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

Join the 2018-2019 cohort of our faculty learning community to support you in designing or revising your community-engaged course.  More info about the program commitments, stipend, and dates can be found on the CELT Fellowship page.

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 Star Plaxton-Moore 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

Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Faculty Spotlight

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.

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

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
  • 2018: Hana Böttger

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)