Walking through a Dayton neighborhood on a sunny day, Philip Ferrari and Elyse Giardullo were giving back to the community they love, while enhancing their research and leadership skills.
They were the ideal pair to lead a team of 16 Wright State University students conducting a Dayton property survey, in a partnership with the university, the city of Dayton, and the Thriving Communities Institute. Giardullo recently earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Wright State and Ferrari is pursuing his, while working as a graduate research assistant for the Office of Service-Learning and
Using mobile devices, students took photos and visually assessed occupancy, condition, and use of approximately 75,000 parcels. “Our research will allow city planners to address blight, vacancy, and other concerns that city officials and residents have identified,” explained Giardullo.
“We are very passionate about the impact this work will have on urban residents,” Ferrari said. “Having both been born and raised in Dayton, we want the best for our city.”
Wright State University’s long history of community engagement is being recognized nationally once again. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Wright State to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification.
“This acknowledges our commitment to serving others that is embedded in the very heart and soul of this institution,” said Wright State President David R. Hopkins. “It’s the very fabric of who we are.”
Wright State is among just 83 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the classification for the first time, bringing the total to 361 nationwide.
Community engagement is everywhere on campus. Many initiatives enhance the physical, educational, economic, and social well-being of our local and global communities. Academic service-learning courses, internships, and co-ops are mutually beneficial to students, as well as organizations and businesses.
“The Carnegie designation is recognition of the exemplary ways in which faculty, students, and staff achieve a critical part of the mission of a modern public university—to transform the communities that we serve,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president for multicultural affairs and community engagement. Wright State also has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the past five years.
A total of 12,431 Wright State students were involved in academic service-learning and community service during the 2013–14 school year (the most recent data available), resulting in 708,431 service hours. More than 100 designated service-learning courses or sections are offered annually. Many more courses offer community engagement components.
“In addition to being a testament to what we have already done, the Carnegie Classification illustrates our commitment to sustaining and expanding mutually beneficial partnerships that enhance the academic enterprise while addressing the most pressing problems and opportunities in our communities,” Barrett added.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning.
A FEW OF THE MANY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVES INCLUDE:
- A Youth and Community Engagement minor has been established.
- Regional Summits are held at the Dayton and Lake Campuses to discover how the university can better serve its communities.
- The Center for Healthy Communities collaborates with dozens of partners to improve the health and well-being of the community, educate its health professionals, and serve as a force for change.
- The student-led Raiderthon dance marathon raised more than $61,000 for Dayton Children’s Hospital.
- The Staff Advisory Council’s We Serve U initiative encourages Wright State staff to devote time and skills for community engagement.
- Wright State students provide more than 6,000 hours of tutoring to Dayton Public School children each year.
- All students in the Boonshoft School of Medicine engage in service-learning, from health clinics for the underserved and health education classes for K–12 students, to medical missions abroad.
- School of Professional Psychology students regularly provide more than 45,000 hours of clinical services to mostly underserved populations in the greater Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus metropolitan areas.
- Every varsity sports team completes community service, such as visiting children in the hospital, mentoring, collaborations, and fundraising.
- Through a global health service-learning course in Tanzania, nursing students participated in both experiential and observational learning while visiting health clinics.
- Wright STEPP (Science, Technology, and Engineering Preparatory Program) provides academic enrichment and tuition scholarships to students from Dayton Public and Springfield City Schools.
- The Center for Urban and Public Affairs works with local governments on strategic plans, needs assessments, economic impact studies, and surveys.
- Dayton Means Internships, Co-ops, and Jobs, a consortium of academic, business, and community partners funded by the Ohio
Board of Regents, focuses on Ohio work-
- The Small Business Development Center offers comprehensive business management and education services.
- Engineering students helped develop a low-cost digital X-ray imaging device that was taken to a small rural clinic in Malawi.