Dominican named to President's Community Honor Roll

For the third year in a row, Dominican University of California has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service for its commitment to and achievement in community service.

Dominican was cited on the President’s Honor Roll in 2007 and 2008. The Honor Roll is designed to increase public awareness of the contributions that colleges and their students make to local communities and the nation as a whole.

 Created in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university  can achieve for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

 “It’s a recognition of the collaborative work that faculty and students are doing with our community partners. It means we’re engaging our students in service-learning classes that link academic content to important social issues,” said Julia Van der Ryn, director of service-learning at Dominican.

 “We’ve created a program that’s really functioning very intentionally and responsibly. We have cultivated great reciprocal relationships with schools and non-profit organizations and are working together to insure that there are positive outcomes for all involved.”

Dominican launched its service-learning program in 2004. Supported by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation, the program has had more than 1,300 students participate in courses with service-learning components.  Dominican’s program currently works in partnership with more than 30 community organizations and county agencies, including the Marin AIDS Project, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, MarinLink, Canal Alliance, Bahia Vista Elementary After School, Garden of Eatin, the Marin County School Volunteers and the Marin County Office of Education’s County Community School, a flagship program for Dominican.

“You measure the success of the program by the fact that our students are having incredible learning experiences and our community partners continue to be enthusiastic about the contributions students make to their missions,”  Van der Ryn said. “The one thing about service-learning is it is an educational endeavor so our students are out there  learning from and with the community and the community partners are incredible co-educators. Many of our students continue to work with our partners after their course commitment is finished. They really get involved and this experience gives new meaning to their education.”

The 2009 President’s Honor Roll cited six universities out of 742 for “Presidential” awards while Dominican was one of  32 colleges or universities in California -- including Stanford, USC, and Cal Poly Pomona -- that were awarded “Honor Roll” recognition.

The awards will be presented at both the American Council of Education annual meeting in Phoenix in March and at the National Conference of Volunteering and Service Conference in New York City in June.

The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of 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.