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Student Leadership and Service (SLS)

Academic Civic Engagement


Discover the value of integrating the community into the classroom through intentional academic civic engagement. SLS works with students, faculty, and community partners to advance the needs/agendas of community organizations while providing students with deeper understanding of course content and civic responsibility.


Academic Civic Engagement is a “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience that allows students to (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.” - Bringle & Hatcher, 1995

The SLS Academic Civic Engagement (A.C.E.) program is designed to:

  1. Provide resources to faculty interested in incorporating academic civic engagement into the curriculum of a course of program.
  2. Recognize faculty who demonstrate a commitment to integrating A.C.E into their curriculum through the Academic Civic Engagement Reception.

I believe [my students] came away from the experience with an excitement about the possibilities of contacting very different kinds of people, and working together to address enduring inequalities.Bruce PodobnikAssociate Professor of Sociology

Why Academic Civic Engagement?

Teaching an academic civic engagement course offers a variety of benefits for faculty. Academic Civic Engagement can enhance teaching effectiveness, advance scholarship and academic ccontributions, and provide service to the university and surrounding community.

Academic Civic Engagement also benefits students. Students who participate in academic civic engagement courses have the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to social issues and injustices in the community, hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and identify interests and passions for pursuit post-graduation. 

A.C.E. Reception

Civic Ware, Spring Semester 2012

The A.C.E. Reception is an opportunity to celebrate the curricular work faculty from all three campuses (College of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School of Education & Counseling, and Law School) are doing in partnership with the greater Portland community; additionally, and central to the Reception’s mission, is recognition of the dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships at the heart of these partnerships.

The A.C.E. Reception is an annual event that takes place every April. The following are past awardees:

  • Civic Ware (2012) - Gabe Parque, Ceramics Instructor (CAS)
  • Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: Crime and Punishment in the United States (2012) - Reiko Hillyer, Visiting Assistant Professor of History (CAS)
  • Oregon Justice Resource Center (2012)
  • Lewis & Clark Community Counseling Center (2012) 
  • Camp Fire USA/David Douglas School District (2011) - Peter Mortola & Diane Gans (Grad)
  • Small Business Legal Clinic (2011) - Maggie Finnerty (Law)
  • Thank You for Arguing (2010) - Mitch Reyes, Assistant Professor of Media and Rhetoric Studies (CAS)
  • Education in Modern Society (2010) - Brynna Hurwitz, CAS Instructor of Education (CAS)
  • Am I My Brother’s Keeper? (2010) - Kristi Williams, Associate Director of Advising & Adjunct Professor (CAS)
  • Alberta Street Voices (2010) - Pauls Toutonghi, Assistant Professor of English (CAS)  

Resources for Faculty

Consultation & Referrals

Our staff can help you critically reflect on important components of academic civic engagement and/or help you locate community agencies whose services relate to your curricular goals.