University of Scranton Nationally Recognized for Community Engagement

Jan 16, 2009
The University of Scranton is among the just 119 colleges in the nation earning the highly selective 2008 Community Engagement Classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Through an extensive voluntary application process, the Carnegie Foundation recognized universities for success in Curricular Engagement (the connection of teaching, learning and scholarship to community); Outreach and Partnership (the extent of focus of institutional resources on community collaboration); or both. Scranton was among the only 110 universities to receive classification in both areas.

“Long-standing, exceptional examples of civic engagement can be found throughout the University, which bring to life this essential element of our mission as a Jesuit university,” said University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. “The University is pleased to receive this prestigious recognition by the Carnegie Foundation for the steadfast commitment to community service displayed daily through the dedicated work of our faculty, staff and students.”

The Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement selected colleges through a comprehensive application process which required universities to demonstrate institutional commitment and support for community service partnerships, as well as documentation of the impact such programs have had on the community.

In a letter to Father Pilarz from the Carnegie Foundation announcing the University’s classification, Scranton’s application was noted for an “excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement” and included “examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.”

Examples of community engagement are integrated through the curriculum at Scranton, and include 160 for-credit courses with a service-learning component taught by 72 faculty members. Thirty-three percent of Scranton students participate in these classes, Eleven (42 percent) of the University’s academic departments have a service learning requirement.

In addition, multiple academic courses and programs have provided students with the opportunity for community service. For example, the capstone project for the students participating in the university’s Business Leadership Program has included developing a marketing plan for Lourdesmont (a non-profit adolescent treatment center) and providing an economic impact study for the Employment Opportunity and Training Center.

Also, Scranton’s pre-med program is one of only six undergraduate programs in Pennsylvania to participate in the Physician Shortage Area Program of Jefferson Medical College intended to increase the number of family physicians in rural area of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In the application, The University of Scranton also documented 15 examples of community partnerships that demonstrate the Jesuit school’s commitment to service both, locally and internationally.

Among the programs outlined was the Leahy Community Health and Family Center, which has been in operation for five years and includes participation by 23 faculty members, more than 100 students and several community organizations. Among the programs offered through the center are the “Peacemakers Program” that serves elementary school children, the Autism Playgroup, counseling services, and a free clinic serving the uninsured of Lackawanna County.

Human Resources students have met community needs by developing training programs for several local businesses, or by developing important human resource tools such as performance appraisal programs. Through the program established in 2003, approximately 125 students have engaged the community through their coursework with a mutually beneficial result.

Also mentioned was the Scranton-Tbilisi Management Education Partnership, in existence for nine years, which has resulted in more than 50 scholarly research projects involving more than 54 faculty members and more than 20 graduate students. More than 1,000 students have participated in health administration training programs offered at universities in Georgia, which were developed and implemented as part of this program.

In addition, nursing students have volunteered at both the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania and at the Visiting Nurse Association of Lackawanna County Hospice Program for 13 years; business students have participated in the Community Volunteer Income Tax Service for 20 years; psychology students have provided the Neuroscience Fair for elementary school children for seven years; and students have volunteered for a Red Cross HIV/AIDS Awareness program for 23 years.

Less than 200 universities in the nation have been selected for the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification. The classification was initiated in 2006 with just 76 institutions making the listing.
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