Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
Dominican increased its focus on community service in 2004 when the University launched its service-learning program. In 2006, 180 students served in the community through 11 courses. In 2007, 364 students participated in service-learning through 18 courses. In 2008, 406 students participated in service-learning through 22 courses.
“Service-learning helps to prepare our students for a challenging and complex world,” said Julia van der Ryn, director of service-learning at Dominican.
“While enriching course content through partnership with our highly knowledgeable community partners, this experience also engenders greater awareness of vital social issues and root causes.”
In 2007, Dominican’s service-learning program established student leader positions for students who demonstrated commitment to their work with particular community partners. These students are liaisons between faculty and community partners and participate in the development and implementation of partnered initiatives.
Supported at Dominican in part by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation, service-learning is an educational approach that integrates meaningful community work with the academic curriculum. Students apply academic skills and critical thinking to address societal issues. Dominican’s program works in partnership with some 30 community organizations and county agencies, including Canal Alliance, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, MarinLink, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Marin AIDS Project, Homeward Bound, Marin County Community School, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the California Reentry Program at San Quentin, and the Marin Workforce Investment Board.
“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute Dominican University of California for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”
Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll with Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.
The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.
Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.