Partner with SCP


ENGR 171 students in Big Lake, MN with City Planner and St. Thomas alum, Michael Healy. Students created design ideas for natural playground areas.

SCP is accepting partnership proposals for the 2021-2022 academic year.  

Communities often face limited resources to investigate sustainability and quality of life issues that are important but not urgent to them. SCP seeks to expand capacity for communities to investigate community-identified projects through community-course partnerships: collaborative problem-solving and applied research with existing graduate and undergraduate courses across disciplines at St. Thomas.  See completed projects for examples.

How can your community participate?

This is not a commitment to participate.  SCP Director, Maria Dahmus, will meet with you to talk more about how the partnership works and to brainstorm potential projects that will benefit your community. Contact Maria Dahmus to set up a meeting.

Outline project ideas.  (See example projects here.)  SCP offers a flexible partnership model, collaborating on 1 to 8 projects per semester, depending on your community's goals and capacity. We ask that you identify additional project possibilities beyond your desired number of projects to facilitate project matching with courses.

For each project, address the following:

  1. Description of Project: (1-2 paragraphs, purpose and scope)
  2. Questions/Issues to Address: (1-3 well-defined questions)
  3. Intended Use of Results: (1 paragraph description)
  4. Specific Sustainability or Quality of Life Impacts: (1 paragraph description)
  5. Community Project Lead: (name, position, contact information)
  6. Stakeholders and Partners: (as applicable, not required)
  7. Existing documents: (documents and sources of available data to inform project)

Please email proposals to Maria Dahmus,, SCP Director.  After reviewing your proposal, we will contact you to discuss moving forward with a partnership.

Community and SCP Responsibilities

The community partner identifies a staff member who will serve as the partnership lead.  The partnership lead will:

  1. Be the primary contact for SCP;
  2. Work with SCP to oversee projects – the partnership lead should know the staff involved in each project and understand each project’s scope and status;
  3. Serve as a champion for the partnership to the community.

For each project, the community partnership lead also identifies a staff project lead.  The project lead will:

  1. Be the primary point of contact for that project;
  2. Work with SCP and the course instructor to finalize project scope to advance partner goals and course learning objectives;
  3. Provide available data for project completion;
  4. Provide access to field sites (as applicable);
  5. Communicate with class throughout the semester to inform and assess project by:
    • Providing a project orientation to class at the beginning of the semester;
    • Attending mid-project presentation to provide project feedback;
    • Attending final presentation at the end of the semester (or arranging a city audience for final presentation);
    • Being responsive to questions throughout the semester.

The partnership lead can also serve as a project lead. In some cases, the partnership lead may be the project lead on all or most of the projects.

Community partner will provide funds for project materials necessary to complete project (e.g., materials necessary for building a prototype).

SCP responsibilities include:

  1. Consultation with partners on project development;
  2. Arranging and facilitating project scoping;
  3. Drafting project scopes for matched courses;
  4. Providing curriculum development consultation to faculty;
  5. Ensuring courses have necessary data from city (as applicable) and city receives project deliverables;
  6. Maintaining a partnership website;
  7. Providing logistical support to courses;
  8. Problem-solving and trouble-shooting throughout partnership.