Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship

The Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship (CEPS) offers graduate and professional students opportunities to learn about academic community engagement in higher education, explore the pedagogy of community-based learning, envision discipline-specific community-based research, have an impact on communities near and far, and enhance career placement potential. Contact Jay Brandenberger to develop a learning pathway to attain the certificate.

A variety of Center for Social Concerns events count toward the graduate certificate.

See the Events Calendar and sign up for the weekly newsletter, Communiqué

See also this overview of all graduate student opportunities via the Center. 


Spring 2020 Workshops and Events 


Engaged Learning Forum: CBL from the Inside Out

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | 12:00-1:30PM | Geddes Hall Coffee House

Pam Butler, Michael Hebbeler, Kyle Lantz, and Susan Sharpe, University of Notre Dame

Further details to be announced.


Ethical Development and Life in/beyond Higher Education

February 12, 2020     3:30 to 5:00 pm at Geddes Hall 

Dr. Darcia Narvaez, Department of Psychology

Dr. Narvaez is a leading national scholar who applies her insights about ethical development in multiple contexts. This is a special session for graduate students (of all disciplines), one that will surely be forward looking and thought provoking. Registration details to be shared. 


Engaged Learning Forum - "Spanish CBL @ Ten!"

Thursday, March 19, 2020; 8:15AM - 9:45AM 

Rachel Parroquin, Elena Mangione-Lora, Amber Grimmer, and Cynthia Trujillo, University of Notre Dame

Details to be announced. For more about the Engaged Learning Forum, see;


Community Engagement and Higher Education: History, Contexts, and Future

March 27, 8:30 to 10:00 am in Geddes Hall

Jay Brandenberger, Ph.D., Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame

Colleges and universities increasingly advocate community engagement as a means to apply learning, serve community interests, and enhance relevance. Explore the history of such engagement, current paradigms, and future potentials. Especially relevant for graduate students hoping to integrate disciplinary interests with social concerns. Required session for the Graduate Certificate.


Engaged Learning Forum - "Words and Actions: Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice"

Thursday, April 16, 2020; 8:30AM - 9:45AM; Geddes Hall Coffee House

Dr. Cassie Glynn, Department of Education, Concordia

Details to be announced


Community Engagement Faculty Institute 

June 2 to 4, 2020

The Center’s Faculty Institute is a focused exploration of community engagement. Spots are open to graduate students; participation covers/includes many elements of the Graduate Certificate. Apply here. Applications close February 7, 2020.


Fall 2019 Workshops and Events 


Graduate Student Information Session 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 | 4:15-5:00 PM | 208 Geddes Hall

This informal gathering is for those interested in the Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship and other opportunities for graduate students through the Center for Social Concerns. Learn about the Certificate plans for the year, connect with others engaged, and consider similar potentials to link your talents and scholarship to the world’s need. Open to graduate students of all disciplines. No RSVP needed.  

Engaged Learning Forum - Community-University Partnerships: Fostering Knowledge for Social Change

Thursday, September 19, 2019 | 12:00-1:30 PM | Geddes Hall Coffee House
12:00 PM | Lunch available
12:30 PM | Presentation

The Engaged Learning Forum series aims to advance the Center for Social Concern's approach to practicing Catholic social teaching through community-engaged research, teaching, and learning. Join us for a lunch forum and discussion featuring Dr. Ira Harkavy.

Dr. Harkavy is Associate Vice President at the University of Pennsylvania, and Founding Director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. He has helped to develop academically based community service courses and participatory action research projects that involve creating university-community partnerships and university-assisted community schools in Penn's local community of West Philadelphia. Harkavy teaches in history, urban studies, and Africana studies, as well as in the Graduate School of Education. In addition to this forum, Dr. Harkavy will spend two days on campus meeting with faculty, graduate students, and others to discuss public scholarship and higher education.
Please invite others who might be interested by forwarding this invitation. RSVP by 5:00 p.m. September 12, 2019. Registration is required though GradConnect. If you later have to miss, please let us know to allow for another guest.
Cosponsors include the Center for Social Concerns, Office of Public Affairs, the Center for Civic Innovation, and the Office of the Provost.

Please direct questions to Jay Brandenberger or Jackie Franco.


Lounging with the Center for Social Concerns

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | 4:00-5:15 PM | Graduate Student Lounge at the Duncan Center

Drop by during Graduate Student Appreciation Week at Notre Dame to discuss community engagement opportunities through the Center. Jay Brandenberger will consult on current programs and potentials you may have in mind. 


Engaged Learning Forum

Civic and Political Engagement and Higher Education

Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 12:00-1:30 PM (lunch provided) | Geddes Hall Coffee House

Dr. Nancy Thomas, Tufts University

Dr. Nancy Thomas directs the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. IDHE is an applied research center that studies higher education’s role in American democracy and supports college and university student political learning and participation. The Institute's signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) examines student voting rates, patterns, and conditions. Through NSLVE, nearly 1,200 U.S. colleges and universities (including Notre Dame) receive tailored reports containing their students’ aggregate voting rates following each federal election. Dr. Thomas' work and scholarship include college student civic learning and participation in democracy, campus climates for political engagement, deliberative democracy, political equity and inclusion, campus free speech, and academic freedom. She holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a law degree from Case Western Research University’s School of Law. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Public Deliberation, a senior associate with Everyday Democracy, and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. Thomas currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Public Deliberation and is a senior associate with Everyday Democracy. Space is limited. Registration is required and open to staff, faculty, and graduate students. Please register by  November 1, 2019. Grad students register through GradConnect (counts as credit for Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship - CEPS).

Beginning the day after the Fall 2019 election, Dr. Thomas will spend two days on campus meeting with faculty, graduate students, and others to discuss the intersection of civic/political engagement and higher education. Cosponsors include the Center for Social Concerns, the Department of Political Science, the Constitutional Studies Minor,  the Office of the Provost, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, Notre Dame Learning | Kaneb Center, the Division of Student Affairs, and ND Votes.


Engaged Learning Forum

Community Impact Roundtable

Dr. Viva Bartkus, University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Richard Jones, University of Notre Dame

Friday, December 6, 2019 | 12:00-1:15PM | Geddes Hall Coffee House

Please join us for lunch and discussion of two innovative community-engaged courses supported by Center for Social Concerns Community Impact Grants. This event will feature Notre Dame faculty Viva Bartkus, Richard G. Jones, and Victoria St. Martin, as well as students who participated in their community-engaged courses. Learn how they designed courses and research with community impact in mind. Learn how you can do the same supported by our Community Impact Grants!

Viva Bartkus, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management in the Mendoza College of Business. Dr. Bartkus's presentation "Designing Service Learning and Scholarship that Actually Serves" will present results of research she has conducted on the question of what it takes for service learning projects to effectively serve community partners. Dr. Bartkus received a Community Impact Grant to lead a cohort of MBA students in a Business on the Frontlines course designed to stimulate economic development in Santurce, Puerto Rico, a vibrant arts area. Business on the Frontlines is a series of community-engaged research courses that examine the impact of businesses in societies affected by extreme poverty and conflict. The program allows Notre Dame students to engage and partner with non-profit organizations and multinational companies to harness the dynamism of businesses to strengthen communities before they tip into conflict.

Richard G. Jones is the Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Director of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. Victoria St. Martin is a visiting journalist with the Gallivan Program. Jones and St. Martin were awarded a Community Impact Grant to teach “Covering America | Puerto Rico: Journalistic Storytelling with Compassion, Empathy, and Professionalism.” This course involves a six-day reporting trip to Puerto Rico designed to combine digital technology with foundational reporting skills to cover complex stories for national audiences with a sense of both professionalism and empathy.

Due to limited space, registration is required by November 25, 2019.

ABOUT THE ENGAGED LEARNING FORUM SERIES: The Engaged Learning Forum series aims to advance the Center for Social Concerns's approach to practicing Catholic social teaching through community-engaged research, teaching, and learning. See the whole series at .



Other graduate-student events for 2019/20 are in development.

Contact Jay Brandenberger for more information or suggestions. 


Overview of all Graduate Student Opportunities via the Center for Social Concerns





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Upcoming Events

January 2020

2020 Social Concerns Fair
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Winter Career Fair 2020
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Leadership Formation Workshop: Organizing through the power of story
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

February 2020

Application Close: SSLP 2020
Saturday, February 1, 2020 (All day)
Color of Compromise: Why the History of the Church and Race Matters
Monday, February 3, 2020 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Application Close: Community-Impact Grants
Monday, February 10, 2020 - 4:30pm
Information Session: Catholic Social Tradition Minor
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Junior Parents Weekend Open House
Friday, February 14, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

March 2020