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Go beyond the classroom to connect students with communities through teaching, research, and leadership.

EARTHSYS Cardinal Course

Participate in a university-wide effort to make public service an essential feature of a Stanford education! Cardinal Service supports faculty and instructors like you to engage students by integrating meaningful, community engaged learning into coursework.

Through teaching Cardinal Courses, faculty and instructors can apply their academic scholarship and expertise to meaningful, public service opportunities in the field. Collaborate with students to address some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges across the globe.

What is a Cardinal Course?

One of four main components of Cardinal Service, Cardinal Courses engage students in projects and partnerships in the community that address social or environmental challenges. Though projects and partnerships vary, all Cardinal Courses:

  • Engage with a community to address a social problem or societal need
  • Integrate course objectives and community-based experiences
  • Produce reciprocal benefits for students, faculty, and community partners
  • Provide opportunities to critically examine public issues
  • Embody Stanford's Principles of Ethical and Effective Service

Cardinal Courses may feature service as an integral component of the academic course experience, focus on public service as subject matter, or offer preparation for public service internships or fieldwork. Other courses allow students already engaged in service to enhance the effectiveness of their work.

They may be small, intensive seminars or larger lecture courses with community engagement related discussion sections and experiences. Service elements range from include hands-on activities at partner locations to class projects that benefit a large community.

Grants are available to help cover costs associated with Cardinal Courses.

Meet some of the faculty and students involved in Cardinal Courses at Stanford.

EARTHSYS Cardinal Course

CEE 126: International Urbanization Seminar: Cross-Cultural Collaboration for Sustainable Urban Development (EARTHSYS 138, IPS 274, URBANST 145)

Deland Chan, Kevin Hsu
This course features a comparative approach to sustainable cities with focus on international practices and applicability to China. Topics covered are trade-offs regarding land use, infrastructure, energy and water, and the need to balance economic vitality, environmental quality, cultural heritage, and social equity. 

Mechanical Engineering course

ME 170A/B: Mechanical Engineering Design- Integrating Context with Engineering

Jeff Wood, Sheri Sheppard, Drew Nelson
In this two-quarter capstone sequence, seniors in Mechanical Engineering work in  teams to design and develop engineering systems addressing real-world problems in collaboration with community partners. Projects are based on themes addressing the most pressing needs of human society.

Dance in Prison course

DANCE 197: Dance in Prison: The Arts, Juvenile Justice, and Rehabilitation in America (TAPS 20N)

Janice Ross
In this participatory seminar, students find the nexus of art, community, and social action. Using dance, they study how the performing arts affect self-construction, perception and experiences of embodiment, and social control for incarcerated teenagers in Santa Clara Juvenile Hall.

Ready to get started?

Contact a Director of Community Engaged Learning in your field.

Already participating?

Browse our Resource Library for tools and support.

Want to learn more?

Sign up for our quarterly Cardinal Courses Newsletter.

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