Vision and Mission


The Shaw Center aspires to be a national leader in engaged learning by instilling core competencies as an essential component of the Syracuse University experience.


The Shaw Center engages students, faculty, staff and community in the high impact practice of experiential learning through community engagement to enhance the academic experience, foster reciprocal campus-community partnerships, and ensure institutional efficiencies and effectiveness.

Core Activities

  1. Enhance the student experience by supporting coordination of integrated learning outcomes through leadership opportunities, community engagement, center initiatives, literacy programs, and consultation.
  2. Enhance student learning through the high impact practice of academic engagement in which students apply knowledge, skills and values in diverse community settings that address global issues and complex societal problems.
  3. Foster reciprocal and generative community partnerships for intercultural and ethical learning that collaboratively address community identified needs and meet institutionally defined goals.
  4. Promote a culture of innovation and discovery through real-world engagement that addresses unscripted, complex community issues and stakeholder expectations.
  5. Support interdisciplinary collaboration with community partners for faculty research and creative activity that address emerging opportunities and societal needs.

Four Pillars

  • Leadership:  The Shaw Center Leadership Intern Program is a community-based experiential learning opportunity for undergraduate students, to help them develop leadership skills. They participate in challenging assignments designed around real-world problem solving that requires a high level of critical thinking. Working in partnership with our professional staff, Shaw Center Leadership Interns have the opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate center programs and initiatives.
  • Literacy:  The Shaw Center’s Literacy Initiatives, launched in 1997, with the SU Literacy Corps, provide Syracuse University students opportunities to academically engage with the Syracuse community through multiple schools and nonprofit organizations. The SU Literacy Corps (SULC), SU’s America Reads program, is the foundation of the Shaw Center’s Literacy Initiatives, sending more than 300 SU tutors into the community each year to provide nearly 40,000 hours of rich literacy support in various classrooms and after-school program settings.
  • Community Engagement:  Through its Community Engagement Program, the Shaw Center provides guidance and support on high impact practices for Syracuse University faculty as they develop their service-learning. While developing projects, courses, and student placements, the Shaw Center works with our community partners to facilitate placements that meet their needs. In an average academic year, service-learning students commit an estimated 20,000 hours toward community-based projects.
  • Consultation:  Since the Shaw Center is at the nexus of academic and community life, we can tap into a wellspring of experiential knowledge. Drawing upon archives of both students’ and instructors’ notation and myriad assessments, we are an evolving “laboratory” of what works and what does not work in learning. Accordingly, we welcome inquiries from faculty as well as community organizations who seek expert guidance on courses, programs, risk/liability, or training.