Community Engagement Fellowship

street in Pittsburgh with Cathedral of Learning in the background

The Community Engagement Fellowship program is a community-based cohort program designed to foster experiential and integrative learning in affiliated community organizations.  Students will be matched to complete their MSW Field Practicum with community agencies in the Pittsburgh region that focus on service to minority communities. Students will gain a deeper understanding of community engagement and development skills that advance the goals and mission of the organization while also developing leadership skills. 

Application Process

For the 2019/2020 academic year applications will be accepted through July 31st.  A committee will review each applicant’s submitted materials and will recommend applicants for an interview.  Those students who were selected for an interview will be contacted for an in-person, phone, or skype interview with the committee.  After the interviews, the committee will deliberate and select the finalists.  Acceptance notifications will be sent by email no later than August 23rd. Approximately 8 students will be selected for each academic year.  Applications received after the deadline will placed on a waiting list for review, students can expect to have a reply within 30 days of submission.

Application Requirements

Students can find the application online.   

Applications requirements include: 

  1. Updated resume
  2. Statement of interest (writing sample)
    1. Please answer these questions: Why is community engagement an important component to Social Work education? Why are you interested in learning more about community engagement?
  3. Unofficial transcript
  4. Letter of reference (can be professional or academic).

Program Learning Objectives

Community Engagement Students will participate in a monthly interdisciplinary seminar meeting where they will join their peers to report on their progress, receive instruction, and learn more from local leaders in community engagement. Students will also participate in a guest speaker dinner each term. There will be a final presentation at the end of the year to community partners and Pitt faculty and students showcasing the work that students have completed at their Field Practicum sites. 

Participants will gain exposure and build skills in the following areas:

  • How to effectively outreach to improve community engagement
  • Working with elected officials
  • Building trust in communities to establish strong group and intergroup relations
  • Community Needs Assessments
  • Supporting community/organizational agendas through various local, state, federal and institutional resources
  • Professional organization leadership skills
  • Professional presentation skills

Methods of Instruction

The objectives of this training fellowship will be met through field practicum, cohort meetings, and community meetings.

Participation commitment

Ongoing participation is critical to the success of this training program.   It is estimated that students will spend approximately 5-8 hours per week on activities and meetings related to this training program.   Students are required to attend a monthly seminar (meeting) with their peers Attendance at these seminars is mandatory and will count towards students total field practicum hours.

Students will receive a training fellowship for their participation in the Community Engagement Fellowship. Generalist students will receive $4,000 and Specialized Practice students will receive $6,000.

The cohort month meetings will explore the following topics

  1. How to effectively and respectfully engage within the Hill District & Homewood
  2. Community engagement strategies
  3. Working with elected officials
  4. History of community organizing efforts in the Homewood Community
  5.  History of community organizing efforts in the Hill Community
  6. Community Needs Assessments

Field Placement Agencies

Students will be placed at affiliated agencies within the Pittsburgh area that focus on service and engagement with minority communities. There will be one student placed at each University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center.


Program Administrator: Alicia Melnick