Sometimes it’s about community service.
And that’s the way it should be.
Today’s colleges and universities that teach their students service-learning disciplines are the schools destined to become a part of, and more directly involved in, the communities that host their growing campuses.
One such school is Cleveland State Community College.
Our newspaper is not the first to notice the two-year school’s commitment to community and our people, as evidenced by a recent national recognition.
The Corporation for National and Community Service has honored CSCC as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteerism, service-learning and civic engagement. The recent award admits Cleveland State to a prestigious and lofty group — the school has been named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
The national organization’s reasoning for the CSCC distinction is simple. Cleveland State is a proven leader in engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the Cleveland and Bradley County community.
The widely respected CNCS has administered this impressive Honor Roll since 2006. This year, the organization admitted 641 colleges and universities in recognition of their impact on community issues ranging from literacy to neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.
It is no accident Cleveland State is among those colleges recognized.
The school’s Service-Learning Program has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. It has been led by Susan Webb-Curtis, director of Cooperative Education and Service-Learning. Webb-Curtis was recently awarded the 2010 Tennessee Treasure Award for her service-learning efforts at the local college.
When an individual’s excellence is honored, it is inevitable that programming attributed to that person’s creative mind and professional talents will follow.
This was the case at Cleveland State. Since Webb-Curtis assumed responsibility for service-learning, classes have been developed to provide students with the opportunity to connect what they are learning in the classroom with service in the community. These classes are an instrumental component of CSCC’s endeavors to promote civic responsibility to its students campuswide.
She hasn’t stopped with the classroom. The award recipient has worked to build an infrastructure for service-learning at the school using appropriate tools like a website, brochure, newsletter and video; and, she continues to work to identify resources for faculty and to develop community partnerships.
Colleges and universities should never adopt a standoffish attitude toward their surrounding communities.
Originators of the phrase “college town” would assuredly applaud the expansion of their ideal by those who appropriately believe that community involvement is a pivotal part of the learning process — especially in the minds of young people who one day will lead those communities.
We applaud creative leaders like Susan Webb-Curtis.
And we thank college presidents like CSCC’s Dr. Carl Hite who are developing them.
Higher learning is still about “acing” the tests.
But now they are tests of the heart, not just of the mind.