Washington Center to honor UNC Charlotte for its civic engagement efforts

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

UNC Charlotte is among five colleges and universities selected to share the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award presented by the Washington Center. Honorees were selected based upon their leadership and innovation in civic engagement.

“UNC Charlotte has been fortunate in recent years to have received considerable regional and national attention through various awards and recognitions,” said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “And while each is meaningful, this one is especially gratifying because the award criteria are at the very heart of what UNC Charlotte is about. Our mission statement clearly articulates civic engagement as a primary institutional emphasis, so this particular recognition validates the work we’ve already done as well as the continued focus on engagement as we move forward.”

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars established this award to celebrate institutions in higher education where the commitment to leadership extends into civic roles in the communities beyond their own campuses. The award aims to highlight, in particular, institutions that are forging transformational partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

“It is very impressive to see the unique and innovative ways this year’s winners have worked with their partners to promote the greater good,” said Chris Norton, president of the Washington Center. “These are important models of civic leadership for their students to learn from and for all of us to emulate.”

UNC Charlotte Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden will accept the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award during the Washington Center’s annual awards luncheon on Sept. 26, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

As North Carolina’s urban research university, UNC Charlotte prepares its students for lives of personal success and civic responsibility in the global environment of the 21st century, and community engagement is deeply integrated into the academic experience.   

The University has developed a number of programs to help faculty more fully integrate civic engagement into the curriculum; these include the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Engaged Scholarship and Community Partnership Symposium, the Service Learning Showcase, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund grants and the Provost’s Award for Community Engagement.

In support of its nomination for the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award, the University used the Charlotte Action Research Project (CHARP) to emphasize the depth and breadth of UNC Charlotte’s efforts to enhance the region’s economic, civic and cultural vitality. For almost a decade, University staff and graduate researchers have led this project. As an asset-based community planning initiative, CHARP deploys the University’s strengths to build the infrastructure for the residents of five marginalized neighborhoods to be able to advocate for themselves and create sustainable coalitions to implement change.

The other academic institutions receiving the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award are Buffalo State, SUNY; Marquette University; Purdue University; and the University of San Diego. Leaders in the field of civic engagement comprised the awards selection committee; they were Mary Marcy, president, Dominican University of California and committee chair; Bobby Hackett, president, Bonner Foundation; Heather Smith, board member, Rock the Vote; and Nancy Thomas, director, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, Tufts University.