Community Engagement

Posted January 10th, 2012 by Albert DeCiccio Ph.D., Provost, Southern Vermont College

This article appeared in the January 10th issue of  It highlights the importance of civic engagement for students who must learn social and political processes.

One year ago this week, SVC was selected for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification on the Carnegie
Classification list. This is a prestigious acknowledgement of the work the College has undertaken to bring to students a greater awareness of their civic responsibility.  The selection committee wrote the following about SVCs selection: “Your application documented excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement, and you were able to respond to the classificationframework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement.  You also documented and coordinated evidence of community engagement in a coherent and compelling response to the framework’s inquiry.”

Among the programs that promote civic responsibility as well as a greater social and political awareness are the College’s First-Year Seminar emphasizing service learning, Quest for Success; the College’s newly designed Comparative Religions course, emphasizing religious pluralism and co-taught by SVC’s professors as well as clergy from Bennington’s Inter Faith Council; and the forthcoming course, entitled “Philanthropy:  Investing in the Community,” in which students will learn about the culture of giving and the value of philanthropy in collaboration with the Bank of Bennington.

Service learning, community engagement, and civic responsibility are all attempts to describe the value added to an SVC education–highlighting, as the article does, the social and political acumen such attempts promote.


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