Chris Bennett

Executive Director, Shared Services


Cara DiEnno

Associate Director, Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning


Anne DePrince

Director, Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning, Chair and Professor, Department of Psychology


Esteban Gomez

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology


Barb Hurtt 

Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences 


Amanda Moore McBride

Dean, Graduate School of Social Work


Patience Crowder

Associate Professor, Sturm College of Law


Carolyn Sommers

Assistant Director of Career & Professional Development, Career Services

DU Grand Challenges

We are fiercely optimistic that universities and communities can tackle some of the most urgent and persistent problems when we work together. DU Grand Challenges was born of the belief that DU can work with the community to identify shared aspirations toward collaborative actions for the public good. The DU Grand Challenges initiative is a family of programs that will bring together university and community change-makers to address the most difficult and far-reaching issues facing our society today. DU Grand Challenges will address three inter-related issues in our communities: improving daily living, increasing economic opportunity and advancing deliberation and action for the public good. Each issue area will be addressed in a 3-year cycle, allowing us to co-create Aspirations, Actions, and Achievement with community partners. Together we will share our aspirations for improving daily living, increasing economic opportunity and advancing deliberation and action for the public good. We will identify collaborative projects that result in measurable change.

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CUMU-TDC (Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and the Democracy Collaborative) Anchor Mission Initiative

Joining 30 other colleges and universities across the United States, DU has been selected as an inaugural member of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, a national collaboration designed to develop and share new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve.

Local economic engines and mission-driven organizations inextricably linked to the long-term well-being of their local communities, and uniquely positioned and incentivized to play a more active role in supporting the local economy. By intentionally implementing an anchor framework the whole university, including the business and administrative divisions, will be able to better serve its public mission. The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will provide a national platform to accelerate this important work.

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Community Engaged Student Fellows

Fellows are assigned to an interdisciplinary issue area and charged with co-developing a plan to advance community-engaged work in this area in consultation with community and campus stakeholders as well as Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) staff. The goal of the fellows program is to help facilitate cross/inter-disciplinary collaborations that deepen the university’s impact on some or our community’s most pressing problems. Partnerships with community organizations are rooted in reciprocity and mutual benefit, and fellows will assist in determining community-identified issues and needs. Fellows work with CCESL staff as well as campus and community members to identify activities (events, programming, assessment, etc.) to advance collaboration in their issue area. Across Fellows, the work evolves differently. For example, some issue areas lend themselves to Fellows working directly with faculty clusters to advance specific community-engaged projects via research, creative work, and/or teaching and learning.

Learn more here!

Pathways to the Public Good Curricular Innovation Project

We created a successful pilot of a faculty-mentored student critical reflection experience on their public good identity through an (e)portfolio.

  • Six faculty mentors supported 19 students in this pilot year;
  • A new independent study course was approved called Pathways to the Public Good;
  • Assessments showed meaningful student growth in their reflections addressing their ability to articulate a clear public identity and potential to contribute to the public good; to make meaning of community-engaged work; and to integrate learning across community-engaged experiences.

Institutional Scan of Community-Engaged Work 

We completed an initial survey in 2017 to benchmark DU’s current community-engaged work that will allow us to identify ways to advance collaboration for the public good. We completed the second survey in 2019 and are currently analyzing and mapping the results and relationships.