Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Emory Receives Presidential Award for Community Service

Emory University has been honored with the 2008 Presidential Award for General Community Service -- the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Emory is one of only three colleges and universities to earn this annual distinction from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

"We are humbled and energized by this recognition of our efforts," says Emory University President James W. Wagner. "Receiving this honor affirms Emory as a destination university for students who seek an education beyond the traditional classroom setting. We know that bright young scholars want to make a difference today, and trust that in the future they will continue to be drawn to educational settings like Emory. In turn, Emory is committed to providing our students with a world class education and the sense of responsibility to become scholar-citizens addressing opportunities to improve the human condition in myriad ways."

Emory -- one of the first schools to receive the Carnegie Foundation's "Engaged Institution" designation -- has made major investments in recent years to better prepare students to be engaged scholars with the critical thinking, hands-on experience and ethical leadership development to make a difference in the world.

The Presidential Award for General Community Service recognizes "the breadth and quality of an institution’s community service, service learning and civic engagement programs.” Three other colleges and universities received recognition for individual programs. View a full list of the 2008 Honor Roll, which includes several Atlanta-area schools.

Doing Well by Doing Good

In 2008, Emory students completed nearly 150,000 hours of service with more than 200 community partners on projects related to poverty, homelessness, chronic disease, medical services and environmental conservation throughout Atlanta and beyond.

Emory's Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) helps coordinate these efforts and is establishing a continuum of engaged scholarship and service for all students. A capstone program is the yearlong Community Building and Social Change Fellowship, a national model for advanced service learning.

"Emory has made a significant commitment to enhance community-engaged scholarship, learning and service as part of its strategic plan. We are delighted that the vision, aspirations and initial successes of that effort along with Emory's longstanding tradition of civic engagement have earned the university this national recognition," says Michael Rich, OUCP co-founder and director.

In particular at Emory, students at all levels, from undergraduates to graduate students in law, medicine, humanities and theology, engage in service and research that provides direct and tangible benefits to metro Atlanta communities, Rich says.

Highlights of Emory's engaged scholarship and service in 2008, compiled by OUCP, include:

A full third of all students across Emory’s nine schools took part in academic service learning, including law students who provided 26,076 hours of pro bono work for local clinics and agencies.

More than 80 percent of Emory seniors reported serving as volunteers while in college.
In metro-Atlanta and statewide, Emory programs, mentors and tutors enrich the learning of K-12 students in more than 120 public schools, with a particular emphasis on science education.

Emory's outreach also includes hundreds of new immigrants now on the path to U.S. citizenship thanks to students who devoted 2,500 hours coaching English language learners of all ages.
Ninety-two percent of Oxford College students engage in community service, contributing nearly 10,000 hours of service in just one year.

Nearly all students in nursing and theology are required to complete community-based service work as part of their degree program.

National Trends Point to More Service

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Using Independent Sector’s estimates of the value of volunteer time, college student volunteering was worth more than $5.6 billion last year. The U.S. Department of Education found a growing service-learning trend, with more schools offering service learning as part of their curriculum.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

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