: Civic Engagement Awards
Photos from the Civic Engagement Awards
On Monday, October 1, 2012, at the National Press Club, several academic partners were recognized at our annual Academic Affairs and Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards Luncheon.
California State University, San Bernardino
A public, Hispanic-Serving Institution, California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) demonstrates a strong commitment to welcoming, serving, and engaging veterans. The university connects its student population with opportunities to support men and women returning from military service while also supplying outlets for student veterans to continue making contributions to their communities. CSUSB provides leadership in adaptive sports through a DisAbility Sports Festival, which gives athletes with disabilities (including veterans) the chance to learn about and participate in a wide range of events. Students are among the athletes and volunteers for this annual event. Kinesiology and nursing students assist with a Veterans’ All Star Swim Program, another initiative that addresses the fitness needs of local veterans and assists them in regaining strength and stamina following injury. CSUSB also is committed to helping student veterans translate their military work experience to the civilian workforce. The university has developed and funded a service-learning internship program with a variety of schools, hospitals, nonprofits, and government agencies; it is institutionalizing this program despite the challenging economic environment that it faces. A partnership between the CSUSB Student Veterans Organization and the San Bernardino Disabled Americans Veterans Chapter 12, along with assistance from the Home Depot Foundation, led to the creation of the Veterans Exploration garden, which provides support to veterans in recovery and self-discovery. G.I. Jobs magazine has named CSUSB a Military Friendly School—a distinction honoring the top 15 percent of over 7,000 of institutions surveyed nationwide.
A private, liberal arts, women’s college with selected coeducational programs, Columbia College in South Carolina uses service learning to attend to the needs of its local community. The college has designed a signature program, embedded in service-learning courses and a required Junior Seminar, to address the problem of diabetes—a leading cause of death in Richland County. Now funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the program aims to improve residents’ dietary choices, promote healthy lifestyles, and provide more frequent health screenings. Among the low-income population, Columbia College and its partners identified widespread distrust of nurses, clinics, and doctors in the region. They found that partnering with local faith-based organizations helped overcome this barrier. The Benefit Bank, one notable initiative, alerts residents to unclaimed resources, including federal funds and low-cost health plans, for which they qualify. Square Foot Gardens educates children and their families about growing and utilizing fresh produce in a cost-effective way, while crockpot workshops inform residents about healthy cooking options. Hamilton Beach donated crockpots for the program and a cookbook was developed with easy recipes, nutritional information, and estimated costs. Columbia College has worked with community partners to encourage walking, mapping routes by distance that start and end at faith-based organizations, as well as gathering groups that are led by walking captains. Students who have been certified offer free health screenings, provide training on reading cholesterol and blood glucose numbers, and help participants to monitor their own progress.
A private, comprehensive university with campuses in downtown Chicago and northwest suburban Schaumburg, Roosevelt University was founded in 1945 on the principles of inclusion and social justice. Its Mansfield Institute coordinates civic engagement on campus by promoting service learning, sponsoring the scholar-activist research fellowship program, and facilitating social action through programmatic and policy work. Service learning is incorporated throughout all of Roosevelt University’s six colleges. Students use problem-based learning in the classroom and service learning to address a wide array of social challenges, including urban education, environmental toxins, immigration, homeless youth, literacy and domestic violence. The Mansfield Institute also engages undergraduates in applied research under faculty direction, investigating inequalities in education, employment, and the criminal justice system that perpetuates a “cradle to prison pipeline.” Data collected through this research help neighborhood organizations obtain grant funding, validate their work in the community, and improve their services. Roosevelt University has partnered with Morrill Elementary School to implement restorative justice practices that promote greater communication, support and respect. Undergraduates have facilitated conflict resolution sessions that address disciplinary issues without immediately suspending or expelling students. Roosevelt was also responsible for coordinating a discussion with parents, students, security, and community representatives to discuss strategies to address violence after the recent shooting of a first-grade student.
A private, research university in New Orleans, LA, Tulane University integrated required public service into its core curriculum for undergraduates in 2006. Its Center for Public Service (CPS) oversees the process of incorporating service-learning pedagogy and community-based research into the academic curriculum. Every academic department offers at least two service-learning courses that have been approved by faculty serving on the CPS Executive Committee. Through training seminars, workshops, and one-on-one course coordination, CPS staff members support professors in the design and implementation of their courses. CPS further supports faculty with special funding, including Community-Based Participatory Research Grants that give partner organizations co-ownership over a specific research issue with a Tulane faculty member. Tulane University has forged partnerships with hundreds of local organizations, hosting a number of workshops, seminars, and events to engage the university in dialogue about pressing issues and best practices in nonprofit management. CPS facilitates public service internships and connects students with direct service and leadership development opportunities. The University’s For the Children and Upward Bound programs run by CPS, for example, provide PK-12 tutoring and college preparation resources for first-generation and low-income college candidates from local high schools. Studies that the university commissioned to formally assess the impact of its public service graduation requirement have shown that service learning benefits extend beyond students’ personal development to their academic development. Students have reported that their service experiences have a positive impact on their understanding of course concepts, time devoted to studying, and persistence in college.
University of San Francisco
A Catholic Jesuit institution in Northern California, the University of San Francisco (USF) has a longstanding history of service to the local community and the world. USF was one of the first universities is the nation to implement a service-learning graduation requirement, and facilitates a wide variety of sustained community-based learning projects. Through its Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, USF integrates classroom learning with direct experience addressing such issues as homelessness and housing policy, health-related issues among the poor, and environmental justice. The Center for Child and Family Development operates a school-based family counseling program in public and Catholic schools in the Bay Area, serving at-risk children in low-income neighborhoods. The Architecture and Community Design Outreach Program’s (ARCD) Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden in one of the poorest neighborhoods of San Francisco. This garden is an initiative advanced by USF faculty and students, as well as local residents, and has been recognized as a model project. Likewise, ARCD faculty and students have traveled to Zambia to construct a library that improves orphaned children’s literacy and language skills, developed an urban plan for an impoverished area of Mexico, and constructed a community center for a rural farming village in Nicaragua. USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. has personally led international immersion experiences for the trustees and leadership team, and in summer 2012 directed a week-long trip to California’s Central Valley to explore the plight of Latino and Asian migrant workers, many of whom are underserved, unprotected by labor laws, and undocumented.