In recognition of the university’s commitment to community engagement and public service, FIU was recognized as the Engaged Campus of the Year for 2017 at the Florida Campus Compact Annual Awards Gala on Nov. 16.
The award recognizes institutions that advance the purposes of higher education while improving community life and educating students for civil and social responsibility.
“FIU’s recognition is a testament to the impact work of our students, faculty and staff,” said Vice President for Engagement Saif Y. Ishoof.
“Our stakeholders embrace the most complex challenges in our community and that happens in collaboration with leaders, businesses, social enterprises and local governments who share our commitment to making a measurable difference. FIU knows that our engagement mission can define the trajectory of our community and for this reason we see the three letters of FIU as meaning the #FutureIsUs.”
Since its founding, part of FIU’s mission is collaborative engagement with local and global communities. With a majority of FIU’s students being from the local community and staying after graduation, their civic knowledge and career readiness is critical to Miami’s future success.
The FIU Office of Engagement focuses on building sophisticated triple-win partnerships that benefit the partner, the university and, most importantly, the community. This results in partnerships that aim to build strategic K-12 through career pathways, experiential learning opportunities for students and multi-stakeholder coalition building to tackle complex challenges like youth gun violence.
The FIU Center for Leadership and Service focuses on growing student civic knowledge and experience via robust service learning programs that are both local and global and supporting students as they build new civic or social innovation ventures.
“This is an amazing honor for FIU,” said Patricia T. Lopez-Guerrero, director of the Center for Leadership and Service. “I’m thrilled that FIU has received this award and to acknowledge our entire campus community as leaders and advocates as we work together to create solutions for our South Florida communities.
“At the Center for Leadership & Service in the Division of Student Affairs, we are committed to student success through co-curricular opportunities to promote lifelong active citizenship and emerging student leaders. I’m incredibly proud of our students, faculty, staff and partners who helped us achieve this recognition.”
FIU’s nomination highlighted a number of community engagement initiatives led by numerous institutes and centers throughout FIU, including the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP initiative – the nation’s first program in a college of medicine which provides health care and social services to underserved households in local communities. The program is considered a “community classroom” for developing socially responsible, community engaged physicians.
ACCESS, the university’s partnership with M-DCPS, received recognition as a partnership that produces measurable results while enhancing higher education. The partnership has demonstrated a number of significant results, including increased numbers of students earning college credit through dual enrollment courses, improved support services for students with ADHD and other behavioral issues and enhanced professional development for teachers in STEM subjects.
One of the partnership’s signature initiatives, The Education Effect, has dramatically improved student outcomes at Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Liberty City, including increased student test scores, graduation rates and college admissions. The partnership, lauded by M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho as a national model for school transformation, recently launched at a third school – Jesse J. McCrary Elementary School – in Little Haiti.
Global Learning for Global Citizenship was also noted in the nomination as a force-multiplier in enabling students to achieve global awareness, global perspective and global engagement in addition to supporting faculty in creating more inclusive and creative learning environments both inside the classroom and out in the community.
FIU’s newest designation as an AshokaU Changemaker Campus was also honored. This initiative involves an ecosystem of curricular and co-curricular support for social innovation and entrepreneurism available to every student.
“Our mission is deeply linked to our geography and our demography. Indeed, our geography and our demography are our destiny,” said FIU President, Mark B. Rosenberg. “We understand that we have the ability to provide hope and opportunity to our community. We want to use our strengths for good; that has been true since the beginning.”