April 25, 2008 — The University of Virginia's Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is offering a new program to encourage faculty to create courses involving community partnerships that will steer students’ leadership skills and experiences toward addressing real-world problems.
The Academic Community Engagement Faculty Fellows program will make grants to encourage this innovative public service initiative universitywide. The provost's office will award up to five $9,000 grants to support faculty development of an academically based community-engagement course to be taught in the 2008-09 academic year. Faculty also may apply for a maximum of $5,000 to add a community service or research component to an existing course.
The deadline to submit applications is May 5.
The program fulfills recommendations from the Commission on the Future of the University and the Commission on Diversity and Equity, both of which called for an emphasis on academic service learning to enhance teaching students leadership, public service and teamwork. The program also is intended to enhance University-community partnerships and research that contributes to interdisciplinary knowledge.
Two other complementary grants will be available to bolster support: one to fund an Academic Community Engagement course assistant and another to enable an organization or agency's capacity to participate in a particular course's project. Graduate student Academic Community Engagement assistants will be awarded $3,000 per course, and undergraduates will receive $2,000. Academic Community Engagement Faculty Fellows may apply for up to $1,000 for the community partnership. These grants could be applied to existing courses.
The program is an ideal way to combine the University's basic triple-pronged mission of teaching, research and service, said Megan Raymond, director of University Community Partnerships. She noted, for example, that some U.Va. projects already incorporate community engagement, such as the Young Women Leaders Program, a joint project of the Curry School of Education and the Women's Center, and the ecoMOD project, a joint project with the Architecture and Engineering schools.
The request for proposal says, "In community-based research, faculty, students and community members collaborate as co-researchers — the community is not an object to be studied — to define a problem, create a research plan, determine an appropriate research methodology, discuss potential outcomes, agree on a timeframe and research products, and pursue solving the problem together. The research aims to address a community need, solve a community problem or effect social change."
The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m. on May 5. The RFP and applications are available online at www.virginia.edu/provost/public/courses.html.
Applicants will be notified by May 19. Submit electronic copies to:
Megan Raymond at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to: University Community Partnerships, P.O. Box 400308, Booker House, 1709 University Ave., 22904.
For information about the pilot projects:
The ecoMOD project is embedded in the curriculum of the Architecture School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science and is intended to create well-built homes that cost less to live in, minimize damage to the environment and appreciate over time.
• The Young Women Leaders Program
The Young Women Leaders Program is a psychoeducational mentoring program that empowers at-risk middle school girls to be leaders by combining the benefits of one-on-one mentoring with targeted group activities for a year. YWLP is a research-based program that has been implemented at several other colleges and universities and been shown to positively affect both the middle school girls’ and the college women’s sense of self.