Special Courses, Programs & Events

In addition to the Center's year-round programming, CCE also sponsors or co-sponsors a wide variety of variety of special courses, programs and events with partners throughout the University.


The Center works with Northwestern faculty to develop or support classes with service components. Please consult Northwestern's Caesar course catalog for the most up-to-date information and availability.

  • SESP 351-0 Learning Philanthropy
    Northwestern's School of Education & Social Policy, with support from CCE, offers a unique course on the study and practice of philanthropic giving. Learning Philanthropy examines the role of philanthropy in the United States by studying its history, social meanings, motivations, and effects. For more information and to apply for this course, visit www.engage.northwestern.edu/philanthropy.
  • HISTORY 399-0 Museum Exhibitions and Public Memory: Americans and the Holocaust
    Working with the Center for Civic Engagement, Professor Daniel Greene of the History Department is leading this two quarter-long workshop for undergraduates on developing an exhibit for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, where he is a Guest Exhibition Curator. For more information, visit www.engage.northwestern.edu/museumproject.
  • WRITING 303-0-21 The Art of Nonfiction: Exploring Writing for Social Change
    In partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement, the Center for the Writing Arts offers a course titled "The Art of Nonfiction: Exploring Writing for Social Change." This course is intended especially for students with recent experience in service and community engagement. For more information on this course, visit www.engage.northwestern.edu/writing.
  • INTL_ST 390-0-20: Humanitarian Responses to Disaster
    International Studies, with the support of CCE, offers a course on humanitarian responses to disaster. Developed in response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the course introduces students to the theories, frameworks and strategies of humanitarian relief efforts. Students gain an understanding of events such as earthquakes and tsunamis and learn about major facilitators and barriers to effect responses including psychological, social and behavioral consequences of catastrophe, global health concerns, vulnerable populations, refugees and resettlement, humanitarian intervention, human rights and the role of the media. The course includes guest lectures from area experts and students working in teams to investigate specific disasters and responses.
  • SESP 202-0: Introduction to Community Development
    This course, taught by John Kretzmann, CCE's Community Liaison, covers historical and contemporary community building efforts, focusing on Chicago's neighborhoods. Community development strategies: the settlement house, community organizing, and community economic development.
  • SESP 351-0-20: Introduction to Faith & Service Learning
    In fall 2009, CCE partnered with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) to facilitate their sixth annual conference on Interfaith Youth Work. Hundreds of students and young leaders from around the world gathered on Northwestern’s Evanston campus to explore the connections between diverse faiths and the role religion often plays in service work. The conversation continued in a course developed out of the conversations that took place during the conference. The initial offering was team taught by Tim Stevens, Northwestern’s University Chaplain, Jody Kretzmann, Research Associate Professor in the School of Education & Social Policy, and Eboo Patel, Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core. Introduction to Faith and Service continues to be a tremendous opportunity to learn from and with leading experts about how faith informs service across many different religious traditions here in the U.S. and throughout the world.


From group discussions to film screenings, CCE collaborates with various departments to organize thought-provoking events on Northwestern's campus. Peruse the Center's news & events for more information about past and upcoming events.

  • Coffee with Eight Strangers
    To help promote dialogue on campus, the Center periodically hosts "Coffees with 8 Strangers," in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gather informally to discuss service, citizenship and other related topics.
  • Gregg Kindle Distinguished Lecture on Community
    For the past two years, CCE has worked with Northwestern's Office of Residential Life to help sponsor the Gregg Kindle Distinguished Lecture on Community, which brings a top leader on community issues to campus each academic year. In 2009-10 the lecture featured Paul Rogat Loeb, author of several award-winning books on civic engagement. And in 2010-11 the program featured Dr. Harry Boyte of the Center for Democracy Leadership.
  • The Interrupters Screening
    The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. From acclaimed director Steve James and best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz, "The Interrupters" captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities. The screening was sponsored by the Center for Writing Arts and co-sponsored by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Center for Civic Engagement, and Medill School of Journalism. A discussion with Alex Kotlowitz and a representative of the featured community organization, CeaseFire, followed the film.
  • Lunch Line Screening
    Lunch Line focuses on the national school lunch program by exploring its past, its current challenges, and its opportunities for the future. Leaders are interviewed from all sides of the issue, including government officials, school food service experts, activists, and students, including 6 culinary students from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunch - and end up at the White House. The screening of this film was organized by the Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Evanston Public Library and also the following departments at Northwestern: Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, American Studies, Radio, Television and Film, SESP, Environmental Policy and Culture, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Institute for Policy Research.
  • Girls on the Wall Screening
    CCE hosted a free screening of Girls on the Wall, a documentary that examines the impact artistic expression has on a group of teenage girls at a juvenile detention center just west of Chicago. In the film, the girls get a shot at redemption in a most unlikely form: a musical based on their lives. As they write and stage their play, the girls must re-live their crimes, reclaim their humanity, and take a first step toward breaking free of the prison system. The viewing was followed by a Q&A with Meade Palidofsky and Nancy McCarthy, directors of Storycatchers Theater, the theater group featured in the film. Several students participated in a service trip to the detention center with Storycatchers Theater, organized by Maude Hickey, associate professor in the Bienen School of Music.