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Press Release for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

UNF Lands Spot on Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida has been named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service for its work in community settings, student volunteerism and philanthropic efforts, as well as academic programs that include forms of community-based learning.


This is the second consecutive year UNF has received this honor and the third national award the University has received for its community engagement efforts. In 2011, UNF received the prestigious Community Engaged University designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


"I am thrilled that UNF has once again been recognized for its work engaging students and faculty in our communities," said Mark Falbo, Center for Community-Based Learning director. "This recognition is precisely the kind of value-added education the taxpayers expect from their public universities-students and graduates who will make their mark in their communities."


The Corporation for National and Community Service 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. More than 600 schools were named to the Honor Roll.


The University continues to build its longstanding commitment to community engagement. In 2009, UNF President John Delaney confirmed this commitment by selecting Community-Based Transformational Learning 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.


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.


For example, UNF's Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education Program has built strong partnerships with several area elementary/middle schools and even abroad to offer UNF students domestic, as well as international settings to practice the skills/knowledge they'll need as educators and to increase the academic achievement of students with disabilities. Two faculty members serve as professors-in-residence at local schools through UNF's Urban Professional Development Schools Partnership with Duval County, teaching their college classes on the UPDS's campus and offering their expertise to faculty and staff.


Students in these courses worked one-on-one with children who struggle with math, reading, writing and/or spelling for 15 hours during the semester to practice analyzing data from diagnostic assessments to plan lessons and provide accommodations to students. They also collaborated with classroom teachers to carry over the intensive reading and math intervention on non-UNF tutoring days. Results from informal assessments and from the Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading indicated positive outcomes. Other faculty members in the department traveled with students to Austria, Slovenia and the Philippines to teach lessons, conduct workshops and assist in schools.


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.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.