August 24, 2007

University Departments, Centers Make Community Outreach a High Priority


As part of the 2007 Case for Community Day -- being held this year on Friday, September 21 -- Case Daily will feature community outreach initiatives being conducted at each of the university's colleges, as well as several campus centers and departments.

The Center for Community Partnerships:

The Center for Community Partnerships is a clearing house of information about the role the university plays in Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the nation. The center also promotes Case's extensive inventory of academic, health-related and social service-related community outreach, fields inquiries about the university's partnerships, and coordinates the university's response to local governmental and community issues.

The center coordinates the annual Case for Community Day event, the university's campus-wide community service day, taking place this year on September 21. Employees, faculty, students and local alumni have an opportunity to volunteer for a variety of projects such as landscaping, working with senior residents or local youth, and providing clerical assistance to area nonprofit agencies.

"It is a literally new day for Case for Community this year, as we host it on a Friday to provide more faculty and students with the chance to participate during the Community Hour," said Latisha James, director. "It is also a chance for our new president, Barbara R. Snyder, to become acquainted with members of our local community. We are calling for 500 volunteers this year and counting on the support of our campus to fulfill every volunteer request."

Online registration for all volunteer projects begins on Tuesday, September 4.

The center also manages the Case Community Card program for Cleveland residents living in neighborhoods immediately surrounding campus. The card program places an emphasis on nurturing good relations with the community, allowing residents access to many of the facilities and services available to faculty, staff and students.

The university works with nearly 600 local, national and international groups, agencies and organizations. Visit the Center for Community Partnerships new Community Outreach Web site Community Outreach Web site to learn more.

The Center for Civic Engagement and Learning:

The Center for Civic Engagement and Learning (CCEL) facilitates curricular, co-curricular, and community-based work study opportunities for the university's undergraduate, graduate and professional school students. Whether students are looking for something immediate or long term, a variety of community service programs are available, including:

Case SERVES (Students Exploring Regular Volunteer Engagement through Service) is a flexible program for students unable to make a long-term service commitment. Each week, students can volunteer at various sites in the local community. Another short-term commitment opportunity is the Saturday of Service, where students can volunteer at least one day per semester. Students also can participate in an Alternative Break, during which they can travel to areas in need nationwide. For the past two years, a group of students have traveled to areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, Project STEP-UP allows Cleveland Metropolitan School District students to be mentored and tutored throughout the year by Case students, and is the umbrella for two important literacy projects, Church of the Covenant Tutoring and AmericaReads.

"I never thought that spending only a few hours every week helping out with homework and teaching material would have such an impact on every aspect of my life," said Nina Sreshta, Class of 2010. "I have had to think about how to become a better listener, a better problem solver and a better thinker. I started tutoring to make a difference on other people's academic careers, but more than anything I have come to see that it is a mutual experience."

The CCEL staff also helps faculty integrate service learning into the curriculum through the Academic Service Learning program. CCEL staff assist with logistics such as site selection, student orientation, and transportation. The staff also works with students to identify existing service learning courses and helps upper-class students develop community-based SAGES senior capstone projects.

Department of Human Resources

The Department of Human Resources supports the university's mission of excellence in teaching, research and scholarship by cultivating a diverse workforce of talented and creative individuals. In addition to issues surrounding employment, work environment standards, and effective working conditions and accommodations, the department also connects with the overall community.

The Staff Advisory Council coordinates several efforts to facilitate staff involvement in the campus and local communities. One example is the annual Basket Raffle, a fundraiser that has generated as much as $6,000 for various community organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, and Shoes for Kids.

Meanwhile, the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity's Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Series brings renowned guest speakers to campus each year to celebrate the humanitarian's legacy. The free program is open to the Greater Cleveland community, and previous speakers have included civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and social activist Joan Southgate.

The department also assists and works with small business owners through the James H. Walker Construction Management Program and minority-owned businesses through the Supplier Diversity Initiative Council.

Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women's mission is to improve the educational, professional, and social climate for women, and to increase opportunities for women on campus and in the community. Through education, research and advocacy, the center strives for greater gender and multicultural balance and equity. A signature event every March is the celebration of Women's History Month, featuring programs, events and displays.

The Mather Spotlight Series on Women's Scholarship focuses on women's scholarship throughout the year; the work of women faculty is highlighted, and networking among women faculty and students is encouraged.

With the ACT III Discussion Group, the center provides a community service by providing resources and programs for women in or nearing retirement. Another program is the Cleveland Area Men's Violence Prevention Task Force, which engages boys and men in violence prevention. The Center for Women chairs the program, which is comprised of dozens of Northeast Ohio organizations.

Note: Due to space limitations, only a handful of departments are highlighted in this article. However, dozens of other centers and departments engage in community outreach throughout the year. The campus community is encouraged to visit individual Web sites or contact the offices directly for more information.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, August 24, 2007 11:45 AM | News Topics: Administration, Administration, Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, Events, Students

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