Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Connecting the University’s mission of civic outreach to the needs of neighboring communities, Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships supports programming and course work that gives Penn students opportunities to integrate learning and service.

At the heart of the Netter Center’s efforts are the 160 Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses through which Penn students earn academic credit while engaging in field-based research, teaching, and community problem-solving. ABCS courses are offered throughout the curriculum—more than 60 each year. Approximately half are initiated by students who recognize problems and want to find solutions.
In addition to serving local communities, the center generates knowledge of global significance, creating understanding of common issues and innovating portable solutions. The work done by Netter also benefits Penn—enlivening its curriculum and creating forums for practical, innovative learning.

Examples of ABCS Courses


Penn students teach nutrition to local schoolchildren, study food habits, survey the availability of fresh produce in neighborhoods, and implement community-based nutrition initiatives.

Biological Basis of Behavior: The ABCs of Neuroscience

Students from Penn and from Sayre High School work together to develop hands-on educational activities that teach neuroscience concepts to local third- and fourth-graders.

Environmental Studies—Urban Environment: West Philadelphia

Penn students study and map the risk of lead exposure in a local neighborhood and work with students in West Philadelphia schools to design and disseminate materials explaining the dangers of lead.

Linguistics: African American and Latino English

Studying the English dialects used by African American and Latino communities in the United States, Penn students develop programs to raise the reading levels of elementary school children.

Political Science: The Politics of Food

Penn students explore the politics that shape food production, marketing, and consumption, as well as the impact of the food industry’s advertising on diet. They research and address problems in several arenas, including campus cafeterias and West Philadelphia schools.

Music: World Music and Cultures

Penn students examine traditional music from around the world and its incorporation into U.S. popular and classical music. Through a group ethnography project, they engage with older African American residents in West Philadelphia, creating an oral history archive and website of Philadelphia jazz performances.