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Campus Compact Civic Engagement Action Plan – Strengthens Commitment to Service Learning Opportunities
In connection with the call to address regional and national challenges related to inequality and political polarization, while seeking to improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibility, Jefferson College recently adopted a Civic Engagement Plan to strengthen outreach and service-learning opportunities as part of the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The group builds democracy through civic education and community development.
The new plan infuses civic engagement into the culture of Jefferson College and builds a community of connection, caring, compassion, and service inside and outside the institution. Increased action opportunities are being woven into coursework, athletics, and student clubs and organizations to help met the diverse needs of students and our community. The opportunities promote inclusion and respect for diversity, while embracing a life of community service.
College President Dr. Raymond Cummiskey signed the Campus Compact agreement in 2016. A diverse team of faculty and staff, led by Psychology Professor/Service-Learning Coordinator Dr. Amy Kausler and Assistant Sociology and Social Work Professor/Civic Engagement Coordinator Suzie Welch, completed the Civic Engagement plan one year later.
Jefferson College’s Civic Engagement Plan lays out steps the institution will take to move forward with a renewed sense of urgency as well as the anticipated impact on the campus and community. The College committed to five overarching changes during implementation of the action plan over the next five years:
- Maximize opportunities for relationship building with community partners and promote community connections within and beyond Jefferson College. The College will show a marked increase in varied service opportunities for students and increase recognition for students’ service.
- Reflect on the value of immersion in a culture of civic engagement and prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship by modeling service. The College will utilize faculty, staff and community leaders to engage students to actively pursue the common good through service.
- Provide increased support for service-learning resources for faculty members and increase engagement in the economic, social, environmental, educational and political welfare of the community. A Jefferson College liaison will be responsible for the coordination and dissemination of all functions related to community service.
- Make lasting community changes through service initiatives. The increased support for service-learning and resources will result in a marked increase in opportunities for faculty members and employees. Training and certification of service-learning instructors will be made available on campus. The College will recognize service of employees and instructors.
- A marked increase in Jefferson College’s civic engagement involvement will be apparent throughout the community. It will be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including an increase in community connections as evident by the development of a living database of community service partners, sustained service partnership opportunities, development of a community based Civic Engagement Advisory Committee, and recognition of community leaders in service. The College will also seek to recognize co-curricular community engagement at graduation.
The College’s planning efforts were driven by the commitment to a series of Campus Compact’s action statements:
Empower students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
Prepare students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.
Embrace responsibilities as place based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.
Harness the capacity of institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.
Foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members of the campus community to contribute to their achievement.
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