Community Engagement Through Teaching

Our service learning and community-based teaching initiatives

International Human Rights and Theater

As part of the Grand Challenges Research grant awarded to Prof. Luis Ramos Garcia, undergraduate students have an opportunity to travel to Colombia to work with trauma victims - performers of Festival de teatro alternativo, an artistic movement that strives to bring light to social issues and progressivism in the midst of traditional, upper-class theater.

Medical Spanish and Community Health Service

Medical Spanish and Community Health Service, an advanced language and culture course, is designed to train Spanish Studies majors/minors to create materials for effective communication with and education of Spanish-speaking patients. This service-learning course, designed and taught by María Emilce López, partners students with community clinics and outreach programs where they apply academic knowledge to the work being done to serve the Chicano/Latino population. 

Migration and the Border

In Immigration on the US/Mexican Border undergraduate course, students travel to Arizona and Mexico to experience firsthand many issues that directly affect the migrant journey. They walk migrant trails, visit a detention center with people seeking political asylum, attend an immigration court, and meet with numerous migrants to hear their personal stories of why they left their countries, what their journeys were like, and what life is like in the US. As part of their final project, the students edit together interviews with these incredible organizations and activists to create a video showcasing the work to bring justice, peace, and transformation to the border and the U.S. immigration system. Watch below.

2020 Video

2019 Video

College in the Schools

The College in the Schools Spanish Program allows advanced high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit at their own high school by taking introductory-level University of Minnesota courses in a variety of subjects. We support participating high schools by offering professional development workshops for teachers, sharing curriculum, inviting students to campus for fall and spring field days, and arranging visits to high schools by graduate students under the Mears Fellowships to conduct outreach presentations.

Related story: A Taste of College


Voc/zes is a weekly podcast created by Teaching Specialists Stephanie Anderson and Elizabeth Lake, featuring interviews with metro area native speakers of Spanish and Portuguese. Through storytelling, it builds awareness of local Latinx cultures and languages, providing valuable insight into the lives of local community members. Designed for use in undergraduate courses, Voc/zes has grown into a partnership with the University’s College in the Schools program to bring the podcast and accompanying college-level coursework to regional high school instructors.