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The University of North Florida was admitted to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor for its work in community settings, student volunteerism and philanthropic efforts as well as academic programs that include forms of community-based learning. This Honor Roll award is the second national award UNF has received for its community engagement efforts. Last year, the University received the prestigious Community Engaged University designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education recently honored the nation’s leading colleges and universities as well as students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning. Approximately 640 schools were named to the Honor Roll.
“This award acknowledges the longstanding commitment by the University to making a difference in the lives of our students, neighbors and the quality of life in our communities,” said Mark Falbo, director of the Center for Community-Based Learning at UNF. “More importantly, this award honors the time and work of our students, faculty and many members of the community as well as their collective commitment to providing transformational-learning experiences that are the hallmark of a UNF education and that make Jacksonville an extraordinary place to live.”
The University continues to build its longstanding commitment to community engagement. In 2009, President John Delaney confirmed this commitment by selecting Community-Based Transformational Learning (CBTL) as UNF’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a keystone in UNF’s reaccreditation effort. This five-year initiative aims at diffusing community-based learning throughout UNF’s academic and co-curricular programs. UNF created the Center for Community-Based Learning to implement its QEP. The Center’s staff supports faculty and staff in CBTL course and program development, manages community-University partnership development and directs the Community Engaged Department Institute and Grant Program, enabling academic departments to revise curricula incorporating CBTL.
Since the adoption of community-based transformational learning as the focus of the University’s quality improvement efforts in 2010, 12 out of 30 departments have revised their curricula and more than 100 full-time faculty members have redesigned courses to include forms of community-based learning. UNF students also benefit because they are learning in real, authentic situations that meet the needs of Jacksonville’s schools, businesses and neighborhoods.
In 2005, the School of Nursing was awarded $369,000 to create its “Community-Based” nursing program, embedding nursing faculty and students in community settings among some of Jacksonville’s highest health-risk neighborhoods. In 2010, this “community-based” program and Mission House, a community partner, received the Florida Campus Compact’s Campus-Community Partnership Award. UNF’s College of Education and Human Services’ Urban Professional Development School Partnership with Duval County Public Schools places University clinical faculty members in four schools to assist UNF students in their field placements and as professors-in-residence for Duval school faculty development. In 2009, this program received the National Association for Professional Development School's Professional Development School Achievement Award.
This latest recognition comes on the heels of UNF receiving 11 other national designations, including Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s List of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2011-12; No. 19 Best Buy College, Best College in America and Best College in the South, all by Forbes Magazine; 2012 Best Value Public College, Best College in the Southeast, 2011 Best Value Public College and a top “Green” College by Princeton Review; Best Regional University by U.S. News & World Report, Military Friendly School and among the100 “Coolest Schools” by Sierra magazine.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll, in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
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