Civic Knowledge Project

The Civic Knowledge Project (CKP) is a community connections program in the Office of Civic Engagement. Founded in 2003 by former Dean of the Humanities Danielle Allen, the CKP is deeply rooted in the humanities and works in close collaboration with the Department of Philosophy.

The CKP's Mission Statement reads:
The Mission of the CKP is to develop and strengthen community connections, helping to overcome the social, economic, and racial divisions among the various knowledge communities on the South Side of Chicago. We believe that the free and reciprocal flow of knowledge is empowering. Working with our many local collaborators, we (1) Provide educational and humanities programming linking the University of Chicago to other knowledge communities surrounding it; (2) Develop institutional policy for the exchange of knowledge among different local knowledge communities; and (3) Serve as an educational and organizational resource for our community. Ultimately, our Mission is to apply, through meaningful community connections, the motto of the University of Chicago: Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched.

Through the CKP, students, faculty and staff are afforded opportunities to do meaningful work with community partners in the mid-South Side communities neighboring the University. Philosophy, like other disciplines in the Humanities, lends itself to larger forms of academic and intellectual life, including experiential and service learning, dialogical and participatory research, and project-based community engagement. The power of philosophy to foster critical thinking and inquiry makes it an ideal tool for developing rich educational programming in cooperation with local schools and community centers, fostering a type of community engagement that can also enrich the practice of academic philosophy itself. Working with the CKP, UChicago students, faculty and staff have been:

  • Researching and recording in innovative and participatory ways the rich history of Chicago’s South Side
  • Helping to learn about and support the arts and humanities in our neighboring communities
  • Working in the local public schools and community organizations with the CKP's award winning Winning Words program to foster the verbal arts of philosophical conversation and ethical reflection, and to promote the humanities generally
  • Collaborating with local community leaders and organizations to create a greener and more sustainable South Side, advancing such creative initiatives as the Timuel D. Black Edible Arts Garden, located at 5710 S. Woodlawn
  • Collaborating with the Illinois Humanities Council and the Clemente Course in the Humanities to provide a wealth of courses and other activities in the humanities for low-income adults
  • Participating in interdisciplinary educational programming that addresses key social issues--such as poverty--by connecting scholars and students from a wide and diverse range of knowledge communities both within and without the University

For more information please visit the Civic Knowledge Project, especially the Winning Words program page, or contact CKP Director Bart Schultz at, 773.834.3929. We welcome your participation! See also the new OCE Pathfinder website, which is a great resource for students seeking volunteer and internship opportunities.