UMass Amherst Community Service Again Honored

AMHERST, Mass. - For the fifth consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, recognizing its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual honor roll award, recognizes colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.

The corporation oversees the honor roll in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

In 2009, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named UMass Amherst a Community-Engaged University under a rigorous classification process developed to document community engagement in the college curriculum, and separately in external outreach and partnerships. The foundation, an independent policy and research center dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning, recognized UMass Amherst for its engagement initiatives in both areas - the curriculum and the community.

John Reiff, director of the Community Engagement Program at UMass Amherst, notes that community service and engagement continue to evolve with new opportunities for students to become involved, and new ways to make engagement part of the academic program.

"This national award puts a spotlight on the important work that UMass Amherst students and faculty are doing in communities in Western Massachusetts, across the commonwealth, and around the world," said Reiff. "The campus continues to add ways for students to make community service integral to their education--for instance, through the creation of a new certificate program in civic engagement and public service, and a new track for an individualized major in civic engagement."