project Assistant at the Center for Community Based Learning, Leadership, and Research. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Youth Work Certificate from UWM in 2011, Samantha served five months as an AmeriCorps member with the Northwest Service Academy based in Trout Lake, Washington, where she participated in local community service projects. She was also relocated to Sierra City, California, where she built and restored hiking trails in the Lake Tahoe area. Samantha is working towards her Masters in Administrative Leadership with a concentration in Leadership in Youth Serving Organizations. Samantha works on the youth and leadership programs. In her free time, Samantha enjoys hiking, writing, and playing volleyball.

Samantha can be reached at 414-229-3161 or

Ernesto Lira

Headshot of Ernesto Lira

Ernesto Lira is a Graduate Project Assistant at the Center for Community Based Learning, Leadership, and Research. He graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and a Latino Studies Certificate. He is a third-year doctoral student working towards his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at UW-Milwaukee. He is interested in multicultural issues, social justice, and health psychology. Ernesto works with the Center’s Community Engaged Scholars Network (CESN) and assists with the service learning courses. In his free time, he enjoys reading, doing yoga, and cooking.

Ernesto can be reached at 414-229-3161 or

Center Hours

Monday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Tuesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Wednesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thursday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Friday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm