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Steans Graduate Fellowship


Steans Center Sustainability

Call for Proposals - Harrison I. Steans Graduate Fellowship ​​​​

Deadline For Winter Quarter 2024: November 13, 2023

Upcoming Deadlines:​

Spring Quarter 2024: March 15, 2024

Summer Quarter 2024: May 30, 2024

The Harrison I. Steans Graduate Fellowship supports DePaul students accepted and enrolled in any graduate degree program. Fellowship projects are designed collaboratively with off-campus organizational partners, focus on social equity, and draw inspiration from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Graduate fellows directly apply their disciplinary knowledge and skills to build capacity within communities to work toward sustainable social, economic, and/or environmental change.  Fellowship funding can be awarded to support required internships.

Fellowships are awarded every academic quarter to begin during the subsequent quarter. The fellowship consists of 100 hours per quarter and is renewable for up to three consecutive quarters pending quarterly review by the Steans Center. Applicants can propose projects for the duration of one, two, or three terms (consecutively). Fellows receive a quarterly stipend for up to three terms in the amount of $1,800 per term ($5,400 maximum) for masters-level students, and $2,000 per term ($6,000 maximum) for doctoral students. During each term of the fellowship, fellows engage in a group reflection on their projects with Steans Center staff. Fellows may be able to pursue academic credit for their fellowship projects within their respective graduate programs (see graduate program director).​

At the completion of the fellowship, fellows submit a summative report illustrating the knowledge and impact resulting from their project. These reports are made available for future applicants, community partners, and the public. Lastly, fellows present their projects at an annual symposium open to the public. ​

Steans Graduate Fellowship proposals can be submitted by any DePaul graduate student who is accepted and enrolled into a masters or doctoral degree program.  Projects can be from one to three (consecutive) quarters in length and can be structured as direct service, technical assistance (project-based), advocacy, and/or community-based research.

Proposals must be developed collaboratively with an organization that supports sustainable development through the lens of social equity and through building on existing neighborhood or community assets. The size and type of the collaborating organization is not as important as the goals of the project and its potential to positively impact neighboroods, communities and/or their natural environment. Students needing assistance in identifying a potential partner for developing a fellowship project proposal should contact Howard Rosing ( at the Steans Center.

Fellowship projects should focus on a sustainable development topic (social, economic, and/or environmental) that supports one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using the SDG framework, students should structure their projects toward impacting local development but with an understanding of how the project contributes to global systemic change. Projects must also focus on an issue relevant to sustainable development through the lens of social equity.

Fellowship topics can include but are not limited to: education access, affordable housing, sustainable food systems development, healthcare access and policymaking, environment/ecological restoration, public health, neighborhood business development and wealth creation, racial equity, human rights advocacy and policymaking, workers' rights, response to climate change, environmental justice, youth development, LGBTQ rights, advocacy/support for immigrants and refugees, criminal justice reform, womens' rights, community-based technology access, restorative justice, and community arts development. The Steans Center is particularly committed to supporting projects where graduate students work collaboratively in support of historically marginalized groups including Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities and organizations. Though the emphasis of the Steans Center is primarily on the Chicago region, proposals will be considered that focus on geographies outside the region.

Proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Clearly stated goals that articulate how the project will contribute to working with an organizational partner to engage in sustainable development driven by local communities and building on existing local, neighborhood or communty assets.
  • The level of commitment to social equity in regards to how the project will support reducing inequality resulting from racism, gender discrimination, and/or other systemic forms of marginalization.
  • The degree to which the project proposal is well articulated both in terms of realistic goals and its timeline.
  • The degree to which the student articulates connections between knowledge acquired in their degree program and the activities outlined in the project proposal.
  • How the applicant envisions the project supporting their future academic and/or career goals.
  • How the fellowship project will contribute to supporting one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The strength of the commitment by the organizational partner.
  • Nomination for the fellowship by a faculty member from the applicant's graduate program.

For questions about the fellowship expectations, please contact Howard Rosing

Expectations for awarded fellows:

Orientation to the Fellowship. Fellows will take part in a program orientation where they will be introduced to an annual cohort of fellows.
Quarterly Reflections. Fellows will participate in periodic group reflections with other fellows in their cohort at least once per quarter
Quarterly Reports. For fellowships extending beyond a single quarter, fellows will provide a minimum 500-word report at the end of each quarter submitted to both the partner organization and the Steans Center as part of a quarterly review of the fellowship project. 
Final Report. Fellows will submit a 1,000-word publishable report to both the partner organization and the Steans Center at the end of the fellowship project.
Symposium. The fellow will make a presentation based on the fellowship project at an annual university-wide symposium sponsored by the Steans Center.

Fellowship Proposal Nomination. Using the proposal structure described in the subsequent section, prepare a proposal in PDF format and submit the proposal to a faculty member in your graduate program with a request to be nominated for the Harrison I. Steans Graduate Fellowship.  The student applying for the fellowship should have an existing relationship with the faculty member (e.g., former/current professor, advisor, mentor) who should be someone that knows the student's academic work within the graduate program. In addition to the proposal, applicants should send the faculty member their resume and a letter of collaboration from the partner organization.  Provide the link to the Steans Graduate Fellowship page as a resource to the faculty member.

Fellowship Submission. The selected faculty member should, at minimum, review the Nomination Abstract within the proposal and determine whether to nominate the applicant for the fellowship. To be nominated, the faculty member should forward the full proposal and attachments by email to Howard Rosing at 

NOTE: Students should not send their proposals directly to the Steans Center or Howard Rosing. Fellowship submissions should only be submitted by a faculty member selected by the applicant to nominate them for the fellowship. The role of the nominating faculty member is simply to ensure that the student is prepared academically to engage in the fellowship project, based on its stated goals. Critical feedback from the program director on the entire content of the proposal is optional.

Fellowship Award Announcement.  Nominated fellowship proposals will be reviewed by the Steans Center prior to the awards announcement which will take place prior to the academic quarter when the fellowship is expected to begin.

Note: Prior to completing a fellowship proposal, students who currently work for or who are funded by DePaul University should contact Howard Rosing ( to determine eligibility for funding through the fellowship.

Proposal should be in PDF format and include:

I. Applicant: Name, email, telephone number, graduate program, enrollment status in the program (e.g., matriculation in MA, MS, MJ, LLM, MJ, MBA, MFA, or PhD program), and expected graduation date.

II. Partner organization: Name and address of organization, site contact, and email and telephone number of site contact.

III. Number of Proposed Fellowship Quarters: 1 to 3 (3 maximum); fellowships are reviewed quarterly and continuation is not guaranteed.

IV. Nomination Abstract and Goals (300-word minimum): This abstract should provide the nominating faculty member with a list of courses relevant to the fellowship project (including undergraduate), a brief statement of what you plan to do during the fellowship, two to three concise and realistically achieved project goals, and a description of why the applicant believes they are academically prepared for the project. The student applying for the fellowship should have an existing relationship with the faculty member (e.g., former/current professor, advisor, mentor) who should be someone that knows the student's academic work within the graduate program. Note: The nomination abstract is meant to convince the nominating faculty member that the applicant should be nominated for the fellowship.

V. Partner Organization Collaboration (200-word minimum): Describe how the project and its goals were developed collaboratively with the partner organization and provide a rationale for why the project will support the goals of the partner. This rationale should align with the project as described in the Partner Organization Letter of Collaboration (see below).

VI. Project Rationale (300-word minimum): (1) Describe how your project will build the capacity of a community, neighborhood, geographic region, and/or organization to improve peoples' lives and/or the natural environment; how the project will contribute to sustainable development driven by the partner organization and related communities. (2) Visit the website of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Select one or more goals and describe how your project will contribute to meeting the goal(s). Directly link your project goals to one or more of the SDGs by explaining how its projected impact will contribute to global systemic change.

VII. Project Commitment to Equity (100-word minimum): DePaul is committed to racial and gender equity, to reducing inequality, and to creating a just and fair society. Advancing equity and equality means investing in communities of color and other groups who have been intentionally marginalized, segregated, discriminated against, underserved and/or under-invested in. How will your fellowship address the root causes of inequity?  Relate your answer directly to your project goals.

VIII. Project Timeline: Provide a project timeline for completing your project, including benchmark dates for completion of specific tasks whenever possible.  

[Note: If the project requires research with human subjects, you will have to complete an IRB application with DePaul's Office for Research Services. If this is the case, be sure to include this process as it can take multiple weeks, depending on the nature of the research. The Steans Center can provide support in completing the IRB application.]

IX. Student Development (100-word minimum): Provide a detailed description of how the fellowship will contribute to the your academic and/or career goals. How will the knowledge and/or skills acquired through the fellowship contribute to the your future?

X. Additional Documents: Attach (1) a copy of the your most recent resume and (2) a Letter of Collaboration from the partner organization that clearly states why the fellowship project is important to the organization. The letter also should include the time period during which the organization is committed to supporting the fellowship.

For questions about the fellowship and the application process, please contact Howard Rosing

​​Please submit inquiries about the Steans Graduate Fellowship to Howard Rosing