College and university support for civic engagement programs and activities continues to grow according to the Campus Compact 2012 Annual Member Survey. This year’s results tell a story of continued growth in support structures for campus engagement, leading to notable levels of engagement with students, faculty, and community partners.
The survey also offers insight into how campuses can make the most of the survey’s processes and results to guide their own work. The institutional data collected for this survey can be combined with national results to convey a larger picture of the social impact of higher education’s civic mission. As part of this larger movement, Campus Compact members can highlight their role in educating students for responsible citizenship, strengthening communities, and fulfilling the public purpose of higher education.
Service-learning has become well established on campuses with 95% of respondents offering these types of courses. Notably 62% of member campuses require service learning as part of the core curriculum of at least one major (up from 51% in 2010). Campuses offered an average of 66 of these courses per campus in 2012. In one important measure of campus support for service learning, 68% of campuses reward faculty for service-learning and community-based research.
Campuses are also offering more support for alumni entering public service including informational programs which have more than doubled to 83% from 2010; networking channels, offered by 58%, and student loan deferment or forgiveness offered by 17% and 14% respectively.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, 44% of students participated in some form of community engagement. These community engagement activities contributed to an estimated $9.7 billion in service to their communities.
The top five community issues addressed through campus programs are K-12 education, hunger, housing, poverty, and mentoring. Two areas that have shown remarkable growth are access and success in higher education, offered by 79% of campuses (up from 56% in 2008), and programs to foster economic development, offered by 69% of campuses (up from 48% in 2008). This shift accentuates higher education’s ability to innovate to meet emerging societal need and exemplifies Campus Compact’s efforts to promote civic engagement as an important tool for making impact in these areas.