New workshop series connects UChicago faculty to community engagement opportunities

January 14, 2020

Civic engagement is an institution-wide commitment at the University of Chicago, and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of a new workshop designed to help connect their academic work with communities on the South Side and throughout the city. The workshop is being piloted as part of UChicago Engages, a new resource organized by the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) to promote a shared set of values and practices that enables academics to engage with communities throughout Chicago. When fully launched, UChicago Engages will provide a regular series of workshops, a coordinated campus-wide practitioners network, and other community engagement resources.

Led by the OCE in partnership with the UChicago Faculty Development Program, the first community engagement faculty workshop was held on December 10. Attendees received an overview of OCE’s work connecting the University to the city and the South Side, including examples of UChicago faculty working with the office to incorporate community engagement into their courses and research projects. The workshop offered several interactive exercises to help faculty develop a shared vocabulary and framework for community engagement, learn about the history of the University’s relationship with its adjacent neighborhoods, and practice one-on-one relationship building as a tool for identifying shared interests and enabling community partnerships.

“Research and education fuel the University’s long-term commitment to civic engagement,” said Susana L. Vasquez, Associate Vice President for OCE.  “There is increasing interest across campus to engage community members and create meaningful partnerships. This workshop series is one of several ways that OCE aims to support faculty and staff interested in partnering with our communities.” 

The faculty workshop builds upon a similar workshop conducted for the Court Theatre, the Reva and Logan Center for the Arts, and the Crime and Education Labs within UChicago Urban Labs. In addition to workshops, OCE is a resource to help faculty make connections to community organizations and local schools, serving as a thought partner to help faculty explore community-engaged research or initiatives.

Faculty interested in attending future workshops or connecting with OCE should contact Nika Levando, Director Program Strategy, at The University’s monthly civic engagement newsletter highlights the positive impact units across campus are having on the South Side and the city. It also features information on community partners, program opportunities, and upcoming events. Sign up here to get the next issue in your inbox.