As colleges across the country honor their graduates this commencement season, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) honored Western University of Health Sciences as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. WesternU was admitted to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 511 were named to the Honor Roll, 114 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 11 were identified as finalists, and six received the Presidential Award.
"As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions," said Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of CNCS. “Congratulations to Western University of Health Sciences and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”
All WesternU colleges require or expect students and faculty to perform service activities. More than 1,600 WesternU students each volunteered 20 hours or more during the 2009-10 academic year, for a total of more than 32,000 hours of community service during that period.
Activities included vision screenings, dental examinations, health and information fairs, assistance with science projects, educational enrichment, literacy development, visiting patients in nursing homes/hospitals, disaster response classes, assisting migrant workers, work in women shelters, providing health care, food, clothing, and education to the homeless population, participation in community projects, high school athletic physicals, blood pressure checks, diabetes/obesity education, Asian community health education, and educating children/low-income families on healthy living.
“WesternU has and always will be deeply invested in its community, not only through the education of the region’s future health-care providers, but also in its role as a community leader and concerned, engaged citizen,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “The emphasis our institution places on community health, service, and stewardship is evident in nearly every community-related event we do: the Pomona Health Career Ladder, health fairs, open houses, school visits by student clubs, PCHAT, PHOP, hosting community events, sponsoring a wide range of community activities … the list goes on. Our goal, in broad terms, is not simply the production of new health-care professionals, but in an improved state of being for the entire community we serve.”
A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a 9 percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting their efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community.
On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2009, 3.2 million college students dedicated more than 307 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.4 billion. Business and law students offer tax preparation and legal services, and college student volunteers provide meals, create parks, rebuild homes after disasters, conduct job training, run senior service programs, and much more.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a strong partner with the nation’s colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. Last year, CNCS provided more than $215 million in support to institutions of higher education, including grants to operate service programs and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayment. CNCS is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curricula. Through these programs, in classes, and in extracurricular activities, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service. For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.