University Receives National Honor for Community Service
Susan Walsh of UAlbany's Community and Public Service Program speaks with a student volunteer.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency, has recognized the University at Albany as a leader among the nation's institutions of higher education for its support of volunteerism, service-learning, and civic engagement.
UAlbany was named to the 2010 (U.S.) President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieved measurable results in the community during the 2009-10 academic year. CNCS admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities to the Honor Roll for their impact on issues ranging from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to the support of at-risk youth.
University at Albany President George M. Philip noted, "This honor particularly recognizes our students for their significant contribution to improving the quality of life and economic opportunity of residents in the region and beyond. Through internships and other academic courses they assist business, government, non-profits and schools in addressing a multitude of needs. As volunteers, they help community groups sustain and enrich programs, whether through fundraising, food, and clothing drives, or helping in soup kitchens, after-school activities, and nursing homes. Some even work globally — for example, partnering to build a school in Uganda."
Center for Autism and Related Disabilities graduate students (from left) Jillian Tobia, Laura Hiruma, Vanessa Costanzo, with CARD Director and faculty mentor Dr. Kristin V. Christodulu
An estimated 6,800 of UAlbany's students participated in community-engaged service in the 2009-10 academic year through both volunteer work and course-related activities.
Three UAlbany initiatives were featured in the University's application to the national recognition program. Each was selected for strength of its program, longstanding relationship with partners, and impact in the 2009-10 academic year:
Through UAlbany's 40-year-old Community and Public Service Program, almost 700 students assisted 180 non-profits and schools with activities ranging from serving hospital patients and their families to mentoring inner-city youth.
Through the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, students helped faculty and staff develop effective educational programs and conduct other activities, contributing to the Center’s training of almost 7,300 individuals in 2009-10. In nine years, the Center's programs/services have reached more than 31,000 people.
Graduate Student Joan Swanson, coordinator of the School of Education Community Service Course
Through the School of Education Community Service Course, established in 1987, over 200 undergraduates tutored and mentored students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade at 66 sites, including 23 school districts.
On May 2, prior to receiving notice of the Honor Roll designation, UAlbany announced October as Community Engagement Month for 2010-11. The occasion was a special event President Philip co-hosted with Justin Wax Jacobs, outgoing Student Association (SA) president; Zafir Uddin, SA's newly elected president; and Heidi Nicholls, president of the Graduate Student Organization to particularly showcase student work through the program and displays. The May 2 event also honored students, faculty and staff for their community contributions.
UAlbany's commitment to community engagement is longstanding, dating back to the University’s roots as a normal college in 1844. Today, faculty, staff and students partner with the public and private sectors in hundreds of ways to address critical challenges, ranging from autism, education and public health to social welfare and economic growth.
Nationally, a total of 851 institutions applied for the Honor Roll, reflecting a 9 percent increase over last year. Honorees are chosen by the CNCS based on such factors as the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of CNCS, noted: "We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service."
CNCS partners with the nation's colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. The agency oversees the Honor Roll, which it has administered since 2006, in collaboration with the U.S. departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.
Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.