The University of Denver has been recognized for its role in applying community engagement and service to promote positive change by being named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Launched in 2006 in response to the outreach offered by thousands of college students who traveled to the Gulf Coast to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Honor Roll annually recognizes higher education institutions that embody the values of exemplary community service and civic engagement and raise the visibility of best practices in campus-community partnerships.
DU was selected for the Honor Roll on the basis of several factors evaluated for the 2011-2012 Academic Year, including the degree to which service is embedded in the academic and co-curricular culture, The University’s dedication to service, and the scope and community impact of service work. DU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) played an integral part in contributing to the University’s public good mission through a range of programs that are dedicated to enhancing student learning and service, faculty teaching and research, and community development.
Here are some quick facts about CCESL programs and DU’s public good performance in AY 2011-2012:
• As a whole, 3,677 DU students contributed more than 405,000 hours toward community-engaged service.
• The Faculty Service Learning and Service Learning Associates programs supported faculty training and development and paired advanced students with faculty who teach service learning courses to bring student leaders into the classroom. In colleges and departments across divisions, faculty taught over 90 service learning courses that enrolled over 1,040 students.
• Designated by the Office of the Provost, the Public Good Fund makes available $100,000 annually for innovative public good and community-engaged faculty research projects that address community-identified needs. In 2011-2012, DU funded 10 new faculty community-engaged research projects. Projects ranged in topics and communities served, from preventing victimization among homeless youth and understanding adoptive parents’ perspectives on residential treatment to strengthening networks of refugee and immigrant service providers.
• Through CCESL, DU invests approximately $50,000 annually in faculty development to support academic service learning. In addition to offering trainings and consultation for new and advanced service learning practitioners, CCESL oversees the Service-Learning Associates (SLA) program. The innovative SLA program pairs faculty, who teach service learning courses, with advanced students to bring these student leaders into the classroom to support the service learning components of courses. Across campus, faculty taught over 90 service-learning courses, enrolling over 1,040 students in 2011- 2012.
• The AmeriCorps program places motivated DU students in high-need K-12 environments and non-profit agencies for long-term service placements that last from one to four years. More than 400 students were involved in AmeriCorps and contributed over 83,000 hours of service with 150 community partners. AmeriCorps members also received over 14,000 hours of training to support their community service.
• DU students, faculty, and staff are also considerably involved in public schools through tutoring and mentoring programs, teacher-prep field placements, service-learning courses, public good research projects, and the Public Achievement (PA) program, which partners with Denver Public School to increase youth civic capacities. In 2011-2012, 33 DU students served as Public Achievement Coaches and carried out 12,880 hours with 140 students to create, develop, and implement their own civic project within their community or school.