Countdown: 33 days to HLC visit: Engagement
Editor's note:Ranger Today continues a series of articles on the future directions contained within the university's self-study.
Community Engagement: Past, Present, Future
By Dr. Jane Schaefer, Executive Director, Center for Community Partnerships
The Carnegie Classification of a Community Engaged institution describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. Today, community engagement is a nationally recognized hallmark of distinction for UW-Parkside. In addition to becoming classified as a community engaged institution, UW-Parkside has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll each of the past seven years.
The centrality of community engagement to UW-Parkside's mission is grounded historically in the Wisconsin Idea, a philosophy which holds that research conducted at the University of Wisconsin System should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment and agriculture for all citizens of the state. At UW-Parkside, community engagement is reflected in the institutional commitment to foster civic-minded students, alumni, staff, and faculty who provide scholarship, leadership, resources, and services to the local and global community.
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the University of Wisconsin-Extension established the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) in 1997 to be a portal of community engagement by connecting the resources of the university to the needs and priorities of the community. This partnership of university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors ranges from community based learning student coursework, to capacity building for businesses and nonprofits, to facilitating community-wide collaborative efforts, to providing continuing education opportunities for adults.Community Engagement is a critical future direction for UW-Parkside because economic development through community engagement and continuing education benefits individuals, organizations, and the society at large by growing community assets and ensuring a return on investment for the region and state. A future focus on community engagement will also continue to benefit UW-Parkside students--both credit seeking and non-credit participants--by enriching scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhancing curriculum, teaching, and learning; preparing educated, engaged citizens; strengthening democratic values and civic responsibility, addressing critical societal issues, and contributing to the public good.