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Transformative Teaching and Research


Any faculty member can employ service learning pedagogy in any DePaul course.  Doing so, transforms the classroom into a dynamic space for teaching at the intersections of experiential, written, visual and other texts.


At the Steans Center, we can assist you with creating a compelling teaching strategy informed by community engagement in the interest of building assets of Chicago communities. 


Tap our human and financial support to pursue your interests in community-based research with students and to produce scholarship based on community engaged teaching and learning.


Through building community-campus partnerships for teaching and learning, the Center works to ensure diverse value systems, developed by community-based experts, are promoted within DePaul's curriculum and scholarship.   




Academic Service Learning (ASL) at DePaul 


ASL at DePaul refers to integration of the service-learning pedagogy into the university's curriculum.  The Center engages in community-based service learning which means that all forms of student service are driven and defined by DePaul community partners.  


DePaul generally divide service-learning into four categories: 



Direct Service

Students engage in service that directly benefits an organization's existing programming (e.g., tutoring, providing health screenings)


Project-based Service

Students produce a tangible product by the end of the term (e.g., creating a website, PR plan, assessing organizational recruitment strategies).


Community-based Research

Students contribute to a research effort defined and driven by a community partner.



Students support an ongoing campaign to address a critical social, economic, and/or environmental issue in Chicago or internationally.



The Center offers an effective way to identify CBOs to engage in any of the above forms of academic service learning and to further develop faculty research and scholarship focused on Chicago area and international contexts. We can help you find interdisciplinary academic partners, in the community, at DePaul and at other universities.


The Center can also help you recruit, pay for, and deploy undergraduate and graduate students to support community-based research and scholarship linked to your teaching.




Benefits of ASL


Link teaching and learning to civic engagement & advocacy


Enrich curriculum with meaningful contexts for learning


Enhance students' mastery of content and analytical and critical thinking skills


Identify applied research collaborations and/or scholarly projects


Provide practical experience for students in career areas


Contribute to building organizational capacity for nonprofits


Build nonprofit assets through alliance with DePaul


Provide needed support for direct service programs


Offer resource development through projects and research


Expose youth to university students and college life




Who to Contact:


Faculty and Departmental Service Learning Initiatives:  Helen Damon-Moore,


Developing Your First Service Learning Course:  Jeffrey Howard,


Infusing Community-Based Research into Curriculum:  Howard Rosing,


Assistance with the service learning site placement process: Rubén Álvarez Silva,






Developing a Course



Typical Service Learning Course Development Process


 1.         Faculty or community organization initiates the idea for a course/project/service component


 2.         Consultation with the Steans Center and faculty are invited to workshops


 3.         Faculty member Identifies and visits community sites and aligns learning objectives


 4.         Community partner clarifies expectations and affirms service benefits


 5.         Center staff and community partner visits class early in the quarter


 6.         Center assists students in getting oriented in community and tracking hours  


 7.         Center Service learning Coordinators monitor student progress 


 8.         Service Learning course evaluation sent to students, faculty and community partners 





Successful Service Learning Practice 


Fosters reflection through in-class discussion and relevant assignments 


Considers systemic social issues within service context


Includes assessing community resources and interest through visit sites


Involves drafting learning goals and assignments (see the faculty workbook)


Describes service activity in line with course objectives in syllabus


Prepares students for service in the classroom (or online)


Grades for learning outcome of service (e.g., in assignments) not for service itself




Steans Center Support Includes:


Information about and training on service learning pedagogy 


Assisting with identifying community partner organizations


Serving as a liaison between the university and the community


Support on logistical, risk management, and troubleshooting issues


Monitoring of student progress, challenges and success


Evaluation of service learning pedagogy to improve use


Support for converting service learning pedagogy into scholarship


Assisting in developing community-based research projects linked to service-learning



Sample Project/Service-Based Assignments


Interviews/Survey (created or implement with community partner)
Data analysis
Web site
Musical Score
Performance Art/theatre piece
Record historical or contemporary narratives
Blogging/writing of all kinds
Teach skills/language/content to others/tutoring
Creating curriculum
Fairs (health, culture, college)













































Contact: Helen Damon-Moore



Community-Based Research (CbR) and Scholarship of Engagement


The Steans Center assists faculty and students in the development and implementation of research projects created in collaboration with community partners. Interested faculty should consider the Community-based Research Faculty Fellowship which supports faculty in a year-long research project that involves their students.


The Center provides opportunities for faculty to hire students to become CbR Research Assistants for courses integrating CbR into learning objectives.  


Contact: Howard Rosing






Scholarship of Engagement


The scholarship of engagement is conceptualized as involving faculty in the community in ways that benefit the community and advance the faculty member's scholarship. It may involve students or not. It is a parallel activity to service-learning. It may be conceptualized as a model of scholarship that involves and benefits a community and advances a faculty member's scholarship.



Scholarship of Engagement Toolkit co-developed by Jeff Howard, DePaul Universityt and Tim Stanton, Stanford University, identifies a plethora of web-based resources and articles related to community-engaged scholarship.

National Campus Compact 

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health 


Contact: Jeffrey Howard






Grants and Conferences


DePaul Public Service Council (PSC)


The PSC offers course development grants that promote service-learning within the curriculum. The council also provides funding for research on service-learning pedagogy as well as research with community partners.  Departments can seek grants for program-wide community engagement initiatives.


The Steans Center has support for faculty to attend national, regional, and state-wide conferences devoted to service-learning and community engagement.  


To see a comprehensive list, visit Campus Compact at






Faculty Profiles





Adrienne M. Holloway

Assistant Professor, School of Public Service Course: MPS 573 Urban Community Development



Miles Harvey

Associate Professor, English Course: ENG 373 Creative Writing and Social Engagement



Juana Goergen

Associate Professor, Modern Languages Courses: LST 308 Motherhood in Latino Communities; LST 303 Borderlands ; PAX 212 Social Justice/Social Change; PAX 240 Narratives of War for Peace Building



Euan Hague

Professor, Geography Course: GEO 133 Urban Geography



Jeff Kowalkowski

Instructor, School of Music Courses: MUS 208 Community Audio Art



Karen Larimer

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing Course: NSG 431 Health Promotion for Families and Communities






       Student Feedback


        What DePaul students are saying.....


This experience has shaped my view on what the impact of this work can be. It’s so exciting to be helping someone get to the point where they can do what they want with their life.


The experience takes you out of your bubble and exposes you to different people and cultures. You get to see other ways of living that you can’t get in a textbook.


Being in the community is an invaluable experience – it brings out the issues in real time. I really believe there should be more courses with service learning components to supplement what is being taught in classrooms.


Service Learning completely transformed the way I learn, the way, I understand society and the way I plan to work in the future.  These experiences have really inspired me to seek employment in work that services a community in need in a way that is in line with my personal values.  




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