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Duquesne’s Office of Service-learning Receives $10,000 Grant

Duquesne University's Office of Service-Learning has been awarded a $10,000 grant to strengthen civic learning in its Community Engagement Scholars Program.   

The Bringing Theory to Practice Project grant will be used to expand the Community Engagement Scholars Program to promote the 21st Century Standards for Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, as defined by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

With the grant, participants in the Community Engagement Scholars Program will benefit from an enhanced curriculum for the first semester that fosters their understanding of universal democratic principles as ideals that promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, social justice, economic and social development of the community, and strengthened cohesion of society. In the second semester, students will gain practical experience by working with a local community organization on a community development project.  

Throughout the program, students will explore:

  • The process of public work and how to engage that process effectively
  • Civic values and how these are present within their own lives
  • Collaboration with diverse people
  • Joint development of solutions for shared public problems
  • Personal growth and social connectedness
  • Self and collective efficacies as students work on a shared public problem and provide leadership within an academic-community partnership.

The revamped program will yield important information about how students develop social responsibility and cultivate personal growth.

According to Dr. Lina Dostilio, director of academic community engagement in the Office of Service-Learning and the seminar's teacher, the grant will help to make the University a pacesetter in this arena. "This grant positions Duquesne to be a leader in the emerging trend of strengthening civic learning and democratic engagement among U.S. college graduates and challenges us to think about how these outcomes are fostered across the curricular spectrum at Duquesne," Dostilio said.

Civic learning is not an incidental outcome of the collegiate experience, Dostilio said, but instead is intentionally nurtured inside and outside of the classroom. The information to be gained about student learning and how these outcomes might be strengthened in other courses will allow Duquesne and other institutions to realize the value of including these lessons in the curricula.

"We are impressed with the scope of the proposed project and its potential for transforming civic learning at Duquesne by enabling the Community Engagement Scholars Program to serve as a model upon which other efforts can be developed," said Donald Harwar, director of the Bringing Theory to Practice project. "We commend the project team's vision for connecting the funded work with larger goals for institutional change and transformation."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.