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Earlham pursuing national credential for excellence in community engagement

June 11, 2018

Earlham College is pursuing a national credential to signal the effectiveness of its commitment to community engagement with its neighbors in Richmond, nationally and globally.

The College will apply for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Classification for Community Engagement in 2019. The application process involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments.

“Earlham has a long history of living out our mission through community service and involvement, but the Carnegie Foundation provides us with an opportunity for external validation that our contributions are truly making a difference,” Earlham President Alan Price says. “It is time to rededicate ourselves to this noble ideal while also reflecting on our curriculum, co-curriculum, infrastructure, community partnerships, and culture.”

Price has appointed a 14-member committee to carry out this work and submit the application on behalf of the College. Applications are due in April 2019 with recipients being announced in January 2020.

Earlham’s committee will, among other things:

  • Collect data and documentation of Earlham’s mission, identity, commitments and practices that provide evidence of the College’s institutional involvement with community engagement;
  • Put in place systems for ongoing data collection and documentation of community engagement activities;
  • Identify specific areas for quality improvement related to community engagement; and
  • Identify specific areas for improvement related to the student experience of community engagement.

Earlham is recognized as one of the nation’s top institutions for its commitment to the social good. The College’s students, faculty and staff contribute around 20,000 of hours of community service every year across the world as coordinated by Center for Career and Community Engagement.

Earlham’s Bonner Scholars Program, one of 21 college programs supported by an endowment from the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation of Princeton, N.J., awards scholarships to 15 students annually who have a passion for serving others. Charles Davis ’18, a Bonner Scholar who served the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County for the last three years, was named that organization’s Volunteer of the Year for 2018.

Service and community-based research are integrated into a growing number of courses as part of the College’s EPIC program as well as the EPIC Advantage, the offer of a funded internship, project or research experience for every student. As part of a growing partnership with Richmond’s Department of Parks and Recreation during the last two academic years, seniors studying topics related to environmental sustainability have pursued community improvement projects that have resulted in funding for new playgrounds and revitalized overlooked public spaces.

Earlham also has one of the nation’s highest percentage of graduates serving in the Peace Corps, an outcome now supported by a three-course preparatory program on campus recognized by the U.S. government. In fact, nearly eight percent of graduates from Earlham’s Class of 2017 participated in service programs after graduation, such as AmeriCorps and Quaker Voluntary Service. This is a staggering seven percentage points higher than the national average, according to a national survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

President Price, in his first year leading Earlham, has made community engagement a priority during his administration. During his inaugural address, he called for Earlham to strengthen the partnership between Earlham and its closest neighbors.

"Many colleges admit students who want to change the world,” Price says. “Earlham's commitment to community engagement, demonstrated locally and around the world during off-campus programs, develops graduates with an even greater commitment and the necessary skills to improve the communities in which they live."

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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