FAQs for Faculty

The Sage Project focuses several courses per term for one or two academic years from across the University on projects that assist our partner city with addressing their quality of life and sustainability goals. By connecting a group of courses enrolling hundreds of students with high-priority, high-need city projects, the Sage Project provides students the experience working on real-world projects with fresh ideas that create momentum and provide real service to the community.

This program is for faculty including adjunct faculty and lecturers who:

  • teach an existing upper-division undergraduate or graduate course with an applied learning or service learning component
  • would like to incorporate a real-world project from our partner city
  • would like to assist a community by incorporating and analyzing city data

Impact—on our community and students—is the reason we are piloting this program and focusing on one community for an academic year. By focusing your existing course on a city-identified project, you link your students to a larger effort with a visible impact in our partner city.

We recognize that many faculty are already engaged in high impact practices, including service learning activities, that promote student success. The Sage Project seeks not to replace but rather enhance these activities by connecting individual courses to a city-wide initiative and creating critical mass of service and interest that will have a dramatic impact in the community.

Little or no additional time is required to participate. You do not need to have a lot of free time to create a new activity. In fact, we will do much of the setup work for you. We recognize that faculty have many demands on their time and our goal is to minimize or eliminate this barrier by connecting with existing courses and providing support before, during and after your course. While there may be a small upfront time investment to set up the learning activity, the Sage Project provides support that will save most faculty time and effort over the term.

The Sage Project benefits faculty by matching courses with engaging real-world projects from our partner city and providing the support, information, and infrastructure to make the project a drop-in for your existing course.

  • Staff support. We provide assistance for your service or applied learning activity.
  • Faculty may apply for up to $1000 to support course activities. Funds can be used for materials and resources, student travel, to bring in a guest speaker, or other approved uses.
  • Publicity. The Sage Project works with campus and local media to share your course successes and ensure you receive recognition for the good work you and your students are doing in the community.
  • Interesting, meaningful work for students. Which is more likely to engage your students—the same hypothetical data set for your Statistics course OR data from a local community that could be used to develop solutions to real-world problems?

The benefits for students include:

  • Enhanced learning experience from engaging with a real-world project
  • Skills and experience that students can list on resumes
  • A personal connection with a local community through course-based service

The Sage Project staff will assist you in identifying a project, connecting with community partners, gathering information or data sets, accessing city resources, setting up learning activities—all the components to make your course activity successful. Participating should require little or no additional time.

  • Sage Project staff will facilitate contacts with city and community partners. We work with you and city staff to develop the initial concept into a project that is appropriate for your course and learning outcomes. We will assist with data and information gathering and ensure that you have what you need for your project before the term begins.
  • In addition, Sage Project staff will communicate with city staff throughout the project to maintain collaborative relationship and provide technical assistance. We will communicate project successes to campus and local media, and present project findings to the city and stakeholders as needed.
  • Finally, if certain cases, Sage Project staff will work with a paid student from your course to develop a report which serves as the final deliverable to you and the city.

As a faculty participant we ask that you:

  • Incorporate at least one activity that focuses on a city-identified project where students present their work on the project to city staff.
  • Assist the Sage Project with identifying a high achieving student with whom they can contract and coordinate to create the summary report.
  • Facilitate the transfer of materials to the report writer.
  • Review a draft of the report during the term following the project and provide feedback on the draft. The Sage Project and the student writer are ultimately responsible for generating the final report.
The final deliverable to the city for each of these projects will be a summary report of the best designs, solutions, and products generated by your class. The Sage Project staff will contract with a student in the course to write the report, outside of class, generally in the term following the project activity. Reports will be posted on the Sage Project website and faculty will receive a hard copy.
No, your expertise can help our partner meet their sustainability goals whether or not you have a background in sustainability or explicit course focus on sustainability. For instance, a course project that provides recommendations that could lead to financial savings, staff efficiencies, or increase citizen access to city services all support the Sage Project goal of contributing to quality of life and the sustainability of our partner communities.
While the Sage Project focuses on simply directing activities that are a part of existing courses to a community, faculty may apply through the Service Learning and Community Engagement Program to develop and offer a new service learning course connected with the program.
  1. Let us know you are interested! Contact the Sage Project Director Jessica Barlow at [email protected] or 619-594-3807 to find out more or to share your ideas.
  2. Check out the list of projects identified by our city partner to connect with your course.
  3. Meet with Sage Project staff to link with community partners and develop your course project.