Dominican Honored for Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service has named Dominican University of California to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth.

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 innovativeness 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 launched its service-learning program in 2004. Since then, more than 600 students have participated in courses with service-learning components.

"Through service-learning, our students are enriching their learning by bridging theory to practice and demonstrating their compassion, commitment, and creativity by serving as mentors, tutors, and health workers said Julia Van der Ryn, director of service-learning at Dominican.

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, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Marin AIDS Project, Homeward Bound,  Marin County Youth Court, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the California Reentry Program at San Quentin, and the Marin Workforce Investment Board.

One of Dominican's newest partnerships is with the Marin County Office of Education's County Community School. Dominican students are working as mentors and tutors to high-school students in the Youth Empowerment and Equity Tutoring Program. This program is designed to provide one-on-one academic enrichment while raising self-esteem and the confidence so needed by this marginalized population of teens.

The Honor Roll is jointly sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, through its Learn and Serve America program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Overall, the Community Service Honor Roll awarded six schools with Presidential Awards.  In addition, four schools were recognized as Special Achievement Award winners, 127 as Honor Roll with Distinction members, and 391 schools as Honor Roll members.

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