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-engaged learning, envision discipline-specific community-engaged 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 Center Events Calendar and sign up for the weekly newsletter, Communiqué

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



New Graduate Students

Please stop by the Center's table at Graduate Student Orientation 

August 16, 2021 Noon to 2:00 pm in the Dahnke Ballroom of the Duncan Center


Engaged Learning Forum: “Back to Normal” and Continuing to Grow: Resources, Opportunities, and Relevant Notre Dame Policies for Community Organizations in Fall 2021

August 19, 2021 | 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. | virtual event

Dave Lassen, Ph.D., Program Director, Community-Engaged Learning Program
Lulama Moyo, M.A., Assistant Program Director, Community-Engaged Learning Program

Fall semester 2021 is almost here and it brings with it an exciting development: a return to in-person community-university partnerships! Please join us to kick off the new academic year with a conversation about new possibilities, current Notre Dame policies, and community preferences for collaborating in 2021-22. This event will introduce new resources and offer space for any questions you may have about working with Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff this year.

Like you, we are excited and relieved to begin a year that will once again include in-person engagement and community events on-campus. After more than 18 months of limited engagement, we are eager to have Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff collaborate with South Bend area organizations more fully and in-person once more. We will forever be grateful for the adaptability, ingenuity, and patience shown by so many in recent months. While COVID-19 will continue to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future, your continued commitment, insights, and innovation have allowed us to make significant progress in returning to usual patterns of collaboration. 

At the same time, of course, “back to normal” is only a starting point. The Center for Social Concerns is committed to working energetically with members of the community to continue to improve, expand, and elevate the size and quality of our community partnerships. This Engaged Learning Forum will therefore present new resources and engagement possibilities we are developing based on what we have learned in recent months. Please join us to learn more about these resources and lend your voice to their continued development. As always, we remain committed to positive community impact and your perspective is essential in that process.

Please indicate if you will join by completing this registration form by 10:00am, August 19, 2021


What to do with my Ph.D.? - Community Engagement Career Paths

Jake Dillabaugh, M.A., Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, and Graduate Fellow @ the Center for Social Concerns

October 5th, 3:30 to 5:00 pm in the Coffee House of Geddes Hall

This session is for graduate students interested in pursuing/incorporating community engagement in their careers beyond Notre Dame. This workshop will explore potential means for adding a community engagement focus to both traditional academic faculty positions as well as other career paths both within and outside of higher education. The session organizer will draw on his research with faculty and administrators in higher education. The session also aims to offer an informal space for graduate students from different disciplines to share advice and suggestions for incorporating engagement interests in their disciplines. Please join us for conversation and community! Register through GradConnect. Counts for Graduate Certificate. For additional information, contact Patrena Kedik at 


Further opportunities for Fall 2021 coming soon. 


Spring 2021 OFFERINGS

The Center for Social Concerns in collaboration with the Graduate School offered a new course during Winter Session 2021:

Moment to See/Competence to Act: Fostering Social Responsibility and Justice through Higher Education

GRED/CSC 68010  —  Instructor: Jay Brandenberger, PhD

This interdisciplinary seminar for graduate students from all disciplines responds to the current ethical moment in higher education: Both Pope Francis and Science magazine have called this “a moment to see.” What are the social responsibilities of universities? How may we address challenges such as COVID-19, racial injustice and political divisions? How may universities, including Notre Dame, contribute to forming a new normal that fosters equity and justice? The course will engage such questions in a flexible format during the Winter Session. The course will encourage students to examine the implications of their disciplines for the common good, to imagine and build plans for future professional actions. How might you integrate knowledge of empathy, design thinking, diversity, human flourishing, community development and justice into your work? The seminar will be enhanced by the integration of guest speakers and by relevant podcasts and digital media. Students will tailor their own learning plans according to disciplinary interests. Join us in this creative opportunity to respond with courage and hope. Note: the course will also fulfill many of the requirements of the Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship. Register through normal channels. Contact the instructor for more information at 


Justice in the World: 2021 Catholic Social Tradition Conference 

March 25 to 27, 2021 — National Conference sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns (virtual)

Graduate students are highly encouraged to attend this major biennial conference. 

The Justice in the World conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Synod of Bishops’ prophetic vision by examining the justice issues proclaimed by the Gospel and addressed by modern Catholic social thought. The conference will focus in particular on issues central to the document: racism, ecclesial and political structures, work, internationalization, and the environment. Registration is free, and open to all. Participation will count toward the Graduate Certificate. National and international speakers will examine inter-related concepts of justice and offer models for action. See the full schedule and further information here


Nurturing Community During Times of Upheaval: A Case Study of Community-University Collaborative Events During COVID-19

March 30, 2021, 10:00 am — Virtual Event

Presenters: Ludy McCollester, Community Engaged Learning Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, South Bend; Lulama Moyo, Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame; and David Lassen, Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame 

This Engaged Learning Forum will explore theory and best practices around community-university partnerships in times of crisis. The session will focus on identifying and responding to a variety of types of crises, comparing the slow-moving, chronic crises that community-university partnerships often address and faster-moving crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of a local case study, the ELF will also explore the creation, design, and impact of a series of specially-designed community-centered, collaborative conversations that were part of the Engaged Learning Forum Summer Series from May to July 2020. These events and the existing literature suggest a six step crisis identification and response model that can be used in future crises. This will be an interactive discussion that will invite participants to evaluate recent responses to COVID-19 and begin to draft organizational response plans. Gradute student register through GradConnect. Others register here


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

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 3:45–5:15 p.m. | Virtual Event by Zoom

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. This is a required session for the Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship. For questions, contact Jay Brandenberger at or Patrena Kedik at

Register via GradConnect


Critical Consciousness for Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning 

April 22, 2021 | 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) | Webinar sponsored by Campus Compact

This webinar idea grew out of a Campus Compact Community of Practice entitled 'Developing Students' Critical Consciousness through Meaningful Praxis in Community Engagement'. During this Community of Practice, facilitators and participants alike found the need to continue this ever-increasingly important dialogue and consider ways to further enhance, development, and theorize critical consciousness in community engaged teaching and learning. Presenters will 1) define critical consciousness as it has been articulated in current and relevant research, 2) describe ways to engage others in their own safe exploration of critical reflection as it relates to the development towards a critical consciousness, and 3) provide examples of how critical consciousness has the ability to "intervene in order to change outcomes and realities" and transform and empower the lives of youth.

Speakers:  Aaliyah Baker, Amy Shanafelt

Register through the national Campus Compact website. Session is free for participants from Notre Dame (as a Campus Compact institutional member). See similar opportunities on the Compact website


Decolonizing your Curriculum

April 28, 2021  |  11:10 am to 12:25 p.m. (EDT)  |  Workshop sponsored by ND Learniing

by Alex Oxner and Sana Saiyed

In recent years, there have been many calls to “decolonize your curriculum” or to “decenter your syllabus,” but what does this work actually entail? In this workshop, participants will explore ways to diversify course materials and content, teach to a range of student identities, and create inclusive course policies and syllabi. We will also discuss the pitfalls of using decolonization as a metaphor for teaching and learning (Tuck & Yang 2012). Register through ND Learning

Fall 2020 Workshops and Events


Tuesday, September 22, 2020 | 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. | via Zoom 

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. Join by Zoom at this link.  



Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | Virtual Event

Christina Wolbrecht Ph.D., Department of Political Science 

with Jay Brandenberger, Ph.D., and Lulama (Lulu) Moyo, Center for Social Concerns

Christina Wolbrecht, Ph.D., will discuss historical and current electoral trends in the context of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the coming national election. What can history tell us about the struggle for voting rights today? How can previous elections help us understand the historic 2020 election? How can we help our students make sense of this specific political moment, what some have called a 'stunningly teachable moment about the importance of democracy”?

Christina Wolbrecht is professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy. Her recent co-authored book, A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage (Cambridge 2020), examines how women voted across the first 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Two of her earlier works were recognized with national book awards. Wolbrecht has authored articles on women as political role models, the representation of women, and partisan position-taking on education policy. She is co-editor of the journal Politics & Gender.

This session will be very relevant to graduate students thinking about means to incorporate civic and political education in their present or furture teaching and related work. 

Graduate Students register through GradConnect. This session is eligible for credit for the Community Engagement and Public Scholarship Certificate (CEPS)




October 8, 2020 | 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) | Webinar

Stanford University's Haas Center for Public Service has collaborated with 55 public and private,  institutions since 2013 to develop an innovative holistic framework. The pathways describe a range of possibilities by which students can contribute to the common good: community-engaged learning/research; community organizing/activism; direct service; philanthropy; policy/governance; and social entrepreneurship/corporate social responsibility. A free online survey surfaces student predispositions and interests toward the pathways; opens students' eyes to lifelong career, engagement, and leadership opportunities; and assists community engagement practitioners in developing relevant programming. Presenters will share multi-institution research resulting from the survey. Survey data informs practitioners, who can place students in community settings where they have strong pathway inclinations, encourage students to explore pathways they hadn't considered, or ensure they experience all six pathways in multiple placements during college. Each pathway provides students with experience they can use with high-impact practices in curricular and co-curricular settings, and in the workplace and civil society. Register through the national Campus Compact website. Session is free for participants from Notre Dame (as Campus Compact institutional member). 



October 8, 2020 | 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) | Webinar

Community engagement professionals from UW-Madison will facilitate a session with EU practitioners to increase cross-country connections for knowledge exchange. With so much output around engagement within our own borders, it can be difficult knowing where to access new knowledge coming out globally, and there is much to share between countries about different ways to organize community-based research in all its forms (CBR, CBPR, PAR). Graduate students and new faculty often report interest in different models to create equitable research and class projects. The International Living Knowledge Network of Science Shops has a 40-year history using principles of knowledge co-creation in a brokerage type fashion. Forging positive links with researchers in the EU and beyond will yield mutually beneficial exchanges of information and resources in both directions, helping increase the reach of CBR and innovation projects globally. While current U.S. political polarization creates heavy headwinds for science and research, many U.S. individuals and institutions are working hard to encourage knowledge co-production, including some robust activities in CBR and Citizen Science we can share and compare. Register through the national Campus Compact website. Session is free for participants from Notre Dame (as Campus Compact institutional member). 



Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. | Register for Zoom Link

Maria Alexandrova, M.D., Ph.D., Eck Institute for Global Health, Dave Lassen, Center for Social Concerns, and Lulama Moyo, Center for Social Concerns

This session will explore major setbacks and adaptations when implementing a community-engaged, public health research project during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project explored HPV-prevention strategies in St. Joseph County. Successful strategies focused on proactive adjustment to the anticipated timeline and open communication with stakeholders. Future steps will also be discussed, including data sharing and communication plans.  

Graduate Students register through GradConnect. This session is eligible for credit for the Community Engagement and Public Scholarship Certificate (CEPS).  

register via gradconnect


Engaged Learning Forum: SPANISH CBL @ 10! 

Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. | Virtual Event 

Rachel Rivers Parroquin, Ph.D., Director, Spanish Community-Based Learning
Elena Mangione-Lora, MA., Teaching Professor, Spanish
Amber Grimmer, '20, Student Researcher, Spanish Community-Based Learning
Cynthia Trujillo, '21, Student Researcher, Spanish Community-Based Learning

Spanish Community-Based Learning (CBL) is in its 11th year of partnership between the Center for Social Concerns and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Hear how the cohort of six faculty have worked with three key community partners to develop deep learning opportunities for students and help create positive impact in the community. 

Rachel Rivers Parroquín will give a brief overview of the past decade’s work. Elena Mangione-Lora will discuss the newest Spanish CBL course—an introduction to translation and interpretation with a community translation focus. Student researchers Amber Grimmer, '20, and Cynthia Trujillo, '21, will present on community impact research being conducted that gives voice to the community partners’ perspectives on our work. 

Please indicate if you will join us by completing the form below by November 4, 2020. Graduate students register through GradConnect. This session is eligible for credit for the Graduate Community Engagement and Public Scholarship Certificate (CEPS).

Registration deadline: November 4, 2020 

register via gradconnect


ENGAGEMENT MATTERS: Developing a Career as a Community Engaged Scholar

November 2020 | Webinar

KerryAnn O'Meara, Ph.D.

This webinar was presented in November 2020, hosted by a leading scholar in the field of academic community engagement. Dr. O'Meara, professor of higher education and associate dean at the University of Maryland , will shares "examples of high impact community engaged scholarship and strategies adopted by engaged scholars to succeed in reward systems that are not yet fully inclusive of this work." The webinar is sponsored by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, and is available to Notre Dame faculty and graduate students via an institutional membership. To activate your individual membership (free), go to and click on 'Activate my membership". Then search site or here for the event by title or author. Participation/viewing will count toward the Graduate Certificate. 


Further graduate-student events for 2021 are in development.

Contact Jay Brandenberger for more information or suggestions, and continue to review the overall Center calendar for relevant events. 


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





View All Events

Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm