News Roundup: Office of Community Education Partnerships

News Roundup: Office of Community Education Partnerships

OCEP groupThe Office of Community Education Partnerships bridges the research, practice, and service missions of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) and Northwestern University. Our tireless staff creates initiatives and partnerships that positively impact our home communities of Evanston and Chicago, and can be shared and scaled far beyond.

OCEP partners with faculty, students, colleges, departments, and centers from across the university. OCEP also supports Neighborhood and Community Relations at the University.

Read our recent coverage of the programs:

Baxter Center for Science Education

The Baxter Center Launches Virtual Learning Series for Science Teachers
Nearly two dozen middle and high school educators joined the weekly Baxter Center for Science Education’s teacher virtual learning series to discuss research-based principles for online learning and the challenges with moving to remote classes.

CT-STEM (Computational Tools for STEM Education)

These Teachers Added Computational Thinking to Their Classes
Sue Juhl is a longtime Chicago Public Schools special education and biology teacher with a self-described “unhealthy fear of computers and any kind of programming.” But after working with Northwestern University’s Computational Thinking in STEM Summer Institute for just four weeks, Juhl unveiled a timely and relevant new curriculum that combines computer models, data, and algorithms with social emotional learning to help students recognize and mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

Digital Divas

  • Digital Youth Divas Join STEM Ecosystem
    Digital Youth Divas, Nichole Pinkard's after-school STEM program for middle school girls, goes far beyond project-based learning,  The goal is to create a full “learning ecosystem” with mentors, parental resources and community support. 
  • Digital Divas Connects Girls to STEM
    Digital Youth Divas is a free program started by SESP's Nichole Pinkard to get middle school girls involved in STEM activities. The program begins in the fourth grade and tracks the outcomes through high school.


  • Researchers Begin Developing Computer Science Ecosystem  
    Chicago has a rich community of informal computer science educators, but the providers often work in isolation and the programs lack cohesion, according to the first study to comprehensively map the city’s computer science landscape.
  • SESP: A Catalyst During Crisis
    When SESP Dean and economist David Figlio created the syllabus for his popular undergraduate class, he had no idea he’d be teaching it during the worst economic crisis of anyone’s lifetime.  

OCEP groupMy Chi. My Future.

A Path to Greater Equity in Education
Northwestern University is celebrating the launch of a revolutionary new initiative by the City of Chicago to connect youth to hundreds of activities in a digital space where they can interact with the friends and mentors. 

Northwestern Evanston Education Research Alliance (NEERA)


Online Enrichment in a Crisis
Within days of schools closing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Learning Sciences professor Nichole Pinkard was inundated with calls from her family and friends, asking how they could keep their children engaged at home. Pinkard was in a unique position to help.


By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/4/20