Steans Center > Service Learning > Faculty > Community-based Research

Community-based Research (CbR)

Student creating posters
The Steans Center assists faculty and students in the development and implementation of action research projects created in collaboration with community partners. Projects can support program development and evaluation, fundraising, advocacy and activism, and much more.

We assist with development of  projects, integration of research agendas with curriculum, IRB applications, as well as provide research assistants. Interested faculty should also consider the Community-based Research Faculty Fellowship that supports faculty in a year-long research project that involves their students.

Community-based Research Faculty Fellowship

The Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning will award up to three Community-based Research Faculty Fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year. Each Fellow receives a $4,000 stipend (in two installments) and a funded research assistant for three academic quarters at a 25% appointment. Additional funds will be provided for each Fellow and research assistant to present their research at an academic conference of their choi​ce.

A fellowship can be proposed by any DePaul University faculty member - tenured, tenure-track, or part-time / full-time contract facutly with ongoing teachig responsibilities. Adjunct instructors are not elligible. Fellowship applications are encouraged from any discipline or academic profession. Past fellowship recipients may apply for a senior fellowship. Dates and criteria for the senior fellowship will be the same as for first-time applicants. 

The community-based research project must satisfy the following criteria: 

  1. involve the community (i.e., driven by the interests of a community / community organization in Chicago)
  2. benefit a community or set of communities in Chicago (i.e., improve the quality of life for residents of a Chicago community)
  3. draw on the faculty member's expertise
  4. advance the faculty member's scholarship

The deadline for proposals for the 2018-2019 academic year will be May 10, 2018

For more information, click here for the call for proposals​​

Questions? Contact Jeffrey Howard at

Example: CbR Faculty Fellow Lisa Dush - 2011-2012

Lisa Dush is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University, where she teaches courses in new media studies and professional writing. Much of Lisa's teaching and research is built around efforts to partner students with Chicago-area nonprofit organizations, to together develop and deploy new media projects. During academic year 2011-2012, Lisa Dush initiated a research project designed to explore how personal, digital stories can prompt social action. Dr. Dush and her students partnered with Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and created a Digital Stories in Organizations Workshop in which students taught school parents and teachers how to produce digital stories that express their values about and priorities for education.

In December 2014, Dush published the article “Building the Capacity of Organizations for Rhetorical Action with New Media: An Approach to Service Learning” in Computers and Composition: An International Journal. The article describes two service-learning courses that Dush teaches at DePaul. She articulates a pedagogy of teaching students and nonprofit staff side-by-side, so that the students learn about the challenges of telling organizational stories in nonprofit settings, and nonprofit staff members build skills and know-how that will allow them to produce their own media in the future. The article explores how organizations can integrate new technologies into their work and how universities can play a role in helping organizations and their staff to learn and to evaluate these technologies.

Dush notes "this project is a small but important part of my larger research agenda, which explores how nonprofit and public sector organizations can responsibly and sustainably use new media stories and storytelling in their work. Right now, I’m working on a project that organizes and shares the range of cause-based storytelling via an online database, at”

For more information on the CbR fellowship, contact Jeffrey Howard. ​

Women and Gender Research Initiative Faculty Fellowship

The Women and Gender Research Initiative was established in 2002 to promote community-based programs and research that inform the prevention of, and intervention in, gender-related oppressions. The Initiative advances collaborative work between DePaul faculty, students, and community members to effect social change through a focus on social policy, advocacy, and community development. The Initiative also is committed to documenting, collecting, and making public the contributions of individuals whose lives reflect previously untold experiences and undocumented resilience. The Women and Gender Research Initiative, in collaboration with the Steans Center, annually invites proposals for a faculty fellowship. What makes proposals competitive?

  • Community-focused in nature and community based in implementation
  • Integration into course curriculum and student involvement in research
  • Commitment to research using feminist frameworks

For proposal instructions for the Women and Gender Research Initiative Faculty Fellowship, please visit Beck Research Fellowship​.

For more information, contact Beth Catlett.

Community-based Research Assistant Program

As research oriented courses require a significant investment of faculty time in developing research projects in collaboration with community-based organizations, the Community-based Research Assistant Program (CbR) provides faculty with the support of a student assistant. The program seeks to support faculty as they build long term relationships with community organizations, generate research questions and activities in collaboration with community partners, and disseminate research findings in ways that benefit communities and enrich scholarly discourse about social justice issues.

For more information on developing a course with CbR, contact Howard Rosing​.