The six winners of this year’s Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards were chosen from among 120 nominees. According to the Washington Center, Civic Engagement Award winners serve as models for the many colleges and universities working to foster learning and involvement in the larger world.
Wagner College was chosen for the Civic Engagement Award because of its Civic Innovations program, which promotes mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships with community partners. Through CI, various academic departments at Wagner are connected with specific local agencies on Staten Island; departments and partner agencies then collaborate on the development of course syllabi and the identification of outcomes for a sequence of service-learning courses.
Within Staten Island’s Port Richmond community—an economically distressed area that has recently seen enormous growth in its immigrant population—the Civic Innovations program has been expanded to also include a steering committee comprised of residents and college personnel. The committee has identified “clusters of need”—including health, education, environment and economy—that future strategic partnerships will seek to address in a still more coordinated way.
“Wagner College is a true role model for civic engagement in the academic community,” said Mike Smith, president of the Washington Center. “The college is teaching students a quality that can’t be learned in the classroom alone: the importance of getting involved, giving back and making a difference.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Devorah Lieberman will accept the award on Wagner’s behalf at the Washington Center’s annual Academic Affairs Awards Luncheon, to be held on Oct. 4 at the National Press Club.
Facts about civic engagement at Wagner College
Wagner College is the only college or university in New York City that has been given the Community Engagement classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Carnegie Foundation classifications are the “gold standard” in higher education.
Since May 2005, Wagner College has been one of the 28 colleges and universities that belong to Project Pericles, a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of educational programs in the classroom, on the campus and in the community.
According to the 2009 National Survey of Student Engagement, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching:
- 49 percent of Wagner freshmen took part in a community-based project, compared with 13 percent of NSSE 2009 participants.
- 71 percent of Wagner freshmen participated in community service or volunteer work, compared to 39 percent of NSSE participants.
- 87 percent of Wagner seniors participated in community service or volunteer work, compared with 60 percent of NSSE participants.
For 4 straight years, Wagner College has been listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Wagner has earned this distinction every year since the Honor Roll was first created in 2006.
Last year, former U.S. President Bill Clinton recognized Wagner College and President Richard Guarasci at the second annual Clinton Global Initiative University for the Port Richmond Partnership, an innovative program that focuses Wagner’s community resources in an effort to improve quality of life in the Staten Island neighborhood of Port Richmond.