FIU: Engaged in finding solutions

Carnegie designation ratifies historical focus

Florida International University has attained the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The Community Engagement Classification is awarded to institutions that demonstrate collaboration with their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

“For more than four decades, FIU has been locally and globally engaged,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “This new classification recognizes the efforts of our faculty to direct their research and creative energies to address key issues in the community.”

The Community Engagement Classification comes less than a year after Rosenberg established the Office of Engagement and named Divina Grossman to lead it as FIU’s first vice president for engagement.

“When we started documenting our engagement in the local, regional, national and international community, we found that we were much more active than even we anticipated,” said Grossman, who led the application process. “The process of applying for the Community Engagement Classification was valuable in teaching us about the richness of our own institution.”

Last year, thousands of students and hundreds of faculty and staff collaborated with members of the community on a range of issues, contributing more than 550,000 service hours to hundreds of projects. Here are some examples of FIU’s community engagement:

The Florida Coastal Everglades (FCE) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program includes a team of 72 senior scientists and 59 FIU students who study how hydrology, climate change and human activities affect ecosystem patterns in the regions where freshwater and saltwater mix in the Florida Coastal Everglades.

The FIU Honors College launched a sweeping partnership in 2009 with the neighboring City of Sweetwater, through which students participate in diverse projects, including tutoring children, helping to launch an athletic program for girls and working with the elderly.

The Lehman Center for Transportation Research is working with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority to help address South Florida’s traffic challenges. One of the projects focuses on the development of an advanced bus rapid transit system along State Road 836 (Dolphin Expressway).  Another proposes several Advanced Transit Oriented Developments (Advanced TODs) where Advanced Transit Stops (ATS) can be located.

Green Family NeighborhoodHELP™ is a centerpiece of the curriculum at FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Medical students partner with colleagues in nursing, social work, public health, law and other disciplines to work with a household in an underserved neighborhood. Medical students work with the household for three years, helping families address societal and environmental challenges that impact their health.

Please click here to watch short videos about these projects. Many other projects are listed on the Engagement website.

Today FIU joined about 300 institutions nationwide that hold the Community Engagement Classification. Others in Florida include Florida State University, University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and Miami Dade College.

Media Contact:  Maydel Santana-Bravo at 305-348-1555.

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