We know who we are, but it is always nice to be acknowledged. Over the break it was announced that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching had selected Wesleyan for inclusion in the 2008 Community Engagement Classification in the category of Curricular Engagement, Outreach and Partnerships. Here’s what the Foundation had to say: “Your application documented excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”
For generations, Wesleyan students, faculty, staff and alumni have connected their educational work to making positive contributions to the world around them. Here we have long believed in the power of a liberal arts education not only in helping one to live a more reflective and considered life as an individual, but also in enabling one to engage with one’s community in effective and generous ways. Our student volunteers at our Green Street Art Center, our tutors at Traverse Square in Middletown, and our teachers in prison programs are just a few examples of public service at Wesleyan. I have no doubt that we at Wesleyan — students, faculty and staff — will continue to work with our partners, our neighbors and our friends to connect our efforts here to productive work beyond the campus.
One of the new vehicles for studying public service generally is the nascent Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. Led by Don Moon, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professor in the College of Social Studies, the Allbritton Center will bring together social scientists and activists, humanists, journalists, and elected officials to study complex social problems and the types of engagement used to address them.
As many of you may have heard, the Allbritton Center, located in Davenport (Scott Labs), will have a congenial neighbor. Recently Wesleyan received a significant gift from John Shapiro ’74 and Shonni Silverberg ’76 to establish a Writing Center, which will be the home of a Certificate Program in creative writing (fiction, poetry and non-fiction). Writing and the study of public life will live together in Davenport. The necessary renovations there begin presently, and we expect to open the building in the fall of 2009. These new centers, to be housed in one of our most beautiful and historic buildings, are wonderful additions to Wesleyan. We are grateful to our donors and eager to begin learning from the work of our students and faculty in these dynamic and noteworthy areas.
[tags] Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, community engagement, Green Street Arts Center, Traverse Square, prison programs, Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, Don Moon, John Shapiro ’74, Shonni Silverberg ’76, Writing Center, Davenport renovations [/tags]