Philadelphia, considered to be one of America’s poorest big cities, offers unique opportunities for community members, faculty, and students who are interested in the meaningful work of creating solutions to disparity and polarization. Working together to create change is rich terrain on which to build programs for research and learning. The Penn State Center Philadelphia supports an ongoing portfolio of diverse initiatives to unleash agency in our faculty and students as well as among numerous Philadelphia-based constituencies to transform their own lives and surroundings.

What We Do

Penn State Center Philadelphia creates opportunities for Penn State students, faculty, staff, and alumni to explore the complexities of urban experience in support of community-based learning, knowledge exchange, and mobilization. Through interdisciplinary approaches in research and education designed to advance the public good, we play a critical role in reimagining Penn State as a land-grant university.

While centering on Philadelphia communities and their experiences, the Center supports Penn State faculty, staff, and students through consultation, facilitation, instruction, mentorship, coordination, professional development, and more. Some of the support we offer includes:

  • working with local stakeholders to identify entry points for meaningful engaged scholarship and the co-creation of new initiatives
  • connecting faculty and staff with key leaders and organizations involved in targeted areas of work that the Center is committed to impacting
  • consulting on funding opportunities for faculty/student projects or research
  • coordinating faculty/student research symposiums
  • co-designing critical tours and progressively immersive content-specific experiences to be embedded in curriculum
  • facilitating cohort-based experiences and reflection opportunities for students
  • convening a community of practice for faculty who are interested in urban and critical methods in research, teaching, and learning

Check out our Initiatives page to learn more about our programs.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Solutions to complex, urban problems must involve interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches that blur the lines between experts/learners and researchers/researched.
  • Transformative educational experiences are at the heart of training the next generation of practitioners and scholars committed to addressing equity and inclusion.
  • Marginalized communities possess critical experience, insights, and knowledge to be harnessed in defining problems, innovating sustainable solutions, and evaluating impact.