Community-Engaged Course Design

The Center for Social Concerns identifies the full range of community-engaged courses at Notre Dame with the Registrar's ZCSC attribute. We recognize community-engaged courses from every college and school, undergraduate and graduate, and main campus and elsewhere. The center asks instructors to identify all the following modes of community engagement used in the course:

Community-Based Research (CBR) engages students in investigating a question defined by a community organization. The organization then works with the instructor and students to conduct the research in a mutually beneficial way, addressing both the needs of the organization and the learning objectives of the course. The results of the study are shared fully with the organization so they can advance their mission and objectives. CBR can be done remotely through careful design and communication.

Community-Based Learning (CBL) courses are a collaboration between community partners and instructors who identify mutually beneficial opportunities for students to contribute regularly to the mission of the organization through job placements and/or project work that aligns with the learning goals of the course and the needs of the organization. CBL can be done remotely through careful design and communication.

Experiential Learning (EL) classes put students in direct contact with some aspect of the issues and/or skills being studied in their coursework, typically through site visits off campus. In this mode, students receive information from community experts who find value in educating students, but they do not actively participate in regular research, projects, or service. 

Propose a Center for Social Concerns (CSC) Community-Engaged Course

Do you have an idea for a community-engaged social concerns course housed in the Center for Social Concerns under the CSC subject heading? Do you have an existing course you'd like to crosslist with the CSC designation? The Center for Social Concerns Curriculum Committee reviews all course proposals in its first meeting of the semester. To start the process of creating a new primary (parent) or crosslisted (child) course with the CSC subject, follow these steps:

  1. Start by reviewing this Center for Social Concerns CSC Designation Guide.
  2. Next, talk with Dr. Connie Snyder Mick, Director of Academic Affairs and chair of the CSC Curriculum Committee (
  3. When you are ready, submit the Center for Social Concerns CSC Designation Application. The CSC Curriculum Committee must receive this by the first week of the semester to be considered for the following semester. 
  4. The CSC Curriculum Committee will contact you with questions and/or an invitation to discuss your proposed course directly with the committee.
  5. The chair of the CSC Curriculum Committee will share the committee's response with any additional recommendations as quickly as possible.
  6. If the course is approved, the CSC's Administrator for Academic Affairs will assist with the appropriate steps to process the course through the Registrar.

Community-Engaged Course Design Resources

Course Design Worksheet

Sample Syllabi

Community-Engaged Course Site Document

Need a Consultation? Meet with an Academic Community Engagement Professional

Whether you've been doing community-engaged teaching and research for years or if you're just curious, this work is always stronger when designed in partnership with experts on campus and in the community. To get feedback on existing ideas or to brainstorm new ones, please reach out today. Contact Dave Lassen, Ph.D., at, to start the conversation!

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Upcoming Events

April 2021

Application Deadline | McNeill Leadership Fellows Program
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm

May 2021

CST Research Seminar
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 9:45am
Labor Café | The Paid Leave Priority
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Just Wage Forum 2021 | Just Wage is Not Excessive (Virtual)
Friday, May 21, 2021 - 1:00pm to Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 12:45pm

June 2021

July 2021

Just Wage Forum 2021 | Series Conclusion (Virtual)
Friday, July 23, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

September 2021