Make a Difference
The University of Delaware is an engaged university, committed to making a significant and sustained contribution to the improvement of the communities we serve. As highlighted in our Path to Prominence, UD is building dynamic programs of world-class distinction, reaching out to constituents wherever they reside.
As Delaware's flagship university, UD has the opportunity to work closely with public agencies throughout the state, applying research and human talent to address pressing social and civic issues. We also transcend state boundaries to share knowledge and skills in response to regional, national and international challenges.
The University's expertise, services, resources and programs—in areas like economic and community development, the arts, education, the environment and health care—benefit Delaware's citizens and the global community. Following are examples of how UD contributes to the quality of life in the communities we serve.
UD fosters economic growth and development through research and technological innovation. The Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships advances the rapid commercialization of the University's ideas and innovations, and strengthens state and regional partnerships that enhance prosperity. But OEIP also promotes invention and entrepreneurship in the larger Delaware community. OEIP houses the Delaware Small Business and Technology Development Center, which helps Delaware’s entrepreneurs grow their businesses by offering technical advice, training programs and marketing, management and technology assistance. The center also helps Delaware’s small business owners access the nearly $2 billion in federal funding available for innovation research and technology transfer.
More than 70 research centers and institutes across the UD campus reflect the diversity and rigor of our research activity and our commitment to improving the quality of life in Delaware and beyond. For instance, the Early Learning Center, shown here, is a full-day, year-round clinical research facility providing exemplary infant, toddler, pre-school and kindergarten care, including early intervention for at-risk children. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children—a recognition awarded to only about 7 percent of all child-care centers nationwide. The center is a focal point for interdisciplinary research in early learning and development, prevention, intervention and education. Research activities taking place at the center shed light on how children grow, learn and interact, and how children and their families are best supported.
Each year, more than 12,000 UD students contribute 140,000 hours to service projects on campus and in the community. Through the Office of Service Learning, UD engages students in connecting what they learn in the classroom to real-world issues and challenges. For five-straight years, UD has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary, innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. UD also is recognized as a Truman Scholarship Honor Institution for its outstanding record in encouraging young people to pursue careers in public service. Truman Scholars often go on to careers as public defenders, educators and leaders of non-profit organizations.
UD supports industry through research, workforce training and technical assistance. UD plays a key role in the health of one of Delaware's top industries—the poultry industry—which boasts an annual aggregate output of $3.2 billion and supports 13,400 Delaware jobs. More than 20,000 poultry blood samples are tested annually and evaluated for diseases, such as avian influenza, through state-of-the-art surveillance and diagnostic services provided by UD's Avian Biosciences Center. Through programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development, UD's avian researchers are exporting Delaware’s coordinated approach to controlling poultry disease outbreaks to Romania, Bulgaria and other countries.
UD’s Legislative Fellows Program provides staff support to the Delaware General Assembly. Fellows are selected through a University-wide competition, and the experience offers them a valuable opportunity to observe and contribute to the political decision-making process. In return, the General Assembly gains access to the Fellows’ research skills and to University resources. Through their non-partisan, in-depth research, the UD Fellows (shown in 2012 with Governor Jack Markell) help legislators address critical challenges facing the state. In recent years, Fellows have worked on such diverse issues as land-use planning, education reform and juvenile justice.
Throughout the year, in addition to music and theatre productions, art exhibitions and Fightin' Blue Hen athletic competitions, UD hosts campus-wide public events on locally and globally important topics. Among them are National Agenda and Global Agenda, annual lecture series that bring notable domestic and foreign policy experts, politicos and journalists to campus for wide-ranging talks open to the community.
Since its establishment in 1914, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has evolved to offer a complex range of research-based assistance with issues like agricultural sustainability and competitiveness, as well as family and consumer initiatives in such areas as nutrition, home gardening, environmental management, leadership and personal safety. Today's statewide 4-H program annually involves 60,000+ Delaware youth in activities that expose them to many different disciplines, including animal sciences, biotechnology and the performing arts.
Based in UD's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Delaware Sea Grant—a partnership of UD, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Delaware—helps the public understand and manage coastal issues. Sea Grant specialists share research-based information relating to business development, land and resource management, safe and sustainable seafood, water quality and aquaculture, coastal processes and preservation, marine safety, and recreation and tourism. UD operates in concert with a national network of Sea Grant programs at academic institutions across the U.S.
With a number of patient-focused health sciences centers—the Center for Translational Cancer Research, the Center for Disabilities Studies, the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute, the Delaware Cardiovascular Research Center and others—UD advances cutting-edge biomedical research in collaboration with hospitals and clinics throughout the region.
The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance joins UD, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, Christiana Care Health System and Thomas Jefferson University in efforts to enhance health care research, training and delivery throughout Delaware—especially in rural Southern Delaware, where there’s a deficit of health providers—and across the Delaware Valley.
UD also provides the community award-winning outpatient services through its Physical Therapy Clinics, specializing in sports medicine, orthopedics and neurologic, older adult and pediatric physical therapy. The clinics are unique in that physical therapists, students and researchers work together to deliver state-of-the-art physical therapy treatment to patients.
With about a dozen energy-related centers, institutes and programs, UD is a recognized leader in the development of clean-energy technologies and policy. The Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU)—conceived in UD’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy—provides households and businesses a comprehensive package of money-saving sustainable energy services, such as high-efficiency technologies and appliances, expansion of weatherization services and implementation of customer-sited renewable energy (like rooftop solar installations). By 2020, Delaware’s SEU—the first state-level SEU—should reduce Delaware’s CO2 emissions by 5.5 million metric tons, or 33 percent of Delaware’s current carbon footprint.
Since its commissioning in 2010 through May 2012, UD's 2.0-megawatt wind turbine has generated 9.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh). That's more electricity than was needed to power the laboratories, offices and other buildings on the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. The University sold 2.3 million kWh of the surplus electricity to the Lewes Board of Public Works. In addition to energy production, the turbine serves as a platform for critical research informing wind-energy policy and practice across the country.
From designing a robotic dog for people with disabilities to devising a combination ignition switch and Breathalyzer, the pre-college students who attend UD's K-12 engineering camps get a firsthand look at what it means to be an engineer. The program is one of several that UD's Engineering Outreach Program offers to pre-college students and K-12 teachers in an effort to inspire the next generation of engineers. The program also offers courses to engineering professionals so they can keep their skills current and develop new engineering and business competencies for this dynamic and competitive field.
Many of UD's 300+ registered student organizations are active in public service. For instance, Puppy Raisers of UD (PROUD) raises guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. Lori’s Hands connects college students with elderly or chronically ill neighbors who need help around the house and in the yard. (USA Today listed Lori’s Hands founder Sarah LaFave, a 2011 graduate, among its “Holiday Heroes.”) Fraternities and sororities at UD also have a strong commitment to community service and philanthropy, donating thousands of hours, and thousands of dollars, to projects throughout the community. UD students involved in Engineers Without Borders, shown here, are bringing safe drinking water to the village of Bakang, in the western province of Cameroon, while others are building a concrete bridge over the Rio Vibora in San Marcos, Guatemala.
For more than 60 years, UD's Department of Music, a member of the National Association of Schools of Music, has been dedicated to the musical growth of its students and the cultural enrichment of the community. Each year, UD's Community Music School provides private study lessons, ensemble classes, summer camps and early childhood classes to more than 500 students from the surrounding area. Opportunities range from jazz to steel band; string chamber ensemble to ragtime; and suzuki violin to choral camps. The Children's Choir enables children in the local Newark area to experience artistic choral singing and perform quality children's choral literature. Additionally, musical performances are held throughout the year featuring such artists as UD's own internationally renowned violinist Xiang Gao and his China Magpie Ensemble.
UD's nationally recognized Resident Ensemble Players (REP)/Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) gives the campus and the community access to high-quality productions of classic, modern and contemporary plays. The REP is a professional acting company boasting some of America's most experienced and respected regional theatre actors. During the 2010–11 season, the troop played to more than 29,000 theatregoers. Through the PTTP, a small group of MFA students are provided three years of conservatory training—and intensive mentoring from the REP. PTTP alumni perform regularly at leading theatres across the country, as well as in film and television.
The University Museums encompass three galleries on campus, each offering exhibitions and programs that are open to the public free of charge. The Old College Gallery presents a schedule of changing exhibitions throughout the academic year, including works of the permanent collection, ranging from Southwest Native American ceramics to paintings of the Brandywine School (The Privateers of '76 by Frank Schoonover is shown here), as well as traveling and loan exhibitions. Mechanical Hall Gallery is the home of the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art, one of the world's most comprehensive collections of works by 20th-century African American artists. The building also houses a print room for studying objects in the collection. The Mineralogical Museum offers an internationally renowned display of about 500 specimens, from crystallized minerals to recent discoveries.
Two major UD public events—Coast Day and Ag Day—teach thousands each year about environmental resources and stewardship. Ag Day, hosted by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources on UD's Newark campus, brings nature to life for the 3,000 annual attendees through interactive exhibits, children's games, a livestock display, plant sales, lectures, food and entertainment. Coast Day, hosted by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and Delaware Sea Grant on UD's Lewes campus, immerses 10,000 visitors annually in coastal life through research exhibits, ship tours, crab races, seafood cooking demonstrations and contests and a boat show. The award-winning day has been a model for similar events in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oregon.
UD strives to be a good neighbor. On our main campus in Newark, town-and-gown efforts like the annual Newark Community Day give UD students and Newark residents a chance to get together, have fun and learn about each other. UD is a member of the Downtown Newark Partnership, a coalition that includes the City of Newark and downtown business owners and residents who work together to promote and preserve the City’s unique downtown area as a community and commerce center. (In 2011, Newark was named a “Great American Main Street” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.) The City of Newark's Department of Parks & Recreation offers UD students a number of volunteer opportunities, such as youth sports league coaching, and, each year, the city and the Town & Gown Committee honor UD students for their service to the community.
UD is a significant contributor to the state's economic strength. In fiscal year 2011, UD’s payroll and purchases together contributed $638 million to the regional economy. The entire UD community—the University and its faculty, staff, students and alumni—stimulated $3.9 billion in spending in Delaware, and those expenditures supported 30,000 jobs. Additionally, UD has had a long and rewarding relationship with the United Way of Delaware and the many agencies it supports. In 2011, UD faculty and staff contributed $192,000 to the United Way’s annual campaign, for a 14-year total exceeding $2.7 million.