The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected Stonehill as one of 240 U.S. colleges and universities to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The College first received this classification in 2008, making it one of 157 schools to earn reclassification this year. In 2008, Stonehill was one of just 18 baccalaureate colleges selected and the only liberal arts college in Massachusetts to earn the distinction.
“The reclassification marks the significant gains we have made since 2008. Instead of simply celebrating our success, Stonehill has intensified our efforts to, in the words of our President Rev. John Denning, C.S.C., 'Live in the spirit of solidarity with our neighbors.' In the six years since our initial designation, we have developed the Office of Community Based Learning, The Farm at Stonehill, The Brockton Service Corps, Camp Shriver and many other programs in our community and around the world,” said Corey Dolgon, Director of Community-Based Learning at Stonehill.
Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Unlike the Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification—institutions participated voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. This approach enabled the Foundation to address elements of institutional mission and distinctiveness that are not represented in the national data on colleges and universities.
“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”
Since being classified by the Carnegie Foundation in 2008, Stonehill has introduced a number of additional community engagement efforts. Most notably, the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) was established in 2009 as part of the Center for Teaching and Learning to support community-based teaching and research and the exchange of knowledge and resources through community partnerships.
Currently the CBL Office partners with over 25 organizations which include the Brockton Public School System, the Cape Verdean Association, School on Wheels, the Brockton Interfaith Community, Father Bill's & MainSpring House and many more.
The College has also dramatically increased its yearly community-based learning course offerings from 18 in 2008 to over 60 today. CBL courses, which include a regular classroom course with additional hours used to create and implement service-projects or conduct research in partnership with a local community organization, are now taught by over three dozen faculty from over 20 academic departments at the College.
Another key project implemented over the last several years was the Farm at Stonehill. Launched in 2011, the Farm supplies local food banks, soup kitchens and other meal providers with organic, sustainably grown fruits and vegetables. The Farm also serves as a living laboratory for faculty and students learning about a variety of topics including sustainability, food politics, agriculture, gene plant research, English, religious studies, and environmental ethics, and acts as a place for students and staff to come together and work together on campus.
The Stonehill Service Corp site in Brockton was introduced in 2013, allowing graduates to make a one-year commitment to living and working in schools, hospitals, and agencies serving low-income populations in the city of Brockton.
A staple at Stonehill for nearly two decades, the H.O.P.E. (Honoring our neighbor, Organizing for justice, Practicing peace, Encountering God) Service Immersion Program has been expanded to include trips during winter break and summer break in addition to the traditional spring break trips.
About The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.
About Stonehill College
Stonehill is a selective Catholic college located near Boston on a beautiful 384-acre campus in Easton, Massachusetts. With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, the College engages over 2,500 students in 80+ rigorous academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and pre-professional fields. The Stonehill community helps students to develop the knowledge, skills, and character to meet their professional goals and to live lives of purpose and integrity.