Support for DePaul Faculty | About the Steans Center
Transformative Teaching and Research
DePaul is dedicated to teaching, research and public service. Service learning is a teaching method method that when properly integrated into credit-bearing courses, students (1) learn better by applying theories, methods and concepts to community-based learning environments and (2) become more socially active, engaged citizens who work toward improving the health and wellbeing of all communities.
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. Service learning provides the opportunity for co-learning and co-teaching with communities engaged in solving societal problems.
Perhaps the greatest benefit was that issues we discuss in class weren't abstract to the students. They were experience them firsthand.
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 divides service-learning into five categories:
Students engage in service that directly benefits a community organization's existing programming (e.g., tutoring, providing health screenings)
Students produce a tangible product by the end of the term (e.g., creating a website, PR plan, assessing organizational recruitment strategies).
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.
Solidarity involves valuing the dignity of all people, respecting them as individuals, in the pursuit of justice, community-building and peace. For example, the Center supports courses at prisons where DePaul students study side-by-side with incarcerated students as part of Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.
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 faculty recruit, fund and deploy undergraduate and graduate students to support community-based research and scholarship linked to your teaching.
Benefits of ASL in Curriculum
Service learning pedagogy can link teaching and learning to civic engagement & advocacy. Enriching curriculum with meaningful community-based contexts for learning enhances students' mastery of content, analytical and critical thinking skills, and their capacity to connect research to application and more clearly define their career paths. In turn, college students assist in building the assets of community-based organizations who can benefit from collaboratively developed projects, research and advocacy campaigns. DePaul faculty and their ASL community partners can build long-term mutually beneficial scholarly partnerships.
At DePaul, the Steans Center provides support for faculty to engage students in community-based learning informed by critical service learning theory (Mitchell 2008) and a social change orientation that guides them to question the origins of social, economic and political inequalities. Utilizing an asset-based community engagement approach, ASL connects DePaul's educational mission to locally driven efforts to build sustainable communities.