Dennis Downey's passion is leading students in meaningful projects that serve the community while giving them rich skill-building experiences. An Associate Professor of Sociology and also Faculty Director of CI's Center for Community Engagement, Downey creates countless opportunities for students to make a positive impact on their world – and to deepen their education while doing so.
To name just a few examples, students in Downey's Sociology Capstone classes have conducted a study on the status of women in Ventura County to help inform the work of government and nonprofit groups; evaluated a farmer's market to help maximize its impact; and performed interviews to help a foster youth home attract and maintain mentors and volunteers.
In his role as Faculty Director of CI's Center for Community Engagement, Downey works with Managing Director Pilar Pacheco on programs that support and promote service-learning and collaboration among CI's more than 5,000 students, 370 faculty, and 50 community partners, including the Camarillo Economic Development Corporation, the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo, Elder Care Alliance, and Schools on Wheels.
“Through a focus on service-learning across every discipline, CI aims to enrich our community and our students' educational experience,” Downey said. “When students work directly with community partners and see how their efforts make a difference, they commit themselves completely and feel a satisfaction that extends beyond receiving a good grade. By translating community needs into opportunities for students to learn, act and contribute, we help prepare them for successful lives and careers of service.”