Notre Dame graduate students lead “Teaching in the Community” workshop

Author: Paul Horn

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Two University of Notre Dame graduate students recently led a workshop titled “Meaningful Teaching Experiences: Partnering with the Community” to encourage graduate students interested in teaching and getting involved in the larger South Bend community to participate in volunteer teaching at South Bend’s Center for the Homeless (CFH).

Carrie Miller, who studies chemistry, and Laura Kinnaman, who studies physics, led the workshop, which was sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, and the CFH. It was designed to further develop a culture of volunteer teaching by Notre Dame graduate students.

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“I encourage others to volunteer because the University of Notre Dame does not exist in isolation — when we enrich those around us, we enrich ourselves,” Miller said. “Fostering a culture of volunteerism to help the homeless in South Bend is a legacy that will endure after we move on to our post-graduate careers, and I want everyone to have a part in that legacy.”

Held last month, the workshop featured a video of interviews with students at the CFH, created by Miller and Kinnaman. Following the video, Miller addressed the overall design of the math course that they teach at the center and discussed some of the activities they created. Andrea Nemeth from the CFH also was available to answer specific questions about the adult education programs.

As one participant noted, “I was pleased to know of this opportunity to teach outside of the typical academic environment, the unique challenges it presents for instructors and the good it does for the community.”

Complete details about the workshop are available online at or by contacting the Kaneb Center at

The John A. Kaneb Center, founded in 1995, stimulates reflection about—and advocates for the enhancement of—practices, policies, and structures related to teaching and learning.

The Center for Social Concerns, founded in 1983, is the service and community-based learning center of the University of Notre Dame. The CSC provides educational experiences in social concerns inspired by Gospel values and Catholic social tradition.