2017 Engaged Campus of the Year The University of Notre Dame, Reverend John Jenkins, President.
The University of Notre Dame has a commitment, intrinsic to its founding mission, not only to serve the broader community, but to educate generations of students for lives of civic and social engagement.
One of Indiana Campus Compact’s founding partner campuses, Notre Dame has been an active participant not only in its own community, but in the community of the Compact. Reverend Edward “Monk” Malloy was a founding member of the Board of Directors and said the genesis for newly formed Indiana Campus Compact was “a collective sense that higher education needed to focus more directly on making a difference in our communities and neighborhoods.”
Notre Dame’s mission is to “cultivate in its students an appreciation for the great achievement of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many.
Living their mission shows in the university’s deep commitment to service learning and community engagement.
The Center for Social Concerns is the heart of service engagement on the campus and facilitates community-based learning, research, and service. The Robinson Community Learning Center which serves as a hub for education, service, community building, and personal development programs that enhance the community’s quality of life.
More than 80% of Notre Dame students are involved in service engagement and there are campus-wide learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with the community.
A former Notre Dame student who is now the president of the Center for the Homeless in South Bend says, “I can say that service engagement was, and still very much is, a part of campus culture and Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students all are connected to our community in meaningful ways.”
Community engagement is integrated into the curriculum on an institution-wide level. The Center for Social Concerns provides professional development opportunities for faculty to enhance that work including a Community Engagement Faculty Institute and a Faculty Fellows program. The new Engaged Program Initiative aims to encourage multi-year, sustained, evolving, engagement that is integrated throughout the work of an academic unit.
In his letter of application, President Jenkins said, “[in addition to established work] the university also supports the pursuit of individual projects that arise from community need or ideas, and developed by the collaborative pursuit of knowledge and the common good.”
It’s hard to put 175 years’ worth of work in one brief introduction, but I think it’s easy to see that the University of Notre Dame equips its faculty and staff with the support they need to provide their students with not only academic rigor, but continually presenting the opportunity to learn one of the most important things in life – “a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”