ABCS Course Development Grants

Application deadline: Monday, April 15th, 2024

The Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships announces ABCS Course Development Grants to create Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses that integrate research, teaching, learning and service. ABCS students and faculty work with public schools, communities of faith, and community organizations in West Philadelphia/Philadelphia to help solve critical campus and community problems in a variety of areas such as the environment, health, arts, and education. ABCS courses are a form of community-engaged scholarship. Over 250 ABCS courses have been created and taught over time, and 80-90 undergraduate and graduate ABCS courses are offered each year. Click here to see a list of the current ABCS courses.

Funded by the Netter Center, ABCS Course Development Grants are designed to assist faculty with developing new or substantially restructured undergraduate and graduate courses.  The grant intends to fund course supplies and/or time spent on course development. This may include funds for graduate and undergraduate students and/or a summer salary for course development time. (Please note that the amount you request for this is inclusive of employee benefits. Calculate the cost of employee benefits here.) Grants provide up to $10,000 to be spent over two years. 

The Netter Center also provides a set of ongoing resources to all ABCS courses. These include teaching assistants, transportation to sites, background checks for students as necessary,  and support with developing community partnerships. Grantees would have access to these in addition to receiving the course development grant funding. Proposals should not request funding for food or for resources already provided. Please review the full list of resources available to all ABCS courses here

Proposed ABCS courses should be intended to be taught on an ongoing basis.

We ask that all instructors who receive course development grants: 

  • Add the term “Academically Based Community Service (ABCS)” to their course descriptions on Courses@Penn as well as add the “ABCS Courses” Course Attribute to their course via Curriculum Manager. 
  • Attend the annual Academically Based Community Service Summit at the end of April. 
  • Request that their students complete the end-of-semester ABCS survey distributed by the Netter Center Evaluation Team. 
  • Submit a brief report on successes, challenges, and reflections, due at completion of the grant period.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Academic excellence
  • Integration of research, teaching and service
  • Democratic partnership with schools, community groups, service agencies, etc.
  • Focus on Philadelphia, especially West Philadelphia
  • Evidence as to how the course will engage undergraduate and/or graduate students in local real-world problem-solving activities
  • Potential for sustainability

Please format proposals as follows:

  • Cover page
    • Name, title, department, school, mailing address, proposed semester of the first course
    • Title of the proposal
    • Total amount of funding requested
    • 100-word abstract of the proposal (include a description of how the course will involve collaboration with the community and benefit the community)
  • A one-page biographical sketch of applicant
  • A two-to-four-page proposal
  • Budget detailing how you intend to use the requested funding 

The Netter Center would be pleased to provide feedback on draft proposals before final submission. Final proposals for grants should be submitted by April 15, 2024. Please direct questions, drafts, and final submissions to

—Dennis DeTurck
Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor
Professor of Mathematics
University of Pennsylvania
Netter Center Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair
Provost's Senior Faculty Fellow at the Netter Center

—Matthew Hartley
Deputy Dean, Professor and Board of Advisors Chair of Education
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
Netter Center Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair

—Terri H. Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN
Professor Emerita, School of Nursing
Researcher, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Netter Center Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair

—Loretta Flanagan-Cato
Associate Professor, Psychology
Co-director, Undergraduate Neuroscience Program
Director, Graduate Certificate in Community-Engaged STEM
University of Pennsylvania

—Ira Harkavy
Barbara and Edward Netter Director
Netter Center for Community Partnerships
University of Pennsylvania