The University of Missouri–St. Louis has earned a 2010 Community Engagement Classification from the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UMSL was recognized for the depth and breadth of its institutional commitment to and engagement with the greater community.
UMSL is one of 115 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the designation – and one of four in Missouri – which encourages colleges and universities to “generate socially responsive knowledge to benefit communities,” according to Carnegie President Anthony Bryk.
“Community engagement has been a central focus of UMSL since the university was established in 1963,” UMSL Provost Glen Cope said. “It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Civic engagement is woven into our mission, our research, our curriculum. Our ongoing commitment to society is the reason many of our students and faculty choose this university.”
Cope called the Carnegie Foundation’s recognition “a validation of UMSL’s rich learning experiences not only in the classroom but in the community.”
UMSL’s alumni number nearly 78,000 with more than 60,000 living in the St. Louis region, more than any other university alumni group. Their impact as business, civic and political leaders and in their roles as teachers, accountants, nurses, scientists, artists, counselors, and optometrists greatly enhances the region’s quality of life.
UMSL’s faculty and students can be found in hundreds of locations teaching, learning and providing service to the community. Some of those experiences include:
· The Des Lee Collaborative Vision – gifts from philanthropist E. Desmond Lee and other donors have endowed 37 professors working with more than 100 community organizations. It serves more than 500,000 individuals, most of them children in urban K-12 classroom settings in underserved communities.
· The university partners with Washington University, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis University to support CORTEX, which supplies academic research facilities and life science incubators.
· UMSL’s Students of Service program involves 1,400 UMSL students logging more than 23,000 hours of service working side by side with community leaders, teachers and residents. UMSL’s College of Education and Community Partnership Project administer the three-year grant that supports some of these activities.
· The Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden has formal partnerships with the Saint Louis Zoo, a university in Madagascar, three laboratories or universities in Argentina, a university in Brazil and a biological center in Guyana.
· Todd Swanstrom, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Community Collaboration and Public Policy is working closely with Beyond Housing, an organization that provides affordable housing and homeownership services, studying the responses to foreclosures in six metropolitan areas.
· UMSL, along with its partners, has been chosen to participate in the Great Streets Initiative for Natural Bridge Road, the main east-west artery traveling through campus and five surrounding communities. The vision is to create a plan for mixed-use and transit-oriented improvements that aim to revitalize this once-thriving portion of North St. Louis County.
· The College of Optometry’s Mobile Eye Center travels around the community, serving children with vision problems who otherwise wouldn’t receive eye care. The service is part of the rotation for third and fourth year students in the pediatric specialty clinic and pediatric externship.
· Since 1973, students from the College of Business Administration prepare tax returns for low-income residents free of charge. The program received the IRS’s National Partnership Award for Outstanding Community Service this year.