Higher Education for the Public Good
In his recent Strategic Vision for the University of Mary Washington, President Troy Paino highlighted our value of service, community and civic engagement, drawn from our long history as a public liberal arts and sciences institution. President Paino argued passionately about the institution’s ability to “provide an increasingly diverse population with the opportunity to improve their lives, their communities, and the world around them” and to equip students to “address society’s demands, to challenge injustices, and to embrace the world’s possibilities.” Similarly, the 2020 Strategic Plan emphasized our strong ethic of public service and supports the development of more service learning courses.
A Community Engagement Committee, consisting of faculty and staff from across the university, spent a year planning a way for UMW to enhance our already strong connection between service courses and the community. This has been partially motivated by a SCHEV directive to evaluate civic engagement on Virginia campuses, but also motivated by our strong desire to highlight and enhance the excellent work we already do.
The Community Engagement Committee built upon a strong foundation of community engagement, service, and volunteer work exemplified through the work of the COAR program and the work of our many service clubs on campus and our Athletics Department’s commitment to service on the part of their athletes. With the founding of the Center for Community Engagement in 2019, we are proud to continue UMW’s strong commitment to engagement in our communities and working to build democracy through civic education and community development.