“This designation is important to us because it is a major step in the accomplishment of one of the goals of our strategic plan, The Will to Excel.” – President Br. Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D

1/7/2011 – Philadelphia, PA – In recognition of La Salle University’s successful partnership with its local and global communities, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected La Salle for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification.

According to Carnegie Foundation President Anthony Bryk, La Salle was selected due to its ability to demonstrate a mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement. La Salle is one of only 115 schools nationwide earning this distinction in 2010 and joins 196 additional schools awarded this distinction during the Foundation’s 2006 and 2008 selection process.

“Receiving the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation is both gratifying and humbling. This recognition is due to the efforts of many students, faculty, staff, and community partners in living the mission of La Salle University,” said La Salle President Brother Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D. “Community engagement is a part of who we are as an institution and how we define ourselves as Lasallians.”

As part of the Carnegie Foundation selection process, the University submitted a 40-page application demonstrating a wide range of examples of institutionalized practices of community engagement.

One way La Salle engages in the community is through community service and service-learning courses. Last year, La Salle students volunteering in community service projects and in service-learning courses contributed 50,000 hours to the local community last year, which equals more than $1 million of in-kind support, according to the U.S. government’s calculation.

Some examples of La Salle’s community engagement—locally and beyond are:

  • La Salle’s Speech-Language-Hearing Science students and faculty provide hearing assessments and screenings for local preschool-aged children in partnership with Headstart. The St. Blasé and St. Francis Speech Language Hearing Clinics are located on La Salle’s campus, serving the local community at little or no cost.
  • Project Teamwork, under La Salle’s Athletics department, works with numerous community organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Logan Elementary School, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Student-athletes and coaches serve as mentors and role models to youth, providing academic, social, and emotional support.
  • The Fellowship of Community and University Services (FOCUS) is an umbrella group that oversees La Salle’s 20 student service groups. FOCUS helps student groups determine service mission and goals, recruit volunteers, and network with external organizations. Over the past year, FOCUS alone contributed $400,000 to the local economy in in-kind support.
  • For more than a decade, La Salle students have traveled to Harlan, Ky. during their Spring Break as part of Project Appalachia. The service trip exposes students to the culture and the underlying causes of the region’s economic hardships.
  • La Salle’s Neighborhood Nursing Center provides access to public health, educational and community services to underserved populations in the region. Emphasis is placed on health promotion, injury prevention, screenings, detections, and referrals.
  • There are 42 service-learning courses across 13 departments actively engaged with the community. One example is the University’s Writers Matter (formerly Urban Writers) program, where La Salle students serve as tutors and mentors for inner-city middle-school students encouraging them to express themselves through writing while learning critical writing skills.
  • The Neighbor-to-Neighbor organization provides much-needed support to the elderly and disabled residents in La Salle’s immediate neighborhood. Students build relationships with their neighbors by doing yard work, painting, planting flowers, and other household chores. The program received an award from the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Social Justice for Outstanding Social Justice Collaboration.
  • La Salle’s Nonprofit Center provides the region’s non-profit organizations with consulting, training, and leadership development. During the 2009-2010 academic year, 1,644 local non-profit staff, board members, and other volunteers attended the Center’s education offerings.

“It is heartening to see this level of commitment and activity,” said Bryk. “Clearly, higher education is making real strides in finding ways to engage with and contribute to important community agendas.”