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The UD Community Engagement Initiative is responsible for implementing the Civic Action Plan
The UD Community Engagement Initiative is responsible for implementing the Civic Action Plan.

Civic Action Plan sets agenda for UD community engagement

Photo by Evan Krape

A Campus Compact member, UD also among universities with Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

The University of Delaware Community Engagement Initiative has developed a Civic Action Plan outlining UD’s campus-wide commitments to increasing community and civic engagement during the next three years.

“The University of Delaware Civic Action Plan articulates our strategic vision and sets the agenda to strengthen our contributions as one of the nation’s most engaged research universities,” President Dennis Assanis said a letter to introduce the plan. “Our mission is to engage students, faculty, staff and alumni in the most compelling social, cultural, artistic and scientific challenges of our age, and to join the world’s leading universities in addressing such critical matters as environmental sustainability, social justice, human health and the alleviation of poverty and suffering.”

The plan has been in the works for more than a year and has been submitted to the national Campus Compact organization, a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of education. In recognition of the organization’s 30th anniversary, its Board of Directors asked member presidents and chancellors to join in signing an Action Statement, which includes a promise to develop a campus Civic Action Plan.

As a result, during the next three years, UD will pursue objectives and action steps in the following areas:

  • Enhancing capacity to support university-wide community engagement,

  • Fostering engaged scholarship in research/creative activities, teaching and public service,

  • Expanding opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students,

  • Launching knowledge-based partnerships to address critical challenges in Delaware and beyond, and,

  • Growing UD’s impact in the communities we serve, locally and globally.

The UD Community Engagement Initiative is responsible for implementing the plan, working in collaboration with the Campus Compact Council, the Council of Community Engagement and Public Service Centers and the University’s seven Colleges and university-wide offices and leaders.

The Civic Action Plan complements the University’s strategic plan for strengthening inclusion and diversity, titled “Inclusive Excellence: A Plan for Diversity at UD.” One of the goals of community engagement is to foster a climate in which students, faculty and staff are able to recognize the contributions and perspectives of different cultures and genders and integrate that knowledge into their work with the communities they serve.

“This is part of our effort to ensure that our community sees our University as a superb resource offering knowledge and expertise to our local community and beyond,” said Interim Provost Robin W. Morgan. “In this way, we can encourage our students to help address the needs of society while engaging with members of the community we serve.”

The plan is going to be subject to change as this work continues, said Dan Rich, director of Community Engagement for the University.

“We’re going to assess our progress on a regular basis and then update accordingly,” he said.

The Community Engagement Initiative, launched in 2016, works to build UD's tradition of applying knowledge, creativity, and civic commitment to the critical challenges facing our communities--in Delaware, across the nation and around the world.  The Initiative focuses on what makes every community strong: improving public education, community health and environmental quality; encouraging economic development and innovation; and expanding arts and cultural programs that enrich quality of life.  

“The Civic Action Plan supports our selection in 2015 as one of only 361 campuses with the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification,” said Lynnette Overby, deputy director of Community Engagement for UD. “Furthermore, this plan will prepare us for future applications for this designation.”

For more information about the Community Engagement Initiative and its partnerships, visit: udel.edu/engage.

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