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About Steans Center

​​​​​​​​​​​​The work of the Steans Center is a direct reflection of DePaul's Catholic, Vincentian and Urban mission​. The center provides an academic bridge between the university and community that supports student learning, community development and faculty teaching and scholarship.

Our Mission

The Steans Center develops mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations to engage DePaul students in educational opportunities grounded in Vincentian values of respect for human dignity and the quest for social justice.

We accomplish this by engaging DePaul students and faculty in community partnerships that:

Advocate for the rights of all people to ensure equal opportunity and fair access to resources that satisfy basic human needs of housing, health, education, employment, safety, and a livable environment.

Support an intellectual and social environment at DePaul where a plurality of world views, cultural diversity, and value systems are respected, understood, encouraged and appreciated, and where students, faculty and community are empowered to become active participants in shaping a more equitable, egalitarian, and livable world.

Build, through service, research and technical assistance, the capacity of communities to realize their self-defined goals and objectives.

Implement community-engaged educational programs and practices that are egalitarian, equitable, and effective for a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and communities.

Encourage curriculum development and scholarship that highlights the assets of communities, the value of knowledge indigenous to communities, a self-reflexive approach to community engagement, ethical values, and the role of community engagement in building a participatory democracy.

Develop with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners a reciprocal, mutual, and trusting process to build authentic campus-community partnerships within a broader social context that addresses power relations. ​​​​​


Equity and Community Engagement

At the Steans Center, we recognize that 'who participates in community engagement' is a question that needs to be addressed through the lens of privilege; that efforts to combat racism, gender and economic inequality, and all forms of injustice are central to the practice of community engagement. Through our work, we commit to supporting community-university engagement that identifies economic, racial and gender equity gaps among those students, faculty and staff who are engaging communities.​

Land Acknowledgement

Located on DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus, the Steans Center sits on the territory of the original caretakers of the land that is today called Chicago. Prior to their forced removal, the original caretakers of the Chicagoland region included the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi (Three Fires Confederacy) as well as the Myaamia, Inoka, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kickapoo, and Illinois Nations.  We are humbled to be a guest on this land. ​

Indigenous Map of Chicago
Map of American Indian trails and villages of Chicago, Illinois, and of Cook, DuPage and Will Counties, Illinois, in 1804. Map by Albert F. Scharf, 1900-1901. Villages highlighted in green; principle trails in red.​ Chicago History Museum, ICHi-029629​