Faculty & Staff

Engage Dallas facilitates service placements at community organizations for SMU students and is developing project-based service-learning courses to address specific technical and research needs of community organizations.

Engage Dallas can support this work further through the resources below. After all, students are more likely to engage in community service with the prompting of faculty and staff.

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SMU faculty and staff have expertise in service-learning as well as community and civic engagement. Engage Dallas wants to hear from the experts. The initiative offers a series of required and continuing education sessions for our world changers. If you have a lesson plan that could be incorporated or adapted for such a use, please share with our co-initiative managers. Of course we will give credit where credit is due.
Engage Dallas participants are eager to learn new knowledge, skills, and abilities related to our social problems/community needs and how to be more effective in our direct service in South and West Dallas. If you are an event planner and have an educational program, please share it with Engage Dallas using our short form. If approved, Engage Dallas participants will be able to receive General Engagement hours toward their fulfillment of SMU's Community Engagement Proficiency & Experience. Approved event planners will need to track their program and attendance via SMU Connect. For organizers who do not have SMU Connect access, Engage Dallas will coordinate with you and your team to setup.
Teaching through community engagement is a powerful exercise for all involved. Thinking through the purpose of community collaboration, forms of engagement, and desired student learning outcomes helps faculty and staff members clarify the many decisions they make in creating or revising a course with community connections. The University of Michigan has compiled a list of key questions for instructors wishing to connect their course to community engagement. After your review, get in touch with us on how Engage Dallas can support your community engagement or service-learning course.

All SMU students have a Residential Commons membership and therefore have an avenue for direct and in-direct service via Engage Dallas. If you are interested in connecting your course, email our co-initiative managers. Some instructors have also chosen to offer a day of service in lieu of class or offer this experience as extra credit. There is no one way to connect with Engage Dallas.
Educators can help boost civic engagement among college students. Christina Cress (2014) authored Civic Engagement and Student Success: Leveraging Multiple Degrees of Achievement that outlines promising practices and action steps for institutions and educators. She concludes that civic engagement:

... has the potential to help students develop their capacities for understanding their role in complex social, economic, and political systems. While students may find the gravity of contemporary issues daunting, they can learn life-altering lessons by successfully effecting change through civic engagement. Institutions that advance civic connections as a form of engaged learning will enhance student knowledge, skills, and motivation, leading to academic and community success. (para 24)

Faculty and staff members can do much to inspire and nudge students to participate in service. Whether that be through class announcements, encouraging membership in service organizations (i.e. SMU Mustang Heroes, Engage Dallas Student Directors), offering extra credit for service, or inspiring action-based research benefiting the Dallas community.
The Engage Dallas initiative will work to engage faculty-and scholar-practitioners in the work of the initiative via a engagement stipend or funded research grants. Faculty engagement grants will be awarded up to $5,000 per campus member. The engagement grants will be marketed with specific position expectations. For instance, faculty may be recruited to help curate place-based community engagement resources from a faculty perspective. In the end, campus members who apply for these marketed engagement grants will work to strengthen the academic connection to the initiative and larger Residential Commons program. Apply for grants via Residence Life & Student Housing's instructions for their research team.
#1Day4Dallas, the Residential Commons (RC) Fall Service Day, is an annual tradition grounded in service to address each RC's community need. Students from all Residential Commons are encouraged to volunteer with their neighbors at a community organization. As a member of the SMU community, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate. Sign-up to serve via the Residential Commons SMU Connect page in September each year.
Alternative Breaks (AB) at SMU invites you to make a positive impact in communities across the nation by engaging in quality service, facilitating learning about important social issues, and inspiring reflection on what SMU students can do to create positive social change. Each academic year, we seek faculty and staff to serve as AB advisors. Engage Dallas works with each Residential Commons to recruit an AB team to address their community need via this high-impact practice format. Interested faculty and staff can express interest to the Office of Social Change & Intercultural Engagement.
A collaboration between the Office of Social Change & Intercultural Engagement and Residence Life & Student Housing, Engage Dallas' annual One Night for Dallas Reception, in April, honors the achievement of SMU students and community partners through the year. This dinner serves as a celebration and serves to generate excitement and dedication for the work left to do. As staff and faculty members, we invite you join us to learn more about Engage Dallas and the work for the initiative. Contact the Office of Social Change & Intercultural Engagement to RSVP.
Are you passionate about service? So are we. Share your time and talents with the Engage Dallas team. We are always open to expand our capacity with new members on our advisory board. Interested faculty and staff should express interest to the Engage Dallas Initiative Manger. New members are expected to serve for two years.