Students, Faculty and Staff Bring Strong Institutional Focus and Applicable Service-Learning to Long Beach and the Surrounding Areas
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has chosen California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The university is one of only 361 institutions to achieve this distinction.
“We are honored that the Carnegie Foundation has recognized Cal State Long Beach with its 2015 Community Engagement Classification,” said Jane Close Conoley, president, CSULB. “We know that college students who are encouraged to apply what they study in class to outside jobs and projects are more likely to thrive after graduation. That is why we have a strong record of incorporating community service and engagement into many aspects of learning at the Beach.”
The Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification for which colleges and universities with an established focus on service within the community may apply. The classification application requires data collection and the documentation of relevant engagement elements in the university’s mission, identity and commitments. It also requires proof of a significant effort on the part of the institution to invest in community service.
Examples of CSULB’s institutional focus include, among others, the establishment of and support for the Center for Community Engagement, which works with faculty to create service-learning opportunities which allow students to apply academic instruction to community projects; the co-founding and expansion of the Long Beach College Promise and the incorporation of community engagement language in CSULB’s Strategic Priorities and Goals.
With regard to data collection, the Center for Community Engagement states that 12,109 students participated in some form of community service in 2012-13, including 5,311 who were involved in academic service-learning. In total, these students recorded more than 1.2 million community service hours during that time. Also, approximately 800 CSULB faculty and staff were involved in some kind of community service that same year.
“The students, faculty and staff at Cal State Long Beach understand that engagement not only benefits the community, but it helps the university as well,” said Juan M. Benitez, executive director, Center for Community Engagement, CSULB. “We are more united when we work together to serve the region and service-learning and other forms of community engagement are recognized as ‘high impact’ learning practices that promote student success.”
CSULB students, faculty and staff have participated in a variety of community engagement activities, including hosting more than 1,000 K-12 girls through the Women In Engineering Outreach Program, as part of a national initiative to increase the number of women working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and assisting with physical exams, health education and referrals for local school children through the Health on Wheels (HOW) Mobile Clinic. They also taught semester-long courses in art, music, dance and theatre to K-5 students in underserved areas of Long Beach.
The 2015 Community Engagement commendation is considered a “re-classification” after CSULB was first honored in 2008. It is valid until 2025, at which point the university must submit for another re-classification. CSULB was also recently named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth time.