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Project Public Service

Project Public Service took place in September 2003-2007 with a Congressionally-authorized grant administered through the US Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Project Public Service was designed to advance the mission of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, which is to inspire and prepare students to be public service-minded leaders who impact public policy for the common good. The Project included several individual research projects by USF faculty members.

Required Federal Disclosures: Project Public Service was funded with $993,500 in federal funds. There was also an administrative overhead ("F&A") contribution of $348,430 from the University of San Francisco. Thus federal funds accounted for 74% and nongovernmental sources account for 26% of the overall project funding.


  1. Inspire and equip students to enter public service and impact public policy, with fundamental concern for and understanding of underserved and disenfranchised persons and communities.
  2. Conduct projects that will have impact, that will be innovative and that can be replicated elsewhere, towards the advancement of the civic education, both academic and practical, of university students.
  3. Capitalize on USF's unique strengths, including a 400-year Jesuit tradition of service and training "men and women for others;" an engaged faculty; an extraordinarily diverse student body; a complex and sophisticated urban setting; a Service Learning requirement for all postsecondary students; a Law School and Business School with strong clinical and service emphases; and a partnership with the California Dispute Resolution Institute.

Project Public Service consisted of the following individual research projects:

  1. Public Service Leadership Recruitment Program
  2. Citizenship Development Research Project
  3. Political Ethics Course Development
  4. Public Service Resource Bank
  5. Globalization Ethics Project
  6. Medley of Events on Public Service
  7. Conflict Resolution Compendium
  8. Service Learning Conference Attendance, Syllabus and Site Development
  9. McCarthy Public Service Research Fellowships
  10. Homelessness Community Partnership
  11. Community Connections: Bridging the Digital Divide
  12. Asian American Civic Engagement Project
  13. PICO Project
  1. Public Service Leadership Recruitment Program: Focused recruitment program targeting outstanding students who exhibit an interest in public service to encourage application to and enrollment at USF and subsequent participation in McCarthy Center programs.

    Project Leader: McCarthy Center Staff

  2. Citizenship Development Research Project: This Project conducted formal academic research, in collaboration with a research team in the New York City area, to study and understand how university students develop knowledge about, interest in, and become involved in active citizenship.

    Project Leader: Professor David Marcotte, SJ, Department of Psychology

  3. Political Ethics Course Development: The purpose of this project was to prepare an undergraduate course in political ethics, based upon cases that represent standard ethical problems that can be encountered in public life. A team of four faculty members representing the Departments of Politics and Philosophy designed the course and collected case studies and secondary materials.

    Project Leaders: Professors Al Jonsen, Fromm Institute, Brian Weiner, Department of Politics; Ron Sundstrom, Department of Philosophy

  4. Public Service Resource Bank: The purpose of this project was to catalogue and disseminate important public policy resources for postsecondary students. A Public Policy Research Guide was developed in collaboration with the USF Gleeson Library

    Project Leader: McCarthy Center Staff

  5. Globalization Ethics Project: This project produced a paper presenting a framework of the ethical principles evident in the mission statements of major international financing institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO. It then examined those principles relative to the actions of these organizations in a select number of case studies.

    Project Leader: Professor Les Myers, School of Business and Management

  6. Medley of Events on Public Service: The McCarthy Center sponsored events for the USF community and the public at large on important, topical issues relating to public policy and public service. 

    Project Leader: McCarthy Center Staff

  7. Conflict Resolution Compendium: This project compiled a comprehensive compendium of the theories, methodologies and practices, and the experienced efficacies thereof, of major approaches to inter-group conflict resolution. The resulting document serves as a baseline primer for inquirers and practitioners alike, a significant contribution to the field of conflict resolution, as nothing such as this currently exists.

    Project Leader: Fairuz Abdullah, California Dispute Resolution Institute (CDRI)

  8. Service Learning Conference Attendance, Syllabus and Site Development: The University's Office of Service Learning is a core component of the Center. This project module consisted of facilitating the development of syllabi that incorporate service learning elements and the development of actual service learning sites; attendance by faculty members at important service learning conferences also was also enabled.

    Project Leader: Julie Reed, Director of Office of Service Learning

  9. McCarthy Public Service Research Fellowships: The Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good (the Center) awarded $109,582 in fellowships to USF faculty for research that inspires and equips USF students to engage in public service and impact public policy with fundamental concern for poor and marginalized communities.
  10. Partnership on the Homeless in San Francisco: The McCarthy Center, with the St. Anthony Foundation and Homebase, formed the Partnership for Promoting Real Solutions to Homelessness. The goal of the Partnership was to build support for implementing practical policy responses to the problem of homelessness in San Francisco. The Partnership hosted briefings and presentations in an effort to form coalitions of support.
  11. Community Connections: Bridging the Digital Divide: We established a project known as Community Connections in the USF Computer Science (CS) department, with the goal of fostering a service learning culture within the USF CS department. There were three major results to date from this project:
    • We established a Service Learning course (CS 480), offered every Spring semester, in which CS students work with local nonprofits to assist them with technology and IT support.
    • We had a group of approximately 20 students provide ongoing technical support and assistance to several Bay Area nonprofits, including Network Ministries, Breakthrough Collaborative, and
    • We took nine USF students to Tacna, Peru, where we installed and networked approximately 100 donated computers in two local schools. This was part of an ongoing effort to provide computers to poor schools in Latin America. We currently have two students following up by spending 3 weeks in Tacna, working with the teachers to help them incorporate computing technology into their classes.
      Photo Gallery: March 2004

    Project Leaders: Professors Chris Brooks and David Wolber, Computer Science Department

  12. Asian American Civic Engagement Project (AACEP): Although there is a large Asian American population in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the University, Asian Americans are under-represented in the formal processes of governance. This project attempted to encourage and stimulate increased participation and involvement of Asian Americans in public life and service, including public forums, visiting scholars, and funding for student internships.

    Bridge Scholars: For the spring semester of 2005, AACEP welcomed Community Bridge Scholar Jay Mendoza, Executive Director of FOCUS to USF who performed presentations and lectures, interacted with students and faculty, created joint activities between USF and the community, and developed educational materials related to civic commitment and campus-community relations.

    Student Internships: AACEP provided funding to students to support summer internships at San Francisco Bay Area Asian-American public or nonprofit organizations.

    Project Leader: Professors Jay Gonzalez, Politics Department and David Kim, Philosophy Department

  13. PICO Project: The Pacific Institute for Community Organizing ("PICO") is the leading organization in empowering marginalized communities to engage in formal processes of public policy and program change. It has over 350 affiliates in California and scores of others elsewhere. The PICO Project will produce a vernacular description of the PICO model of organizing and empowerment for widespread use, complete with a series of oral histories of some of its principals.

    Project Leader: Robert Blair Kaiser, McCarthy Center Visiting Scholar, 2003-04.

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