SSLP Syllabus



The Summer Service Learning Program, a collaboration of site partners, Notre Dame Clubs, faculty, staff, and donors, offers students an experience of displacement from which to discover and deepen an understanding of kinship, resilience and hope. In the words of the University’s mission statement, the SSLP, “seeks to cultivate in its students … a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”


Reflect theologically, through journaling and conversations, as a means of understanding and interpreting one’s service experience, particularly relationships, and the readings of the course.

Become culturally competent through the exploration of what it means to respect the diversity of communities and cultures encountered in the SSLP.

Become conversant about the principles of Catholic social thought, identify the principles in the SSLP immersion, and apply the principles in one’s life and in society.

Learn about and engage the method of social analysis to interpret and expand knowledge of social issues that arise from the SSLP experience.

Develop tools to discern one’s call, drawing upon the practice of the Examen, conversations with people at the site, and the integration of the readings with one’s experience. The hope is for a continued integration of faith and action beyond the SSLP.

SYLLABUS (2017 syllabus still in progress, 2016 syllabus listed for reference)

Pre-SSLP Requirements (approximately 7 hours of evening classroom time)

April 4 OR 5 – Cultural Competence (presented by Emmanuel Cannady)                                            

April 11 OR 12 - Kinship on the Margins:  Grounding in theology and Catholic social tradition

April 18 OR 19  – Understanding Poverty and Strategies for Change, (presented by REAL Services)

Weekly Reading During the Eight Weeks

1: Images of Living Kinship on the Margins

Readings from the Fr. Greg Boyle, Les Miserables, Gospel of Luke, and Pope Francis

2: The Trinity: God as Kinship

Readings from Graham Tomlin,  Michael Himes, Ben Wilson, Fr. Greg Boyle, and Collen Mayer

3: Jesus: God’s Kinship with Us

Readings from McNeill, Morrison and Nouwen, Dorothy Day, and Christopher Heurtz and Christine Pohl

4:  The Call to Kinship in a Divided and Wounded World: Catholic Social Tradition and Mercy        

Readings from Ben Wilson, Pope Francis, and Michael Laskey

5:   Addressing the Sources of Dysfunction in the Human Family: Social Analysis

Readings from Fred Kammer, SJ; Jennifer Reed- Bouley and Ken Reed-Bouley; Genesis Santana, Mariangelis Fuentes, Ashley Melendez, Nelmaris Laureano and Soledad Velazquez

6:  The Systemic Denial of Kinship:  Racism and Unearned Privilege

Readings from Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Ph. D., S.T.D; George Yancy and Naomi Zack; and Tim Wise

7:  Testing the Limits of Kinship: Where is God in Suffering, or Is Reconciliation Possible after Crime and Injury?

Readings from either: James Martin, SJ, Jean Vanier, and Lille Romeiser; or from Howard Zerr, Jennifer J. Llewellyn, and:

8:   Vocation: Exploring the Call to Kinship Beyond the SSLP

Readings from Edwina Gately and Robert Lentz, Fr. Greg Boyle, David Hollenbach, and Andrea Smith Shappell

Follow up SSLP Requirements (approximately 4-5 hours in August and September).