UCLA in the Community

UCLA’s high level of community engagement wins recognition by Carnegie Foundation

Cynthia Carvajal leads DACA eligibility workshop
Amy Pojar

Astin Civic Engagement Scholar Cynthia Carvajal leads a workshop for undocumented high school students to inform them about eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Each year, UCLA students, staff and faculty perform hundreds of thousands of hours of community service. About 400 community-engaged courses are offered to students. And UCLA's community partnerships are transforming lives at home and abroad. Those are some of the reasons why the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has named UCLA a recipient of its 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

In 2006 when this distinction for outstanding community-based curricula, outreach and partnerships was first awarded to universities, UCLA was the only UC campus among its inaugural recipients. This year, UC Davis and UC Merced also received this honor, which was given to a total of 240 American colleges and universities.

“This recognition reflects what has long been a priority at UCLA — partnering with the community to help address some of our most difficult issues and improve day-to-day life,” said professor Patricia Turner, vice provost of undergraduate education in the UCLA College.

Turner chaired a group that prepared UCLA’s application package. The campus data was submitted by the UCLA Center for Community Learning, which encourages civic engagement for undergraduates and faculty by finding innovative ways to integrate teaching, research and service alongside their community partners. The center also oversees 35 undergraduate classes that provide 1,500 students with community service learning each year, and hundreds of academic internships each year.

The UCLA community is invited to celebrate this achievement on Feb. 5 at “Engaging Los Angeles,” which will be to be held at the Royce Hall West Lobby and Terrace from 4-6 p.m. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by Friday, Jan. 30.

Among other things, the UCLA nomination highlighted UCLA’s public scholarship efforts, its support for veterans, early academic outreach, and myriad health care and disease prevention programs provided to those at home and abroad.

It also detailed more than a dozen community partnership programs, including Operation Mend, a UCLA Health System program that provides plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as comprehensive medical and mental health support to U.S. military personnel. Also highlighted were AMP!, an arts-based, peer-education program, led by the UCLA Art and Global Health Center, that teaches youth in Los Angeles schools about sexual health, and the National Dream Summer Internship Program, a partnership involving the UCLA Labor Center and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, that provides leadership development and work opportunities for undocumented students from across the nation.

Unlike the foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, the Community Engagement Classification is “elective.” That is, institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. According to the Carnegie Foundation, this approach enables it to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.

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