Early Career Faculty and Doctoral Students 



The Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies at DePaul University invites proposals for the Chicago Service Learning Research Fellowship. Application deadline is February 28, 2017. 


The Center seeks proposals for research focused on the impact of service learning on students, faculty, community partners, and/or one or more higher education institutions in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. The goal of the fellowship is to advance research on the impact of academic service learning in Chicago while supporting early career faculty and/or doctoral students in the United States. The research must focus either on analysis of existing data or the collecting of new data as well as be collaboratively developed with a Chicago higher education institution and/or community partner(s) where appropriate (e.g., research on a service learning course one is teaching may need no university or community partner). A one-week residency in Chicago at the beginning of the Fellowship as well as a one-week residency in Chicago at the end of the Fellowship will be underwritten by this Fellowship to ensure a successful research project, dissemination of the findings, and engaging with stakeholders, all in the service of extending the career development benefits for the Fellow. 





Proposals will be accepted from tenure-track assistant professors or doctoral-level graduate students enrolled at any accredited institution of higher learning in the United States. Adjunct and contingent faculty are not eligible. DePaul University faculty and doctoral students are strongly encouraged to apply, and, all other things equal, will be given preference.  DePaul faculty who apply should also consider application to the DePaul Public Service Council to fund material costs (see:  Service learning is a pedagogical model that intentionally integrates (a) relevant and meaningful service with the community, (b) enhanced academic learning, and (c) purposeful civic learning. The Fellow will have the opportunity to consult with Jeffrey Howard, director of faculty development at the Steans Center, throughout the Fellowship – from research project formulation to implementation to article publication. Jeff has taught, conducted research, and published work on academic service-learning for 38 years and is founder and editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. 


One Fellow will be selected annually as the Chicago Service Learning Research Fellow. The Fellowship includes:

(a) a stipend of $5,000 that may be used as a salary supplement and/or for materials related to the project (indirect costs are not allowed);        

(b) an all expenses paid one-week residency at the beginning and again at the end of the project (including, if necessary, airfare, hotel, and meals); and   

(c) funds for travel to present project results at a national service learning conference (including airfare, hotel, and meals).  


The Fellowship requires:    


(a) completing the research project by December 31, 2017;       

(b) presenting at a Chicago-wide Spring 2018 symposium at DePaul University;    

(c) presenting at a national conference approved by the executive director of the Steans Center;       

(d) submission of a draft article manuscript to Jeffrey Howard; and

(e) submission of an article deriving from the project to a peer-reviewed journal.  


Proposal submissions will be judged based on: significance of the scholarly project for advancing service learning research and practice; potential of the research to contribute to understanding and advancing the impact of service learning in Chicago (and potentially beyond); familiarity with the relevant literature; rigor of the research design; feasibility; and potential for deriving a scholarly product.  




February 1, 2017                        Draft proposal due February 28, 2017

February 28, 2017                       Proposal due

March 31, 2017                           Decisions made and announced

April 2017                                    Begin project/one-week Chicago residency

December 31, 2017                    Complete project

February 28, 2018                       Submission of a draft manuscript to Jeffrey Howard 

March 2018                                 Submission of conference presentation proposal 

Spring 2018                                 One-week Chicago residency, including presenting at a DePaul University symposium (Date TBD)

Fall 2018                                      Presentation of research at a national conference (e.g., IARSLCE) 

December 31, 2018                     Article submission to a peer-reviewed journal 


Submission Process


To apply, the following must be submitted to Jeffrey Howard ( by February 28, 2017.

(a) no more than a 10-page double-spaced research proposal that includes (1) the problem/issue to be addressed on service learning in the Chicago area; (2) the research question(s); (3) the relevant literature; (4) the data gathering and analysis plan;  (5) how the scholarship will advance knowledge in the service learning/community engagement field; (6) how the scholarship will advance practice in Chicago and the broader service-learning/community engagement field; (7) a timeline; and (8) a budget for the stipend as well as for the two one-week trips to Chicago, including a preliminary plan for the initial one-week visit.

(b) a letter of support on letterhead from a university department chair, director, dean, or equivalent if the research is university-based or the director of the community-based organization partner if the research is community partner-based;

(c) a copy of the applicant’s c.v.; and

(d) a copy of one published or unpublished community-engaged scholarship article/book chapter (optional).


Review Process


A committee of nationally-recognized leaders in the community-engaged scholarship field will recommend the top proposals. Final decisions will be made by the Steans Center. 



                    For more information about the Fellowship, please contact Jeffrey Howard at