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Values and Framework

At Duquesne, service-learning is one form of academic community engagement. Though service-learning is a teaching method that is used in many educational environments, it is unique at Duquesne because of the values we hold.

Duquesne’s service-learning efforts are driven by the values and practices informed by our institutional mission and charism of our founders, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit:

  • Collaboration - We do not do for anyone what we can do with them. 
  • Relationships - We strive to develop sustainable relationships in communities; we do not drop in for one-shot experiences.
  • Responsible Action - By working with community partners we align our efforts with the community's agenda and vision rather than insert our own. 
  • Systemic Change - We try to address the root cause of community challenges. In those instances where direct service is provided, we educate ourselves and our students about the systemic issues that create a need for our service. 

The framework for service within our service-learning courses reflect these values. By developing relevant and sustainable partnerships, students in service-learning courses help to build stronger communities and enrich the lives of Pittsburgh residents in some of the following ways:

  • Community Capacity Building - Collaborate with non-profit organizations to develop strategic plans, diversity audits, marketing campaigns, and to construct community asset inventories.
  • Advocacy Through Education - Interview stakeholders to create a public log of their experiences regarding a public issue debate; Design a training program for EMS on the rights and needs of homeless individuals; Spread awareness of free income tax preparation and financial education services.
  • Policy and Community Research - Identify land use and invasive species patterns through the region's green spaces; Analyze health services for correlation with healthcare legislation; Develop a survey instrument to determine recidivism rates among previously homeless women who participated in a peer mentoring program.
  • Training, Education, and Workforce Development - Assist English language instruction with recently resettled refugee families; Develop life skills training programs for homeless military veterans; Teach basic computer skills classes; Share classes with incarcerated men and women; Hold seminars for senior citizens. 
  • Access to Arts and Strengthened Community Identity - Hold musical performances in community venues; Create an outreach network of youth interested in African American Arts and Culture; Assemble oral histories of residents' experiences in Hazelwood, the Hill District, and South Pittsburgh.