Presidential Engagement and Partnerships Professor of Sociology Keri Burchfield and her students connect at-risk youth and shelter dogs through the Lifetime Bonds training program.

Community Engagement at NIU

What is Community Engagement?

Community engagement is an intentional collaboration between partners who unite their expertise and resources in a shared vision for the public good. Community engagement is nurtured in a spirit of mutual benefit, reciprocity and shared leadership. It enriches scholarship, research, and artistry. It enhances teaching and learning, addresses critical societal issues and strengthens democratic values. Community engagement takes place here at home and within our global community.

Why Engage?

At NIU, we know that we are better together. As a public university, we have a responsibility to serve the public good. But engagement is not just a responsibility – it is also an opportunity. An opportunity to help our students put their education into action. To prepare them to become global leaders by engaging with real-world problems. To help them build communities across differences and build meaningful careers. In short, engagement is an opportunity to transform the world one partnership at a time.

How Can OERD Support Engagement

Community engagement is already happening in every corner of NIU. We’re here to help you make your community engagement even stronger and more enduring. We’re ready to connect you with others who share your commitment and to provide the infrastructure needed to make a lasting difference. We hope you’ll join us to engage even better!


Get Involved

Support community engagement in the community or in the classroom.

Find Support

Our Engagement Toolkit has resources for faculty, staff and students.

Carnegie Classification

We're a Community Engaged University.

Centering Engagement

Join us to drive impact through engagement at NIU.

At Northern Illinois University, we believe community engagement...

  • facilitates collaboration, in which all partners contribute, and all partners benefit.
  • unites the expertise and resources of the university and community.
  • allow partners to pursue a shared vision for public good.
  • enriches scholarship, research and artistry.
  • enhances teaching and learning.
  • addresses critical societal issues.
  • strengthens democratic values.

Contact Us

Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
307 Lowden Hall

Contact Us

Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
307 Lowden Hall
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