Tuesday, June 14, 2016


The 2016 Center for Social Concerns (CSC) Community Engagement Faculty Institute (CEFI) was held May 24–26. Now in its fifth year, the Institute gathers community partners, faculty, and graduate students from around the country and from abroad to explore and deepen their knowledge of community-based teaching and research.

The Institute was first held in 2012, and was created as a response to the growing interest in community-based learning at the University. Each year it has brought around 30 participants for three days of lectures and community partner site visits that address a core theme. For 2016, the overarching theme of "Poverty" was framed by daily topics of "Incarceration & Justice," "Immigration & Rights," and "Work & Dignity"—each respectively focused on community, student, and faculty impact.

This was the first year in which the Faculty Institute was open to participants and presenters from outside the University or the South Bend community. Interest was particularly strong among faculty from universities that participate in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, a consortium whose intent is "to prepare students for a lifetime of professional, civic and political activity that will diminish poverty, drawing on a multitude of perspectives and initiatives." Member schools work to integrate rigorous, interdisciplinary poverty studies courses and internships into undergraduate education, and the Faculty Institute provides a very effective and adaptable framework for the kinds of teaching and research that transform students and communities long-term.

More than half of this year's participants were from other institutions, including Indiana University South Bend, Niagara University, Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, Middlebury College, Bucknell University, Manchester University, Hendrix College, Lynchburg College, Furman University, and Washington and Lee University.

Community partner site visits helped participants witness the positive results of long-standing relationships between the University and the South Bend community. Whether at the Center for the Homeless, Goodwill Industries of Michiana, LOGAN Center, the Juvenile Justice Center, Sister Maura Brannick, C.S.C., Medical Center or the Civil Right Heritage Center, participants heard from community partners about their working relationships with students, faculty, and the University.

Faculty Institute director, Connie Mick explains that the Institute gathers people with a genuine commitment to community revitalization and the reduction of poverty. "This year, our focus on poverty at the local and national level led us to have critical conversations about what works and what doesn't in managing and, ideally, reducing poverty. Our local community partners explained their role in addressing poverty and presented best practices for how faculty can work with the community to do engaged teaching and research in any discipline."   

In 2017, the Faculty institute will consider the Center for Social Concerns annual theme, "Solidarity as Soul of Development."  Faculty interested in considering how their teaching and research can help advocate for impact in local communities worldwide may apply to the 2017 Faculty Institute now.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On April 16th a powerful earthquake devastated several cities in Ecuador, killing over 400 people and injuring over two thousand. Many international and U.S.-based aid organizations are actively working on rescue and relief for those affected. Please read below for information on various organizations actively providing relief in Ecuador and to learn how you might assist.

The Center for Social Concerns has been a long-time collaborator with Andean Health and Development (AHD), founded by David Gaus, a 1984 Notre Dame alumnus. Gaus spoke in Geddes Hall on Monday, April 18th about the work of AHD and their response to the earthquake. Based in Pedro Vicente Maldonado and Santo Domingo, Andean Health is collaborating with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, and AHD’s physicians and nurses are working around the clock to care for trauma patients after the earthquake. AHD is expecting to receive two students through the International Summer Service Learning Program this summer. For more on the work of Andean Health and Development please visit their website.

InterAction is a coalition of 200 U.S.-based private relief, international development and refugee assistance organizations who work together to coordinate relief efforts and who have agreed to abide by a set of standards to ensure accountability to donors, professional competence and quality of service

InterAction has also developed guidelines on the most appropriate ways to help those affected by overseas disasters.


InterAction Member Organizations Responding to Crises Worldwide


The University of Notre Dame is not formally endorsing any of these organizations listed.  You are free to donate to any charity you choose.  This listing is a partial listing of the many organizations accepting contributions to relief, development, and assistance with regards to the Ecuadorian earthquake of 16 April 2016.


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

More than 800 volunteers and staff from the Ecuadorian Red Cross have been active following the earthquake which has killed over 230 people and left more than 1,500 injured.


Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services is coordinating with other humanitarian organizations and our partners to determine priorities.  



CARE’s humanitarian workers on the ground in Ecuador are on high alert and are working quickly to assess the situation. CARE has worked in Ecuador since 1962.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is working in cooperation with both the Jewish community of Ecuador, mainly located in Quito and Guayaquil, and our long-standing partner Heart to Heart International, our efforts will focus on medical care and supplies and water purification.


Heifer International

Heifer Ecuador is adjusting their approach in Muisne after the team learned that Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake forced the evacuation of the entire population and razed the village of Santa Rosa, where Heifer project participants were living.


Oxfam International

Oxfam International will shortly be sending teams to the area to assess the extent of damage and how Oxfam can best assist the Government response. 


Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is organizing a response to help sustain life and restore hope in the coming days.


Save the Children

Save the Children staff will be working in the days and weeks ahead to give support to those most affected by this earthquake, particularly children.



A ShelterBox response team is travelling to Ecuador to carry out assessments following a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the northern town of Muisne.



UNICEF delivered today 20,000 water purification tablets to Pedernales, the area worst affected by the earthquake that hit Ecuador last night. A UNICEF team is on the ground assessing the impact of the quake on children.


World Food Program

World Food Program is coordinating with the Ecuadorian Government and mounting an emergency response to assist the most vulnerable of the people affected.


World Vision Ecuador

World Vision Ecuador launched an immediate response including distribution of relief supplies and shelter to survivors, and is working to establish access to child friendly spaces to help families and children.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Connie Snyder Mick, Ph.D., associate director for Community-Based Learning at the Center for Social Concerns and codirector of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, has just published Poverty/Privilege: A Reader for Writers, with Oxford University Press. Taking a broad definition of poverty as the denial of choices and opportunities to live a decent life, the reader addresses the enduring question, “Why are people poor?” while also asking, “Why are people wealthy?” Poverty/Privilege examines the social, cultural, and political forces that offer—or—deny opportunities to people based on race, gender, age, and geography. By helping students understand how poverty works, this survey makes them aware of the problem and encourages them to become part of the solution. Developed for first-year composition courses, the reader includes an interdisciplinary mix of public, academic, and cultural reading selections, providing students with the rhetorical knowledge and compositional skills required to participate effectively in discussions about poverty and privilege. Information on poverty studies and other subjects compiled by Snyder Mick, along with her professional profile, can be found at

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January 2020

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