Service-Learning & Community Engagement
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Various photographs of engaged practicioners

Community Engaged Scholar-Practitioner Network (CESPN)


2023 CESPN Conference

CESPN Conference attendeesHope Rising:  Building Research, Scholarship, and Practice in a Catholic Context

Saturday, February 4, 2023

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (EST)
The Capital Hilton Hotel | Washington, DC (immediately before the 2023 Annual Meeting)

In these times, hope can alter the ways we approach our work and the communities with whom we partner.  Join service-learning community engagement colleagues from Catholic colleges and universities as we network, share promising practices, and build a research agenda based on the hope Catholic institutions have to offer community engagement scholarship. 

Through our continued partnership with Uniservitate, ACCU supports our communities of scholar-practitioners involved in service-learning and community engagement, bringing together a network of colleagues from Catholic colleges and universities, the ACCU Community Engaged Scholar-Practioner Network (CESPN), as part of our Annual Meeting.


Uniservitate Logo

Sponsored by Uniservitate


2023 CESPN Conference Program (PDF)

Schedule At-A-Glance

8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Prayer

Recognition of the 2022 Uniservitate Award Winners:

University of St. Thomas (MN)

Christian Brothers University

Runner-Ups:  Creighton University and Carlow University

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Keynote:  An Engagement of Hope:  Building a Framework and Equity-Centered Theory of Action for Community Engagement

Drawing from the work of faith-based community organizations, this session presents an exploration into an engagement of hope, responding to the current context of higher education. The presenters will discuss the five themes that scaffold the conceptual framework including challenging unjust structures, the common good, collaborative courage, community-centered, and individual goodness. This opening session will provide attendees an opportunity to explore lines of inquiry and build scholarship and research in the Catholic context.


Patrick M. Green, Center for Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship (CELTS), and School of Education, Loyola University Chicago

Daniel J. Bergen, Office of the President, Milwaukee School of Engineering

Cynthia P. Stewart, Parkinson School of Health Science and Public Health, Loyola University Chicago

10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Table Discussions & Reflections on Keynote
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Vatican II's Gift:  Servant Leadership in Catholic Education

One of the many enduring gifts of Vatican II was its impact on service learning and community engagement vocation.  This panel will discuss the theology of service and justice brought forward in Vatican II and the urgency it continues to give us to work toward dignity, solidarity, and the common good.  It will also explore the professionalization of servant leadership through the field of social work and the call to take action toward a more just society.


Dawn Apgar, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, Seton Hall University

Anthony Nicotera, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, Seton Hall University

Ines A. Murzaku, Professor, Department of Religion, Director Catholic Studies Program, Seton Hall University

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch with Network Working Groups
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Setting the Catholic Research Agenda

Jay Brandenberger, Associate Director and Director of Assessment and Engaged Scholarship, Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame

Anthony Vinciguerra, Executive Director, Archdiocese of Miami/Port-de-Paix, Haiti, Global Solidarity Partnership; Doctoral Student, Boston College

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Network Business Meeting

Updates from Uniservitate

Maria Rosa Tapia, Uniservitate

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Wrap Up and Next Steps


Many thanks to our 2023 CESPN Conference Planning Team for their assistance in planning this year's conference!


Check out last year's conference highlights!

CESPN Conference Details & Resources


Please contact ACCU with any questions.

Additional Resources for Service-Learning and Community Engagement Practitioners

A global program for the promotion of service-learning in Catholic Higher Education.

Sustainability resources, including information on Laudato Si'.

Catholic Social Teaching resources

Photo banner images courtesy of St. Thomas University and Barry University