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Emory named again to national Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

By John Baker Brown Jr., Campus Life | Emory Report | Feb. 5, 2015

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The president of the United States has recognized Emory University’s commitment to civic engagement, naming the institution to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll — the fourth time in seven years that the institution has been so honored.

The President’s Honor Roll annually "highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve," according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers the program.

Between 80 and 88 percent of Emory College’s undergraduate students described their engagement in community service activities in the senior exit survey conducted annually over the past five academic years. Smaller percentages of those students moved on during their college experience to community-engaged learning courses, participated in community-based internship or fellowship programs, and conducted original research that actively addressed community problems in new ways.

"Emory is honored to be named once again to the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service, further underscoring our commitment to serving in ways that truly make a difference in the larger community," says Emory President James Wagner. "This recognition underscores Emory’s ongoing commitment to promoting civic engagement through scholarship, learning, and service — enabling our students to integrate what they learn in the classroom with what they learn in the world around us."

In 2013 and 2010, Emory was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, with Distinction. In 2008, the university was recognized with the Presidential Award for General Community Service, the highest federal recognition given to colleges and universities for their commitment to community service. The honor roll program was launched in 2006. The process of documenting community engagement throughout the university was led by Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships.

Project SHINE

The university cited several exemplary projects in its honor roll application, including Project SHINE (Students Helping In Naturalization and English). This initiative engages Emory students with metro Atlanta’s rapidly growing immigrant and refugee population — new Americans learning English, studying to become U.S. citizens, or enrolled in school. Students serve as tutors or teacher's assistants in English as a Second Language classes, citizenship preparation classes, or after-school programs.

Project SHINE maintains partnerships with 10 metro-area organizations that conduct classes and host tutoring sessions, including community centers, primary schools and technical colleges. Since the initiative was established in 2004 as the local affiliate of the nationwide Project SHINE organization, more than 1,000 Emory volunteers have assisted thousands of immigrants and refugees. Last academic year, 256 volunteers worked with more than twice that many new Americans. A Project SHINE affiliate at Emory’s Oxford Campus, about 40 miles from the university’s main campus in Atlanta, partners with a local organization to provide volunteer tutors for dozens of elementary school children of lower-income immigrants and refugees.

Ethics and Servant Leadership Program

Emory cited two other initiatives also in the application’s general service section. The Ethics and Servant Leadership Program, one of several initiatives offered by the Center for Ethics at Emory, prepares students to serve and lead for the common good, promotes ethically engaged practice throughout the Emory enterprise, and supports university students, staff, and faculty in developing the commitment and skills for leadership that serves community.

Contextual Education I and II courses at Emory’s Candler School of Theology

The Contextual Education I and II courses at Emory’s Candler School of Theology combine academic instruction with formation in ministry. While few schools place first-year students in such settings, Con Ed does so through its strong partnerships with churches, hospitals, a women's prison, homeless shelters, social service, advocacy and other organizations.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the president's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.