The Carnegie Community Engagement Classification has been the leading framework for institutional assessment and recognition of community engagement in U.S. higher education for the past 14 years. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching aims to build a field around the use of improvement science and networked improvement communities to solve long-standing inequities in educational outcomes.
“Merrimack College is delighted to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its deep commitment to working with community partners in order to address societal problems and increase our collective impact to improve the lives of many, especially in the cities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover,” said Merrimack’s President, Dr. Christopher E. Hopey. “Our institutional commitment to service and community engagement is born from our Augustinian identity and values where we continually endeavor to foster a just, peaceful and sustainable world. What’s more is that these partnerships are absolutely critical to the education of our students as future engaged citizens.”
This designation speaks to Merrimack’s strong history of community engagement and efforts to create collective impacts. The College supports a wide spectrum of programs and activities across the Merrimack Valley, especially within the city of Lawrence, in the areas of teaching, research and student engagement that seeks to deepen and sustain external partnerships and advance community capacity building and change.
Each institution awarded the Classification undergoes a process of self-study which is then assessed by a national review committee. Carnegie deems classified institutions as exemplars in publicly engaged teaching and research.
“We are enriched by our relationships with the community. This designation recognizes and celebrates the work that our faculty, staff, students and community partners do, and have done together since Merrimack’s founding,” said Mary McHugh, executive director of civic and community engagement at Merrimack. “Through President Hopey’s leadership and our institutional commitment to civic and community engagement, the College will continue to explore new and exciting ways to deepen our existing partnerships and create new ones to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Examples of College-wide civic and community engagement efforts include:
- Merrimack is recognized by the state of Massachusetts Early College Program for its work in conjunction with Abbott Lawrence Academy in Lawrence, MA preparing underrepresented high school students for the rigors of college academics at no cost to their families, while at the same time earning college credits. Each year, Merrimack’s Pioneer Scholars program awards 10 full scholarships to top students from each class of the Early College Program.
- The Financial Capability Center teaches financial management to Business students while training them to serve as financial coaches in the community.
- The Stevens Service Learning Center engages more than 18,000 hours and 1100 students of community service each year.
- Hands to Help is Merrimack’s physical presence in the community and through our satellite site in Lawrence faculty, staff and students provide services to the immediate community and surrounding areas, including after school tutoring, college application support, ESL classes, tax assistance, job preparation and resume building, and summer day camp.
- The Food Recovery Network is a national program that empowers student volunteers to fight hunger and food waste in their communities by recovering and preparing meals for the food insecure.
- Jumpstart brings students and community volunteers together for year-long individualized tutoring and mentoring.
- Austin Scholars is Merrimack’s longest existing living-learning community grounded in a commitment to faith-based community service. Faculty teach courses with a service-learning requirement where students participate in traditional learning, reflection and weekly service in neighboring communities.
- The Lawrence Math and Science Partnership is a specialized learning center providing an after-school STEM program for middle school students from five schools in Lawrence, the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, the Adelante Education Center and the Lawrence YMCA. The program is facilitated by Merrimack College student mentors and operates in the schools and community organizations.
- Active Science is an innovative social enterprise using experiential-based learning to increase physical activity and promote academic achievement among children. Through the program, children interact with a variety of technologies such as activity monitors, tablets and a mobile app. The collaboration in Lawrence is focused on improving levels of physical activity among Lawrence school children, enhancing the quality of physical education, and promoting school time and afterschool physical activity in grades K-5. The collaboration has been crafted to support the Lawrence Public Schools’ efforts to improve academic performance and reduce the academic achievement gap, especially in STEM fields.
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