By: JIM IRIZARRY
IU South Bend has kicked off its Carnegie Engaged Campus Initiative.
The effort to gain accreditation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching began with a ceremony at the Civil Rights Heritage Center on Friday night. IU South Bend is looking to gain the foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.
The classification is a mark of distinction that shows a campus is engaged with its community through providing essential services while providing a quality education to its students. Fewer than 400 campuses in the United States have the accreditation. IU Bloomington and IUPUI are among the college campuses that have been accredited.
“One of the things about community engagement, whether it’s through internships or teacher training programs or service learning, is that it deepens a student’s learning of the class material,” said Dr. Gail McGuire, a professor of sociology and director of IUSB’s Carnegie Engaged Campus Task Force. “It’s a win-win. It’s a win for the university because students are able to apply what they’re learning in the classroom into the community and we’re able to provide services in the community that they might not be able to get otherwise.”
The application submission isn’t until 2019, but according to McGuire, accumulating the data needed is “a monumental effort,” which is why the initiative has kicked off now. McGuire says that in addition to collecting the data needed, it gives the task force the ability to see what all the different units are doing with community engagement and to better coordinate their efforts.
The kickoff event served to showcase some of the relationships and work being done in the community by IUSB students and faculty. Presentations were made by students Christine Deutscher, Krista Cox and SGA President Stephen Salisbury, as well as some of IUSB’s community partners.
Those who spoke included LeRoy King, executive director of Bridges Out of Poverty; Kathryn A. Schneider, executive director of St. Margaret’s House; and Tracy Slattery, curriculum facilitator for science, social studies, health and physical education for the South Bend Community School Corporation.
“I think this moment has been years in the making,” said Chancellor Terry Allison. “IU South Bend has always been destined to be a Carnegie Engaged Campus. As a regional campus, comprehensive community engagement is at our core. It’s one of the reasons I came here to be chancellor.”
McGuire said one of the criteria for the application is to show that IUSB’s community engagement not only reaches beyond small pockets, but has also been sustained for a long time.
“For example, Tracy Anderson in business has been offering a tax assistance program for 17 years, and we have people in dental hygiene who have been running clinics for 10 to 15 years,” McGuire said. “[The Carnegie Foundation] wants to see that long-term commitment and that it’s spread across the university and not just in the academic units, but in the non-academic units as well.”
While there is no financial gain to be had by the university, McGuire feels that there are so many benefits for not only students but the community in general.
“I feel this is part of our mission, as a regional, comprehensive university to give back to the local community,” McGuire said.