University officials learned last week that the Corporation for National and Community Service named UofL to the honor roll for its volunteerism, community-based learning and community engagement programs. Honorees are selected based on the scope and impact of their service projects and student participation.

Our campus community represents an enormous pool of talent and energy and we are harnessing that power to tackle some of society’s toughest challenges, said UofL provost Shirley Willihnganz. We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition for the great work done by our employees and students.

Nationwide, CNCS recognized 742 schools. Of those, only 115 received distinction status.

UofL’s Office of Community Engagement estimates that 7,917 students dedicated 145,055 hours of community service during 2009. The nomination for the award focused on four projects. They included:

  • Audiology in Rural Kentucky – students and faculty provided screenings and hearing services to people in some of Kentucky’s poorest counties.
  • Empower- Department of Fine Arts students introduced art and photography to children at St. Joseph’s Children Home giving them a venue for creative and social expression.
  • The College Prep (TCP) Scholars Program – UofL students served as mentors to middle school students encouraging them to set goals and attend college.
  • Developing Parental Support for Children’s Early Language Development – College of Education students provided language screenings to children  from birth to age five to help families identify and intervene early to improve language skills.

The self-nomination process allows academic institutions to submit community engagement projects in two categories: General Community Service and Special Focus area(s), said Henry Cunningham, UofL’s director of student engagement. Selection criteria are scope – number of faculty, staff, students involved, time dedicated to the project, level of difficulty providing services, level of skills/expertise required; innovation – use of new or creative solutions to address persistent problems, impact of project on community; and evidence of effectiveness – number of individuals served, measurable results, likely long-term benefits, evidence of institutionalization.

CNCS received 780 nominations. UofL also was on the 2008 Honor Roll. It’s 2009 distinction status represents a move up.