Community Engagement and Service-Learning Resources for Faculty

What are “Community Engagement” and “Service-Learning”?

Please visit the Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Community Engagement and Service-Learning webpage for descriptions of these terms.

Develop a Service-Learning Course at USF

If you are interested in developing or revising a service-learning course, we encourage you to follow these steps:

  1. Talk with the chair of your department to determine whether there’s a need/interest in adding this type of course to the curriculum. 
  2. Connect with faculty in your department who have taught service-learning courses to get their insights about benefits and challenges.
  3. Visit the Curriculum Committee’s webpage to review the process for submitting a service-learning course proposal.
  4. Review USF’s Service-Learning Course Guidelines and Student Learning Outcomes.
  5. Participate in the Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching Fellowship (optional, but highly recommended).
  6. Draft your service-learning course syllabus and proposal and submit them to Curriculum Committee via the online form.

Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) Fellowship

The McCarthy Center’s Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) Fellowship brings together faculty from across disciplines and with varying levels of community engagement expertise to participate in an intensive interactive learning community. The program is designed to foster faculty learning about community-engaged principles, pedagogies, and practices; cultivate supportive and reciprocal relationships with peers and community partners; facilitate critical dialogue about the nature of community engagement and social justice; and generate high-quality community-engaged learning opportunities for students. Content is shared and processed through readings, discussions, interactive activities, multimedia presentations, guest speakers, written reflections, and panels. Participants receive up to $1000 for participation in the CELT Fellowship and completion of a community-engaged or service-learning course syllabus.

2017-2018 CELT Fellowship Dates and Commitments:

  • Six meetings on Mondays, 1:00-3:00pm on the following dates during fall semester: October 2, 9, 30; November 6, 27; December 4.  (Meeting location is TBD)
  • Group service activity in November, date and location TBD based on participants’ availability
  • Networking happy hour with community partners and community-engaged faculty on Monday, November 27, 3:15-5:00pm
  • Three follow up meetings during spring semester, dates and times TBD based on participants’ availability
  • Completion of two short (2-3 page) written reflections
  • Creation or revision of a community-engaged course syllabus 
  • Eligible Participants:

    All full-time and part-time faculty members are welcome to participate. Part-time faculty members should consult with their department chair before applying to determine whether they are eligible to develop and teach a service-learning course.

    Learn More:

    To learn more about the CELT Fellowship, contact Star Plaxton-Moore at

    Additional Faculty Support Offerings

    Course Consultations 

    McCarthy Center staff members are available to meet with faculty regarding service-learning and community-engaged course development, planning, implementation, and assessment. Assistance is provided with identification of potential community partner organizations, syllabus construction, and reflection and assessment tools and strategies. Contact Star Plaxton-Moore at for more information.

    Course Development Resources

    If you want to engage in a self-led exploration of service-learning and community-engaged pedagogy literature, please visit the Community-Engaged Learning Resource Page hosted by Gleeson Library.

    If you are interested in reviewing examples of service-learning course syllabi from across a range of higher education institutions, please visit Campus Compact’s resource page.

    Community Partnerships

    At USF, we develop and maintain authentic and reciprocal community partnerships. It is the responsibility of faculty to initiate and maintain community partnerships for their service-learning and community-engaged courses that are relevant to the course content and learning outcomes.  A direct relationship between faculty and their community partners allows for ongoing communication about expectations, goals, concerns, and questions that arise during the service-learning experience. The McCarthy Center offers faculty assistance with researching potential service and engagement opportunities, connecting with host organizations, and negotiating details of collaboration. 

    Faculty can honor their community partners by submitting a nomination for the McCarthy Center’s annual Service-Learning Community Partnership Award. Please contact Fernando Enciso-Marquez at for more information. 

    Engage San Francisco

    Engage San Francisco is a place-based initiative grounded in long-term transformational partnerships between USF and the Western Addition neighborhood. Faculty who are interested in focusing on the needs and assets of the Western Addition neighborhood and seek partners for service-learning courses, community-based participatory research projects, or placement sites for student practica, capstones, or research are encouraged to contact Karin Cotterman, Director of Engage San Francisco at

    Enrichment and Engagement Opportunities for Experienced Faculty

    Critical Community Engaged Scholars Program

    Critical Community Engagement Scholars offers a research and writing support group to approximately 10 researchers investigating any aspect of community engaged teaching, learning, and acting in the context of higher education.  As they pursue their individual research projects, scholars should be committed to methods and outcomes that are inclusive and justice-oriented.  Approximately half the scholars will be from the University of San Francisco and half from other colleges and universities. We hope the opportunity for scholars to meet across campuses will be generative of ideas and further collaboration.  

    National and Regional Conference Participation

  • International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement Annual Conference
  • Campus Compact Regional and National Conferences

  • Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Faculty Spotlight

    Faculty Award for Service-Learning

    The Provost’s Office presents an annual Faculty Award for Service-Learning, which “recognizes the work of full-time faculty in developing service-learning opportunities for USF students. The awardee shall be a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated a commitment to service-learning through the integration of service-learning into the curriculum; innovation in employing a reflective teaching methodology to connect community and public service experience with academic study; and demonstration of leadership that promotes service-learning on campus.”

    The McCarthy Center works with members of its Steering Committee to put forth a nomination on behalf of the Center. If you are interested in seeking the McCarthy Center’s nomination for yourself or a colleague, please contact the McCarthy Center at

    Faculty recipients of the award include:

    2004       Richard Kamler

    2005       Jeffrey Paris

    2006       Christopher Brooks

    2007       Linda Walsh

    2008       Dayle M. Smith

    2009       Seth Wachtel

    2010       Monika Hudson

    2011       Amie Dowling

    2012       Evelyn Ho

    2013       Stephanie Sears

    2014       Kevin Lo

    2015       Helen Maniates

    2016       David Holler

    2017        Evelyn Rodriguez

    Profiles in Community Engaged Learning at USF

    USF also celebrates community-engaged faculty through inclusion in Profiles in Community-Engaged Learning, a publication that details exemplary community-engaged courses, practices, and partnerships.

  • PDF iconProfiles_In_Community_Engaged_Learning_2016.pdf
  • PDF iconProfiles_in_Community_Engaged_Learning2015.pdf
  • National Award Nominations 

    Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award
    Past Nominees from USF have included:

  • Stephanie Sears, Sociology (2014)
  • Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty
    Past Nominees from USF have included:

  • Hana Böttger, Architecture and Community Design, Art + Architecture (2015, 2016)