Community Engagement Coordinating Council
About the Community Engagement Coordinating Council (CECC)
The University is among 30 institutions in The Research University Community Engagement Network.A top-tier goal of the University’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2024 is to “Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact.” Previous work toward this end garnered ND’s receipt of the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement elective classification.The University of Notre Dame embraces its identity as a longstanding anchor institution in the local community. This identity is claimed directly in our guiding mission statement, as we seek to foster among students “a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many.” In day to day operations, the University’s budget allocations, classroom and research initiatives, and public leadership consistently demonstrate the institutional commitment to community engagement for the common good. A few examples:
- The Office of the Provost created a part-time position, Director of Academic Community Engagement.
- In the last several years, additional leadership positions have been created—in the Office of Public Affairs and the College of Engineering, for example—to further support and coordinate community engagement.
- Toward this end, an active Community Engagement Coordinating Council provides for university-wide coordination of engagement efforts.
Resource commitments to a community service-orientation abound, but a few top-level examples are shared here. Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns has served as the focus of community-based learning since 1983. As a University institute with a full-time staff of 35 reporting directly to the Office of the Provost, this unit’s mission is to facilitate community-based learning, research, and service informed by Catholic social tradition. Since 2001, the University’s Office of Public Affairs has operated the Robinson Community Learning Center (with 9 staff), an inclusive, local community anchor serving as a hub for education, service, community-building, and personal development programs that enhance the community’s quality of life.
The culture of service—built on convictions inherent to our mission—is highly integrated across campus. For example, student government, campus ministry and all 31 residence halls facilitate an array of community service. Over 80% of Notre Dame students participate in some form of service learning or service during their undergraduate career; hundreds of students each year participate in courses labeled ZCSC, designating community-based learning or research. Since 1980, the Summer Service Learning Program has provided more than 4,000 scholarships to undergraduate students, who serve for eight weeks in the communities of Notre Dame Alumni Clubs. Social Concerns Seminars, in which undergraduates spend fall and spring breaks offering assistance in Appalachia and other impoverished areas, are one of the most comprehensive service-learning programs in higher education. Commitment to service continues after graduation: approximately 10% of each year’s class spends a year or more in full-time volunteer service after graduation.
In recent years, Notre Dame has redoubled its efforts to make its community engagement posture more strategic, responsive, and attuned to measuring impact. Over the past three years, three separate inquiries into community engagement provided diverse stakeholder input. The investigations tapped over 400 campus and community-based individuals, resulting in a campus-wide Community Engagement Strategic Plan. Moreover, recently spearheaded by the Office of Public Affairs, development and implementation of the EngageND database is an important step forward in our ability to document community engagement and monitor its impact. In 2013, ND faculty and staff reported over 7,500 participants were involved in 315 projects, with community impacts including increased funding & capacity-building, positive media coverage, skills training, or enhanced quality of life.
Community-Engaged Scholarship opportunities are presented on the Office of the Provost website.
Carnegie Foundation: Definition of Community Engagement: Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.