Presidential Civic and Community Engagement Initiative
President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. has launched the Presidential Civic and Community Engagement Initiative to advance Merrimack’s commitment to the local community.
About the Initiative
The Presidential Civic and Community Engagement Initiative was established in spring 2021. Its goal is to push Merrimack College to find new ways to bring together the resources of the College and the wider community to help solve a number of problems, including:
- food insecurity
- unequal learning
- health inequities
- environmental sustainability
Through the initiative, President Hopey seeks to leverage the College’s mission, talent, passion and resources to elevate its impact to more impactful and sustainable levels.
Merrimack’s Commitment to the Community
As a College in the Catholic, Augustinian tradition, Merrimack has a long-standing history of being dedicated to its local community, neighbors and region. We support a wide spectrum of external programs and activities across the Merrimack Valley, especially within the city of Lawrence, and towns of Andover and North Andover. Merrimack faculty, staff and students work with our partners in community-focused teaching, research and practice.
Despite Merrimack’s strong history of caring, contribution and partnership, the inequities and disparities in our neighboring communities and beyond have deepened as a result of COVID-19.
The charge of the Presidential Civic and Community Engagement Initiative is to bring the campus together to harness the collective strengths and resources of Merrimack’s community. We aim to take on the responsibility of working in partnership with our communities to help build capacity and realize our fullest collective potential.
Goals of the Initiative
During the spring 2021 semester, the initiative will be specifically focused on:
- Conducting a comprehensive inventory of all external community-related work being done by faculty, staff and students.
- Assessing the College’s current impacts as a campus in the community.
- Aligning community engagement efforts with the Agenda for the Future – establishing a series of community-focused priorities that advance the institutional strategic plan in the form of a civic action plan.
- Raising the visibility of civic and community engagement work.
- Identifying and beginning to apply for suitable external grant opportunities to support the institutionalization of community engagement as well as initiatives and research that advance the College’s commitments to our communities.
Associate Professor of Education, Elaine Ward, has been appointed to lead the Presidential Civic and Community Engagement Initiative and will oversee the work of the Civic and Community Engagement Advisory Council.
Dr. Ward’s expertise is in the institutionalization of civic engagement and has published on, and consulted with campuses nationally and internationally on their civic engagement efforts. Dr. Ward serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement and is a two-term board member of the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement.