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The ACU and DePaul University Conference on Community Engagement and Service-Learning is a biennial conference celebrating the significant achievements that stem from partnerships between universities and communities, and explores some of the contemporary challenges of university-community engagement and service-learning.  This will be the third joint conference, and the first hosted by DePaul University.  All of the conferences have featured vibrant keynote speakers, panel discussions, and workshops covering various community engagement and service learning topics.  Both the 2019 and 2021 conferences were successful in bringing together university and community partners to share their experiences and learn from each other. The conferences also featured several thought-provoking speakers and panelists who explored the future of community engagement and service learning in higher education.  

2019 Conference at Australian Catholic University - Melbourne: "Celebrate, Collaborate, and Explore"

The inaugural conference of 2019 featured excellent speakers, and panel discussions on topics such as the impact of service learning on student learning and development, the role of community engagement in social justice, and the future of community engagement in higher education.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Howard Rosing, Prof. Caryn Chaden, and Prof. Nila Ginger Hoffman from DePaul University; Dr. Matthew Pink and Prof. Sandra Jones from Australian Catholic University; and Associate Prof. Billy Osteen from the University of Canterbury. Dr. Rosing and Prof. Jones spoke about contemporary challenges in community engagement and service learning for Catholic institutions. Prof. Hoffman spoke about Incorporating global learning exchanges and course-based action research: pedagogical opportunities for ACU and DePaul University. Associate Prof. Osteen's keynote presentation was on using the wisdom of others and our own experiences to design an ethical and responsive model for institutional community engagement. 

2021 Conference - Online: "Pandemic, Pivots, and Potentials"

The COVID-19 pandemic upended initial plans for the 2019 conference and led to the creation of an online conference, this time focusing on the impact of the pandemic on university-community engagement and service learning.  Keynote speakers included Dr. Howard Rosing from DePaul University, Carol-Joy Patrick from Griffith Service Learning Australia, and Rachel Tomas Morgan from Notre Dame. They discussed the impact of this pandemic on Service-learning and community engagement and explored the challenges, opportunities, and new directions the pandemic has created for the field.

Dr. Valerie C. Johnson, a Presidential Diversity Fellow, Endowed Professor of Urban Diplomacy at the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy, and associate professor of Political Science Department at DePaul also delivered a keynote address on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with respect to service-learning.

The 2021 conference featured multiple panel discussions on topics such as the future of service learning, the role of technology in service learning, and the impact of the pandemic on community-university partnerships. Students from both DePaul and ACU collaborated on a highly successful panel discussion on their experiences in community, as well as providing an opportunity to meet online for a cultural exchange.