In 2000, Minnesota Campus Compact’s member presidents approved an Engaged Campus Vision statement articulating their common commitment not only to educating students to be informed and active citizens, but also to engaging a wide range of human, financial, and material resources in mutually beneficial partnerships with communities. That statement defines the Engaged Campus as a process rather than a destination–and while we still believe that to be true, our board considers it important today to clarify the key outcomes we intend to achieve through civic and community engagement. This kind of statement may help others understand the value of all our collaborative efforts and help us be accountable to our own commitments and partners.
Below you’ll find a draft “Educating Citizens, Building Communities” statement intended to serve as a companion piece to the Engaged Campus Vision. We welcome your perspective on its strengths and your suggestions for improvement. Thanks in advance for sharing your comments!
Educating Citizens, Building Communities
Minnesota Campus Compact brings together all types of colleges and universities around a shared commitment to educating students for active citizenship and to building mutually beneficial partnerships with communities. These partnerships vary based on the different priorities, cultures, and assets of communities and institutions around the state. Yet through this coalition, we work towards several common goals:
Promote the success of Minnesota’s increasingly diverse students.
- Minnesota Campus Compact’s Citizen-Scholars Fellows Program provides financial assistance, support, and service opportunities to low-income and first-generation college students; participants earn higher average GPAs and persist at higher rates than Pell Grant recipients.
- Service-learning is a high-impact practice that has a positive effect on the academic success of undergraduates from all backgrounds, with especially powerful results for students of color, according to analysis of the National Survey of Student Engagement.
- Partnerships supporting college student interaction with K-12 students also contribute to increasing the college aspirations and preparation of thousands of younger students.
Advance the kinds of community-engaged learning that employers value.
- Through active learning opportunities in meaningful, real-life settings, Minnesota Campus Compact members and their community partners teach students the skills most highly valued by employers—teamwork, critical thinking, and oral and written communication.
- In national surveys by Peter Hart & Associates, employers identified internships or community-based projects as the best evidence of college graduates’ skills and knowledge.
- MnSCU leaders’ interviews with 352 Minnesota employers also yielded a recommendation that campuses offer more experiential learning opportunities.
Partner with communities to develop innovative solutions to pressing public issues.
- Minnesota Campus Compact members and programs include not only service-learning but also community-based research, social entrepreneurship, and institutional practices that advance economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, public health, and other social goods.
- Through the College Health Corps and other initiatives, for example, students address health equity issues by serving in community health centers, campus-run clinics, schools and other venues offering health care and health information to underserved Minnesotans.
- By encouraging colleges and universities to bank with those financial institutions committed to community reinvestment, we support affordable housing and small business development.
As a result of such collaborative efforts, more students graduate with the skills, creativity, courage, and persistence required to lead meaningful and productive lives—and communities enjoy greater health and prosperity, measured by quality of life, not simply standard of living.