Community engagement helps graduate students embrace the utility and value of their training.
Beyond the Ivory Tower
Many graduate students come to Northwestern to develop their academic interests as a means for positive social impact. But the specialized training required for disciplinary expertise can sometimes feel removed from effecting real change. CCE helps close the gap through opportunities for graduate students to apply their skills and knowledge to issues they care about, learn through hands-on, real world practice, and develop local networks.
Theory, Meet Practice
CCE offers two practicum programs for graduate students, which combine experiential learning with a credit-bearing seminar on public scholarship. Students in the GEO Community Practicum (GEO) and Northwestern Chicago Humanities Initiative (CHI) are placed in quarter-long internships with public interest organizations where they apply their graduate training to tackle community challenges, seed research collaborations, and develop professional experience and leadership skills. To provide personalized, high-quality internship experiences, CCE partners with more than 70 organizations, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Environmental Law & Policy Center, and City of Chicago.
CCE regularly offers graduate students opportunities to work with our department, including through year-long graduate assistantships. Through these GA-ships, graduate students support the Center’s programs, help build a culture of engagement on campus, and work with our community partners on strategic initiatives. In 2022, CCE also launched the Black Metropolis Graduate Assistantship program which embeds PhD students within Chicagoland organizations to support projects that preserve and amplify Black histories.
To support academic departments in developing engaged scholars and teachers, CCE offers periodic workshops for graduate students in everything from writing policy briefs to facilitating civic reflection to developing mutually-beneficial community-based research. Graduate students interested in upcoming opportunities should sign up for our bi-monthly bulletin.