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08/30/2013

Winthrop Named 1 of 9 Consulting Institutions for Civic Engagement

Quick Facts

 The university has been named one of 70 institutions nationally to participate in the Lead Initiative by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.
 Selected institutions, representing public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities, have committed to a series of strategies to make civic learning and democratic engagement an integrated and core component of their student affairs areas. Winthrop is one of two South Carolina schools to participate.

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Frank Ardaiolo
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Winthrop University will participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement in the 2013-14 academic year.

The university has been named one of 70 institutions nationally to participate in the Lead Initiative by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

Selected institutions, representing public and private two- and four-year colleges and universities, have committed to a series of strategies to make civic learning and democratic engagement an integrated and core component of their student affairs areas. Winthrop is one of two South Carolina schools to participate.

The goals of the program are:

Planning - Building clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities into the student affairs area’s strategic goals and learning outcomes.
Partnerships - Creating strategies in collaboration with students, faculty and community partners that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action.
Assessment - Collecting and reporting data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.

Association leaders maintain that a good college education should include programs to develop students as leaders and as citizens through a commitment to civic engagement.

“Through the Lead Initiative, NASPA is shining light on the unique contributions that student affairs professionals are making to democratic engagement,” said NASPA President Kevin Kruger. “In a time of concern and worry about our civic society, it is critical that college administrators are doing all that they can to present students with opportunities to help them develop as productive and engaged citizens.”

In addition to participating in the larger project, Winthrop will take a leadership role with the association and serve as one of nine consulting institutions. Consulting institutions will act as mentors for other institutions. They will be called upon for their expertise and will help association staff create and execute strategy, programming and content for the initiative moving forward.

Frank Ardaiolo, Winthrop’s vice president for student life, will be the university’s primary consultant for the national project.

“Winthrop is pleased to be selected to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity, as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” said Ardaiolo. “Being recognized as a national leader in this field is a reflection of the quality of our current efforts and also of President Jayne Marie (Jamie) Comstock’s commitment to inspiring students to challenge themselves through leadership and service roles.”

Winthrop offers service-learning opportunities for students through participation in the student-led organization, S.O.A.R. (Serving Others And Reflecting), the Winthrop Homework Clinic, Alternative Spring Break, blood drives, one-day service events and long-term volunteer sites. Each fall, the Center for Career and Civic Engagement holds a volunteer fair to connect community partners to new and returning students. The efforts have resulted in Winthrop’s inclusion in the Corporation for National and Community Service’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The 2013 honor roll is the eighth consecutive time Winthrop has made the list for its support of volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.

For their work, Lead Initiative consulting institutions will receive tailored professional development experiences, publication and writing opportunities, and the chance to influence the ways in which student affairs contributes to the civic learning and democratic engagement field. As a participating institution, Winthrop will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities and democratic participation.

To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website at: http://www.naspa.org/clde/lead_initiative.cfm

For more information at Winthrop, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services, at 803/323-2404 and e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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