University of Iowa

Working with communities

Thousands of University of Iowa students take advantage of community engagement opportunities each year through the Office of Outreach and Engagement. When you take a community-engaged learning class, your professor integrates community projects into the coursework. If you're working on community-engaged research, you'll translate findings into outcomes that benefit the community where the research takes place. Community-based independent study projects are student initiated and done in connection with an advising instructor. If you're interested in holding workshops for communities, performing, or participating in outreach events, contact us at so we can help match you with a community request or need.

Community-Engaged Learning

Community engagement integrated into academic coursework is called community-engaged learning (or service learning), and is a central method students at the University of Iowa take part in community engagement. Students in these courses are able to apply the skills and course concepts learned in their studies to solve real-world problems for communities across Iowa and beyond.  Many students report working on community engagement projects are one of the most impactful experiences of their academic career. 

Your Class Project

The Office of Outreach and Engagement is here to ensure your community-engaged learning experience is successful and meaningful. If your class is working with our office on a community project, we have many tools and resources available for you to use. Check the menu to the right for links.

independent study course

Are you interested in community-engagement opportunities, but not currently involved in community-engaged learning or research? Consider taking an independent study course and work with the Office of Outreach and Engagement on a community project. Our dedicated staff are here to help you identify community partners, secure a faculty advisor, assist with project development and management, and assess your project’s outcomes and success. Please contact, 319-335-2798 to learn more. 

Student Success

Tara Cullison
"The projects really build on our skills and introduce new skills we can use that are directly applicable to our careers. Every skill I was asked to validate in a recent job interview, I learned last year or built on through my project."

Tara Cullison (MS18), Urban and Regional Planning


Resources Across Campus

The Pomerantz Career Center for Leadership and Career Advancement

Make a strong impact at job interviews by including your community engagement work (projects completed as part of a community-based learning course) on your resume and as part of the taking points you cover. Please visit a career advisor and check out additional resources available to students through the Pomerantz Career Center, or contact our office at, to learn how community engagement can positively impact your career development. 

The Obermann Center Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy

Are you a graduate student interested in learning how public engagement can enhance your teaching, research, and creative work? Consider applying to be a part of the yearly Graduate Institute at the Obermann Center. The Office of Outreach and Engagement works closely with the Obermann Center to help create an institute where graduate students can explore community engagement with a group of like-minded colleagues and mentors at the University of Iowa.


Are you part of a community-engaged course at the University of Iowa? Are you doing  great work in the community? Follow us and when you post your work on social media, be sure to  tag @OutreachIowa on Facebook and Twitter. Mention @OutreachIowa on Instagram. Not only is it great to see student work, we want to share it with a larger university and community audience. Your work is making a positive difference in Iowa and we love to share it with others!