BY ISN STAFF | September 29, 2016
In spring of 2016, U.S. News & World Report surveyed college presidents, chief academic officers, deans of students, and deans of admissions from more than 1,500 schools, inviting nominations of institutions with exceptional service-learning programs.
Three Jesuit universities, Fairfield University in Connecticut, Seattle University in Washington, and University of Scranton in Pennsylvania were among the top-ranking schools nationwide, providing an exceptional witness to the Jesuit educational mission of the integration of academics, social responsibility, and faith promoting justice.
“At Seattle University, service learning is a way for us to fully embody our mission of empowering leaders for a just and humane world,” explains Kent Koth, executive director of the university’s Center for Community Engagement. “We seek to empower not just our students but, perhaps more importantly, all those we partner with in our local community. Through this work we recognize that we all—campus and community—have assets to contribute to fostering positive social change.”
University of Scranton
“Service is an entirely integrated part of what we do here,” shares Patricia Vaccaro, director of the University of Scranton’s Center for Service and Social Justice. Through service components integrated into many academic areas, service requirements for student club funding, immersion trip programs, and the F.I.R.S.T. program, offering freshman the opportunity to engage in service in the Scranton community prior to their first semester of college, students are met with ample opportunities to integrate service into their education. “Organizations and programs in the city of Scranton tell us that they would not exist, or have to close for the summer, without University of Scranton students,” explains Vaccaro. “We aim to meet real needs in our community.”
Fairfield University’s service-learning programs offer a plethora of approaches to students, with approximately 45 service-learning courses offered each year within a variety of academic disciplines, a Service Learning Associates program for student leaders, and a course development grant program for faculty. Melissa Quan, director of the Office of Service Learning and associate director of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University, emphasizes the university’s “work with many different community partners to facilitate service learning, always with an eye toward reciprocity and sustainability.”
Learn more about Fairfield University’s service learning opportunities: