Camarillo, Calif., January 12, 2011 – CSU Channel Islands was recently selected as one of 115 institutions nationwide chosen by the Carnegie Foundation to receive their 2010 Community Engagement Classification. This is an elective classification which recognizes exemplary practices among all populations in a university-wide commitment to community engagement and service learning. Service learning is a teaching and learning method linking course content to “real-life” experiences that center around a community need or issue.
The Carnegie Foundation requested broad information which required a thorough and comprehensive examination of the University’s programs and relationships. The Community Engagement Classification recognizes that CI lives up to its mission and commitment to serve the region. This classification will not be awarded again for another five years.
CI featured a number of efforts to engage young people in STEM careers and majors (science, technology, engineering and math). An example is the Summer Science Institute, which is designed to encourage Oxnard College students to pursue STEM majors and to transfer to a four-year university. This past summer 60 students enrolled in 3 week classes, working with faculty research mentors, to study either the health of the ocean from a tall ship or investigate “crime scenes” set up on the CI campus. CI students served as peer mentors.
“At Channel Islands, we share a strong commitment to give back to the community in which we live,” stated President Richard R. Rush. “Alexis de Tocqueville, in his 1830 account of Democracy in America, called the acts of service he observed “habits of the heart.” Integrating service into student learning, faculty research, and staff activities not only provides better prepared students, but also strengthens the entire community. I am proud of our campus efforts and our ‘habits of the heart’.”
Since its inception, CI has been building the infrastructure for community engagement and service learning on campus. This effort has been supported by funding, by curriculum and faculty development, by student interest and opportunity, and community partnerships.
The ultimate test of service learning and community engagement is the impact it has on both the University and the wider community. Pilar Pacheco, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement, mentioned that, “Through community engagement students begin to understand civic responsibility, which contributes to their learning. They develop leadership skills and a clearer vision of their social responsibility. The relationships they make in this program help them feel more a part of the community and give them a sense that there is application for their studies and that their participation has an impact,” she explained.
Pacheco stressed that this was a University-wide distinction because these concepts permeate every facet of life at CI.
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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.