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13 Grants Awarded to Innovative Partnerships Between Colleges and Their Communities




Sandy Connolly
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Thirteen Minnesota programs that help bridge colleges with community organizations will receive $230,000 in grants, announced the Minnesota Office of Higher Education today. The competitive grants support a wide range of collaborative efforts between colleges and community-based organizations designed to increase or improve service learning opportunities for students or support college success among low-income students, first-generation college students and students of color.

"These grants allow for the innovative development of community-based initiatives that can produce a significant social, economic or educational outcome," said Nancy Walters, who manages the grant program for the Office of Higher Education. "Involving college students in positive community work contributes significantly to their academic, civic and career growth and their understanding of real social issues."

The grant funds were made available by the Legislature and Governor Tim Pawlenty under the Minnesota Higher Education Omnibus Bill of 2005. These awards provide continued support for a grant program that was first initiated in 1989. All programs receiving grants from the Community Service-Learning and Campus-Community Collaborations Program have demonstrated appropriate collaboration among campus and community partners, have institutional support, addressed real community issues, and increased the capacity of participating community-based organizations to fulfill their mission. Recipients were selected by a peer committee comprised of representatives of higher education and community-based organizations.

The grant period is January 2006 through June 30, 2007. As a two-to-one matching grant program, recipients will support the project with twice the grant amount from cash or in-kind services. These grants are awarded in a partnership with Minnesota Campus Compact, a coalition of 49 college and university presidents committed to strengthening communities through strategic partnerships and education for informed and active citizenship.

Community Service-Learning and Campus-Community Collaborations Program
Grants 2006-2007

"ROI Team" - Return on Initiative/Return on Investment, Alexandria Technical College receives $10,000

Alexandria Technical College's Small Business Center will select students to participate in a team to provide expertise for local small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Specific activities might include brochure development, lead generation, web site design, pricing research, and catalogue development. The program is named to represent the "Return on Initiative for Students and Return on Investment for Businesses." Several key partners including the West Central Initiative, Bremer Bank, the Alexandria Area Economic Development Association, Heart of Lakes United Way, and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will refer to the program those businesses and nonprofits most in need of assistance.
Contact: Brad Barth (320) 762-4499

Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton College: Planning for Quality and a Sustainable Future, Carleton College receives $17,942

Carleton College is focused on "Planning for Quality and a Sustainable Future" with academic civic engagement (i.e., course and other credit-bearing research, learning, and service activities in the community). A consultant will provide external perspective; facilitate multiple conversations with Northfield community members and Carleton faculty, staff, and students; and report recommendations as well as summary analyses of the capacities and potential of academic civic engagement at Carleton. Faculty and students will participate in action research activities, workshops, and planning sessions that inform the final report and provide a framework for evaluation of current academic civic engagement efforts.
Contact: Mary Savina (507) 646-4404

The College of St. Scholastica's Jump Start Bridge Program receives $13,847

To increase retention rates among underrepresented students, the College of St. Scholastica will provide incoming first-year students in the Jump Start Bridge Program an intensive two-week residential program before the Fall 2006 semester. Students will participate in service-learning activities at several local schools, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits each afternoon and will take a writing course in which they reflect on the service-learning experiences. Community-building activities on evenings and weekends will include workshops that assist the students' transitions to college and academic life. Participants will receive ongoing support and opportunities to be involved in the community.
Contact: Joseph Bouie (218) 723-7032

Deepening Community-Based Learning Through Collaboration and Assessment, Hamline University receives $20,000
St. Paul

Hamline University and its two key partners, Hancock/Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School and the Hamline-Midway Coalition, will focus their efforts on evaluation and planning to enhance students' academic and civic learning and improve access to high quality community-based learning for their students. Activities will include the development of a rubric for assessing elementary and university students' learning in a Joint Service-Learning Project on Homelessness and the convening of a Community-Based Learning Advisory Team, which will use the rubric to review the seven community-based learning programs at Hamline that currently function independently and make recommendations for future programs, structures, and partnerships.
Contact: Jean Strait (651) 780-1844

Opportunities Abound, Macalester College receives $20,000
St. Paul

Macalester College and Admission Possible aim to increase the quality, scope, and sustainability of their partnership focused on college access and success. The primary goal of the project is to heighten the aspirations and ability of local youth to continue their education beyond high school. It will also build a framework to effectively address the needs of first-generation college students at Macalester. Activities include organizing campus visits for K-12 students, supporting Admission Possible through volunteers and work-study students, developing an inventory of existing local programs providing resources for college access and success, researching effective programs for recruitment and support at comparison schools, and strengthening relationships with related organizations and schools with common college access goals.
Contact: Ruth Janisch Lake (651) 696-6645

The Center for Civic Engagement: A Democracy Laboratory, Minneapolis Community and Technical College receives $10,000

Minneapolis Community and Technical College will create a new Center for Civic Engagement to increase the impact and sustainability of its Public Achievement efforts, which guide K-12 and college student participants through the process of identifying issues of importance to them and acting collaboratively to create public work projects that address these issues. Specific activities will include enhanced partnerships with the Inter-District Downtown School and the Minneapolis and St. Paul Parks Boards; creation of a Web site, database, and archive of Public Achievement and other civic engagement projects; completion of a civic engagement campus audit that will gather qualitative and quantitative data on current activities and explore ways that civic engagement and service-learning enhance the educational experiences of MCTC students; and development of a five-year plan for the Center.
Contact: Lena Jones (612) 659-6010

Minor in Community-Based Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato receives $8,000

Minnesota State University Mankato, Partners for Affordable Housing, and the city of Mankato have partnered to support the establishment of a new, interdisciplinary minor in community-based learning. The minor is designed to further institutionalize service-learning and civic engagement at the university, meet real needs of the community partners, offer students a theoretical foundation with which to understand community involvement, and create a program emphasizing community service but not tied to a particular profession. New introductory and capstone courses will be offered; formal service projects will take place; student learning and community partner satisfaction will be assessed.
Contact: David Engen (507) 389-5537

Project Entrepreneurs, Partners for a Healthy Wadena Region receives $16,408

Partners for a Healthy Wadena Region and the Minnesota State Community and Technical College campus in Wadena will contribute to the development of new entrepreneurs in this economically-depressed area. By developing a service-learning office that will provide volunteer and learning opportunities for students and services for local small and start-up businesses, this project will contribute to the community's economic development while helping students and other community members recognize entrepreneurship as a life choice. The collaboration will offer college-level entrepreneurship courses and assist new entrepreneurs in developing viable business plans. The Service Learning Office will also organize a college-wide meeting about leveraging resources at all MSCTC campuses to support entrepreneurship.
Contact: Paul Kinn (218) 632-5999

Seeking HOmes for PEople (HOPE), St. Cloud Technical College receives $6,500
St. Cloud

Students and staff from St. Cloud Technical College, in partnership with the City of St. Cloud and the more than 30 community organizations involved in the Homeless Concerns Group, will focus on the realities of homelessness in the area, the state of existing working partnerships and possibilities for further development, and strategies for addressing the underlying causes of homelessness. A curriculum guide, a locally produced video, guest speakers, and direct service by students in service-learning classes will increase awareness and support local efforts that address this issue. In addition, the college will become a host site for local efforts to provide tax preparation assistance to people in low-income households.
Contact: Kevin LaNave (320) 308-6456

Service Learning Partners in South Central Minnesota, South Central College receives $19,819
North Mankato

South Central College will expand service-learning options for students and enhance partnerships between the college and community-based organizations in the ten-county area that surrounds the two campuses in Faribault and North Mankato. These efforts encompass four projects: the PCs for People Project, in which students refurbish computers for low-income families served by the Blue Earth County Family Service Collaborative; the integration of service-learning into second-year dental assisting coursework; the development of partnerships to support service-learning in a small-group communications course; and the inclusion of service-learning in the new first-year experience seminar.
Contact: Kathryn Rusch (507) 389-7241

Educate for Access: Service-Learning and College Prep for Latino Youth, University of Minnesota receives $18,985

The Department of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in collaboration with La Escuelita, will expand on its existing tutor-mentor initiative, which enhances college access and promotes service-learning to four community-based educational partners. EDUCATE FOR ACCESS will support the academic, intellectual, and community-based learning of college students while providing partners with culturally and linguistically-appropriate tutors, on-campus experiences for Latino youth, and the opportunity to take a newly established after-school College Prep course to be conducted at La Escuelita. Each college student will complete at least 42 hours of service and will participate in a weekly seminar.
Contact: Louis Mendoza (612) 624-8031

The Changing Faces of Minnesota: The Dignity of Human Life - HIV/AIDS, University of St. Thomas receives $19,746
St. Paul

"The Changing Faces of Minnesota: The Dignity of Human Life - HIV/AIDS" involves the University of St. Thomas and Open Arms Minnesota. The goals of this initiative are to increase Open Arms' capacity to serve its clients with nutritional support through meal delivery; increase St. Thomas students' awareness of the domestic and international impact of HIV/AIDS and their willingness to advocate for those infected with and affected by this disease; enhance students' disciplinary learning through meaningful community-based coursework; and educate and inform the broader community about HIV/AIDS. Approximately 8-10 faculty and 150-200 students will be involved in new service-learning courses related to this partnership.
Contact: Ellen Kennedy (651) 962-5082

Priming for Pro Bono Publico: Minnesota Justice Foundation & William Mitchell College of Law, William Mitchell College of Law receives $20,000
St. Paul

William Mitchell College of Law and the Minnesota Justice Foundation will partner to deliver a program to instill a pro bono spirit in law students, new lawyers, and the broader legal community. A survey of William Mitchell graduates will examine their motivations to engage in and consider pro bono work, including experiences in the first year of law school. In order to increase the percentage of students and lawyers doing work for persons or organizations that serve persons of limited means, the grant will help to expand the number of legal services agencies throughout the state at which law students may volunteer, enhance the coverage of pro bono in the educational programs at the college, and develop and deliver training for lawyers in the art of supervising volunteer law students.
Contact: Deborah Schmedemann (651) 290-6388

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