Community Engagement

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Community Engagement at DePaul
DePaul students doing community engagement work
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​DePaul’s Commitment to Community Engagement

Community engagement is a vital aspect of DePaul’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission. Since its founding in 1898, community engagement has been central to our institutional identity and practice. DePaul has long been an anchor institution in the city of Chicago, and today we continue to work with diverse communities at the local, national and international levels. Through various modes of community engagement—including community-based service learning and internships, project-based learning, and community-based research—DePaul students, faculty, staff and alumni help to advance St. Vincent de Paul’s vision for a more equitable and just world.

Guiding Principles for Community Engagement at DePaul

At DePaul, we seek to foster respectful, reciprocal and sustained community partnerships. In 2019, DePaul’s Council on Community Engagement, in consultation with a wide range of DePaul’s faculty, staff, students and community partners, adopted four principles to help guide community engagement work at the university.

  1. Principle of respect for individuals, communities and their resources.

    • We take a collaborative and asset-based approach, recognizing the gifts and resources of all of the people and communities with whom we engage.
    • As we initiate projects and action steps, we plan inclusively so that the purpose and needs of all are heard and recognized.
  1. Principle of reciprocity in establishing and maintaining relationships built on mutuality, transparency and accountability.
    • We seek to cultivate a spirit of openness, learning and shared purpose in our relationships with our partners and colleagues.
    • At all stages of our community partnerships, we are intentional about including diverse people and voices, and we remain aware of how our own perspectives, privileges and presuppositions affect our shared work.
  1. Principle of engagement for social justice.
    • We recognize that individuals and communities are impacted by larger systems of power, therefore we put an emphasis on the importance of the critical examination of systemic injustice.
    • We seek to practice action, advocacy and sustained engagement over time as we work towards more just systems.
  1. Principle of transformative education.
    • We understand as a university community that the process of teaching and learning is at the heart of our Vincentian mission.
    • In the tradition of Vincentian personalism, we are mindful of upholding the dignity and needs of all learners.
    • Through community engaged learning, we provide opportunities to explore larger questions of purpose, meaning and solidarity with others, especially the most marginalized.

Collaboratory: DePaul’s Community Engagement Database

Explore and learn more about DePaul’s many current community engagement projects and partnerships through our Collaboratory database. The DePaul community is encouraged to help grow this database by entering additional community engagement projects not currently listed. If you are involved in a community engagement project and would like it to be included in Collaboratory or if would like guidance about how to do so, please email engage@depaul.edu with your contact information and a brief description of the project.