2019-2020 Community Engaged Scholarship Courses: Year in Review

A Nashman Community Engaged Scholarship Course is a collaboration between faculty and student scholars and community members, in mutually beneficial partnerships that address issues of the common good. Community engagement makes student learning more relevant and challenges students to use their knowledge and skills to address real and complex community concerns. These courses promote academic and civic learning.   

Number of Community Engaged Scholarship Courses: 72

Reported Hours

Reported Hours of Student Service from Courses: 19,697


“To say this is fulfilling work is an understatement."
- Dr. Maranda Ward, Clinical Research and Leadership


Project Pathways

The Nashman Center examines student engagement with the community through the lens of the Pathways of Public Service model. Most course-based community engagement fits the “Community Engaged Learning and Research” pathway, through which students use the academic skills related to a course or major to help partner organizations meet their goals.

Project percentage


Example Projects


  • In Dr. Imani M. Cheers’ SMPA 4180 Online Journalism Workshop course, Shayna Greene created a 4-minute profile video about Leslie Bryant, “who provides a safe space with her barbershop and promotes local artists by hosting events and displaying their work in her shop. She also provided free haircuts at a DC school last year, and at an event in at the Hirshhorn Museum.” 


  • In Dr. Sean Cleary’s PUBH 6299 The Autism Experience: A Public Health Perspective course, Nita Baliga and Abrahan Kwan worked on-site with a local service provider for people with autism. They also participated in on-going conversations with community members who are autistic, who were invited to join their PUBH 6299 classroom on several occasions. From these experiences, Baliga and Kwan decided to create a Guide for Communication Between Healthcare Providers and Non-speaking Autistic Adults.


  • In Dr. Michele Kelso’s HSSJ 3100W Program Planning and Evaluation course, students worked with local organizations like DC Central Kitchen and the National Wildlife Federation to design and implement a program evaluation study. Students gathered, analyzed and reported data from surveys, interviews, or focus groups and created both written reports and presentations for organization staff.


  • In David Lee’s BME 4925W Biomedical Engineering Capstone course, one student team partnered with Quality of Life Plus, who connected them to a local veteran who needed a unique prosthetic design to enable him to hike. The students worked the full academic year to build and test a prototype with their community partner. One student commented, “It has been a challenging, yet rewarding year and I am very thankful for the opportunity that this organization has given me and my teammates.”


  • In Maia Sheppard’s CPED 6354 Professional Internship in Secondary Education course, one student team worked with 826DC’s summer writing program for local children. The children wrote pieces on the theme of “home” and the GW students supported their writing process with field trips relating to art, botanical gardens, thrift stores (to discuss sustainability), and other locations in their home community.

“Engaged scholarship experiences help make classroom experiences come alive. It makes the academic work better, and the academic work makes their involvement in the community stronger.” – Dr. Greg Squires, Sociology


Community Partners with GW Courses


Heat Map is based on hours of service reported for community engaged scholarship courses.


Heat Map



Top 10 Community Partners Organizations

(Partnered with the most courses)

  • DC Central Kitchen

  • Martha’s Table

  • Latino Student Fund

  • FoodPrints at Francis Stevens

  • Little Friends for Peace

  • So Others Might Eat (SOME)

  • Food and Friends

  • Charlie’s Place

  • Thrive DC


“I learned that I have the ability to make real change in my local area, especially about the issues we've discussed/learned about in class.”


The 2020-2021 Community Engaged Scholarship Course Survey

Students surveyed were engaged in at least one community engaged scholarship course at GW through this academic year. The survey gathers students’ perceptions of their own learning on the Nashman Center Student Learning Outcomes, and explores the benefits and challenges of these courses. 67 students completed the survey.

Student Learning Outcomes


Because of this course…

Strongly Agree or Agree

I have a deeper understanding of the role I can play in addressing social problems


I have a better ability to understand the perspectives of people who are different from me


I have improved my ability to collaborate effectively with people who are different from me


I am better able to apply broad academic and professional competencies like critical thinking, problem solving, or communication/writing



Concern: Challenge of Travel to Service Site

In the 2018-2019 survey, some students reported that travel to site presented a challenge. The 2019-2020 student survey sought more information on this issue.


Strongly Agree or Agree

The time involved with traveling to site was a significant difficulty for me


The cost involved with traveling to site was a significant difficulty for me


Traveling to site was a beneficial aspect of the service experience


How students traveled to their community site:

Metro train


Metro bus


Walked or biked


My service did not involve on-site work


Rideshare (Uber/Lyft)





Impact of COVID-19 in Spring of 2020

In March, 2020 the GW campus was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The student survey asked students to indicate how completing spring semester courses from a distance impacted their course-related service projects.


To what extent did the campus closure re COVID-19 affect your community engagement experience?

Very little - my service was complete before campus closure


Very little - my service project was indirect or conducted from a distance anyway


Moderately affected


A large extent – continuing the project presented great difficulty


A large extent – the project was abandoned



Responding to COVID-19

Spring semester, 75 course-related GWServes Impact Reports indicated the project was a response to community needs because of COVID-19, for a total of over 700 hours. Projects included: mask making, tutoring (k-12 students also experiencing distance learning), and food donations/deliveries in students’ home communities.

“While it takes a lot of upfront work to set up community partnerships, there is nothing compared to it”
– Dr. Erin Wentzell, Physical Therapy