Steans Center > Egan Office > About the Egan Office > Our Mission & Approach

Our Mission

Mission Banner

The Egan Office works in partnership with communities to address critical social issues, promote social justice and transform the structures of inequity in our society. We seek to understand and work with our community partners using an asset-based community development approach which recognizes and builds on a community’s history and strengths. In doing so, we hope to strengthen DePaul University’s connections to Chicago and to advance DePaul’s faculty and student engagement with public agencies, community-based organizations and schools.

The “Egan Way”

Over the years, the Egan Office has developed a set of principles that guide our work with communities. Guided by our mission, we use these principles to direct and assess both the processes we use to do our work in communities and the outcomes and impact of our collaborative efforts. The following principles are referred to as “The Egan Way.”

Asset-based approach:

The Egan Office helps identify and build on community and individual strengths and resources. The processes we use and the outcomes we work toward are community-driven and based on community strengths, resources and assets whether they are formal or informal, traditional or nontraditional. We seek to add value to existing efforts by facilitating access to additional community and university resources.

Sustainability & Transformation:

We believe that our efforts in long-term partnerships with communities should lead to sustainable and transformative partnerships, programs and resources in the service of equity and justice.

Authentic Relationship Building:

The Egan values relationship-building as the heart of our work. We recognize that relationship-building is intentional and requires the investment of time and self. We also believe that differences and conflicts can be resolved within the context of authentic relationships. We value long-term relationships among diverse groups of people and communities.

Systemic Analysis of Power Relationships:

We facilitate critical analysis about the power structures, inequities and injustices that affect the life outcomes of individuals, organizations and communities. We work towards individual and social transformation and systemic changes of inequitable policies and practices.

Understanding Context:

We believe that the social, political, economic, ecological, cultural, historical, gender-based, sexual orientation and religious contexts of peoples’ lives are critical to understanding the assets they have and the goals they wish to achieve.

Valuing Indigenous Wisdom:

We believe that the funds of knowledge inherent in communities, groups, communities and cultures are as important as knowledge produced in mainstream academic circles.


We create opportunities for people to learn from their history—the lessons learned and successes—to move forward and build on what has come before us.


The Egan Office believes that our work with communities must be at their invitation and must be driven by community folks who take ownership of the assets, the knowledge they develop and the actions they undertake.

Authentic Participation & Decision-making:&

We believe in providing concrete resources and supports for maximum participation of all community folks, especially the disenfranchised, in decision-making processes that affect their lives.


The Egan Office works to ensure that all residents of a community, especially those that have been traditionally non-participatory and unheard, find and use their voices and participate as equal partners and as agents of change.​