College of Science and Health > Academics > School of Nursing > About > Community Engagement

Community Engagement
A student speaking with members of the community.

What is community-based service learning?

Community-based service learning (CbSL) is a dynamic, collaborative partnership between students, faculty, and community-based organizations that is embedded into the Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) curriculum. In the CbSL model, you will be actively involved in meeting community health needs and providing a tangible product that is of value to a community-based nonprofit organization. You will apply academic learning to your community experience, and apply the hands-on, CbSL experience to your personal and academic development.

Service learning and the Vincentian Mission

The mission of DePaul University is based on the life, actions, and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. CbSL is the academic bridge to the university's mission to serve those least served. Guided by this mission, you will collaborate with community organizations to build foundations for improving community health programs and population-focused health initiatives. 

​​​​​Community health in the curriculum
As a student in the Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice program​, you will required to complete a total of 44 CbSL hours spanning four​ academic quarters. Understanding and appreciating health as a community focus, influenced by social and physical determinants, is an essential part of the nursing education at DePaul University. The importance of health promotion and maintenance is evident in the NCLEX-RN examination, accounting for 6-12% of all content.

Each student is paired with a community partner. The DePaul University School of Nursing, in conjunction with the Steans Center​, works with a wide variety of community nonprofit partners throughout the Chicagoland area. Starting in your first quarter, you’ll work directly with your community partner to engage in service related to social determinants of health. 
​​​​​Development of the community engagement program
The community engagement program was developed by the DePaul University School of Nursing in conjunction with the DePaul University Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning​

Students progress through their curriculum with the community partner as the foundation and resource for their learning. The courses in which CbSL is embedded provide an increasingly deeper exposure, involvement, and analysis for the student, as well as greater benefits for the community organization.  As new students enter the program, they fold into the partnership, supporting the sustainability of projects and the relationship itself.​

Program goals
Our goals for the community engagement program are to:
  • Incorporate CbSL into the current Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice (MENP) curriculum creating sustainable community-campus partnerships and enhanced student learning outcomes guided by DePaul University’s Vincentian mission.
  • Enhance student understanding and appreciation of health as a community focus, influenced by social and physical determinants as described in Healthy People 2020. 
  • Collaborate with community partners to build foundations for community health programs/population focused health initiatives.  
  • Foster sustainable health initiatives and community-based research (CBR).​