As Margaret Mead once shared, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Whether it be mentoring underserved youth, preserving the environment, assisting the elderly and ill, or providing education and support to people affected by poverty, Rollins College recognizes individuals' unique opportunity to transform the world and serve as agents of change.
Service-learning is one such avenue Rollins travels to seize this opportunity. Beginning in fall 2010, the College launched a series of courses with a Community Engagement (CE) designation designed for students to work closely with community-based organizations and people to meet local, state, and national needs.
Through collaboration with community organizations that are committed to a partnership between service and learning, CE courses identify and address a need in the community (campus, local, regional, or global) and involve reciprocity between course and community that results in students' increased civic awareness, leadership, diversity and engagement.
As a part of CE courses, students apply what they are learning in the classroom to the community through service-learning, research and civic participation. Infused with active dialogue and reflection, these courses also involve a considerable amount of time outside of the classroom with community organizations and agencies.
"There’s a growing sentiment that a college education is made exponentially richer when students are equipped to make a real difference in the world,” said Micki Meyer, director of community engagement. “Education is for the life of the mind in action. These experiences get students thinking about what they are learning in the classroom and how that prepares them for a life of active citizenship.”
The newly launched curriculum only serves to strengthen Rollins’ position as a statewide leader in service-learning. In 2009, Rollins was recognized for the second time by Florida Campus Compact for its outstanding service-learning efforts. At the 2008 inaugural Awards Gala, Rollins set the pace by receiving the top award presented in the state, the Florida institution most committed to being an engaged campus.
In 2010, Professor of Philosophy Margaret A. McLaren won the Florida Campus Compact (FL|CC) Service-Learning Faculty Award representing Independent Colleges and Universities in Florida. These awards are given to individuals, projects and organizations in higher education that greatly enhance learning while working with the community to address societal issues. This was the fourth consecutive year Rollins had been bestowed such a distinguished honor.
"Our faculty award recipients are deeply committed teachers and scholars who recognize that the educational process extends beyond the walls of the classroom," said Dean of the Faculty Laurie Joyner. "The linkage between the classroom and community is one way these distinguished colleagues reflect our institutional commitment to both the intellectual and ethical dimensions of a liberal arts education at Rollins College."
In 2011, Rollins was honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Rollins was one of six colleges and universities to receive Presidential Awards in the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service. This marks the fourth year in a row CNCS named Rollins College to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth and the first year that the College was named as a Presidential Award recipient.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
“We are proud that Rollins faculty and staff have worked together to offer these service opportunities for our students and that our students have responded so enthusiastically,” said Rollins President Lewis Duncan. “This recognition affirms our efforts to help students connect what they learn in the classroom to applications in everyday life.”
Through service learning academic courses and community-based research projects in partnership with over 200 nonprofit agencies in Central Florida and across the state, the College continually fosters a lifelong commitment to social justice, civic engagement and social responsibility. This deep commitment encourages and promotes student, faculty and staff involvement within local and global communities for today and for years to come.
Director of Community Engagement
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