Garret ZastoupilPhD Student, Civil Society and Community Research


Garret Zastoupil is focused on understanding how rural communities organize to have power in their social, economic, and environmental futures by working alongside organizers, residents, and coalitions. He is interested in exploring the different manifestations of community power and the processes through which rural people organize to build more democratic economic and community institutions. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, with settler ancestors who occupied Lakota Territory in western North Dakota through the Homestead Act, Garret centers his work in the contemporary Great Plains and American West.

As a PhD Candidate in Civil Society and Community Research, he is completing a community-based research dissertation project working with a grassroots environmental organization in North Dakota examining the local response to the declining coal industry. He draws from an interdisciplinary training combining research and theory from sociology, geography, education, community psychology, and social work.

Garret’s professional experience has focused on formal and informal learning environments in higher education such as students activities, university honors programs, and access and equity programs. He also has a breadth of experience in service-learning and public engagement in university environments.

Education and Relevant Experience

BSB, Entrepreneurial Management and Public & Nonprofit Management, University of Minnesota Twin–Cities                          MA, Higher Education and Student Affairs, University of Connecticut

Garret holds a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut, and a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management and Public & Nonprofit Management from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Prior to arriving at UW–Madison, he served in a variety of roles at the University of Connecticut centered on university-community engagement. While at UConn, he taught and researched with UConn’s Husky Sport, a campus-community partnership grounded in sport-based youth development. He also conducted assessment and worked on program management with UConn’s Office of Public Engagement, and advised student organizations with UConn’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Garret also spent time working at Willamette University in their department of Housing and Community Life. He currently serves as a faculty/staff facilitator with the Our Wisconsin inclusion program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is serving on the strategic planning committee for the EcoWell Program within the School of Human Ecology. He hopes to weave his previous experiences working with college students, staff, faculty, and community members toward developing tools and models that can assist practitioners, policy makers, and community members leverage higher education to promote a socially just world.

Awards and Recognitions

University Fellow | Jane Hampton Ausman Mentored Teaching Fellowship

Graduate Associate Center for Cultural, History, and the Environment | Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Humanities Exchange Scholar | Center for the Humanities

Selected Publications and Presentations

Zastoupil, G. (forthcoming). Social change in rural communities: A pilot study of Liberating Service-Learning and rural higher education. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.

Collins, M.B., VanMeeter, M., & Zastoupil, G. (2020). Civic Health in Wisconsin Connectedness in Context. Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Zastoupil, G., Tryon, B., Madden, H., Keita, N. A., & Lipscomb, T.. (2020). Cultural factors in preparing students for community-engaged scholarship. In A. Zimmerman (Ed.) Preparing Students for Community-Engaged Scholarship in Higher Education (pp. 21-42). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Bakken, L., Moore, T., Williams, T, & Zastoupil, G. (2019 November). Teaching transformative evaluation: Paradigm, inclusion, & capacity. Paper presented at American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Zastoupil, G. (2019 October). Social change in rural communities: A pilot study of Liberating Service-Learning and rural higher education. Poster presentation at International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) Annual Conference, Albuquerque, NM.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, AIS 100, Introduction to American Indian Studies

Teaching Assistant, CSCS 600, Community and Nonprofit Leadership Capstone

Teaching Assistant, CSCS 570, Community Based Research and Evaluation

Degree Program

  • Civil Society & Community Research



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