Dominican University of California and the City of Novato are creating a unique scholarship program in which students will receive a high quality college education while engaging with the community through local government. Students will gain both the intellectual capacity and the practical experience necessary to serve as informed, engaged citizens in their own community.
The Reimagining Citizenship program will enable undergraduate students to serve the City of Novato while earning a degree from Dominican. Dominican will provide each qualified Reimagining Citizenship Scholar with up to $100,000 in scholarship funding over four years. The City of Novato will provide a $10,000 stipend for work to be completed over two sequential summers.
The program is open to high school students who are residents of Novato. Students attending any public, private, or home school program are eligible to apply. Students in any major can participate in the program. The community engagement component will begin the summer of 2018. The initial cohort will enter Dominican University as freshmen in fall 2018.
This combination of college learning with community engagement positions students to understand both the value of a college career and the value of public service. The program aligns with Dominican’s distinctive commitment to the Dominican Experience, which links the college-to-career experience through programs that prepare students for today’s complex, changing, and diverse world.
The program grew from conversations between Dominican President Mary B. Marcy and Novato Mayor Josh Fryday about the importance of educating students to address and solve social issues at the local level. The program is being designed to serve as a model for future public sector/private sector partnerships focused on education and community engagement.
“Both in the classroom and through their engagement with the city, the students will learn to identify and address the most important issues facing our community,” Marcy says. “Our communities are the tapestry of the nation, and local engagement and education will lead to a more informed democracy.”
Reimagining Citizenship will encourage students to engage in a meaningful way on the issues that impact our communities, Fryday says “Government has to provide opportunities for service,” Fryday says. “This Program unleashes the spirit of service by providing our young people the opportunity to work in and give back to their communities while attaining a college education,” he says. “Our country needs to reimagine what it means to be an engaged citizen in our democracy, and it starts here at home.”
Statement from U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman from Marin:
“Now, more than ever, local governments need to provide opportunities for citizens to help create solutions to local issues. A community thrives when its citizens are engaged, and drawing a larger and more diverse range of engaged citizens into community participation is critical for our democracy.
"This is why I applaud President Marcy and Dominican University and Mayor Fryday and the City of Novato for investing in a unique and innovative program to promote active citizenship and prepare students for successful careers.
"This unique program – a potential model for other communities - is about investing in the future of America. It should serve as a national model for public/private sector partnerships focused on creating more engaged citizens and education opportunities."
The incoming students will choose from more than 30 majors. Each student also will receive credit toward Dominican’s minor in Community Action and Social Change. The minor provides students from all disciplines and interests a path toward deeper understanding of issues affecting communities and the nation.
"The Reimagining Citizenship program is an outstanding example of a community collaboration between Marin County's only four-year university and the City and students of Novato," says Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools. "The program not only provides opportunities for students to engage in meaningful work in their community, but also makes college a more affordable option for many Novato students."
The summer projects will give students significant insight into specific municipal departments, including Central Administration, Public Works, and Parks, Recreation & Community Services. All Reimagining Citizenship Scholars will be assigned Dominican advisors and mentors who will work closely with them throughout their college careers.
The Dominican Experience is an educational model that draws on existing institutional strengths to create a robust student experience that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional education. The Dominican Experience is designed so that all students receive personalized coaching, work closely with faculty, engage with the larger community, carry out a significant project, and create a digital portfolio of their work and experiences.