Bentley University Named to President’s Honor Roll for Community Service for Fifth Consecutive Year
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) honored Bentley University with a place on the President's 2010 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for support of volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement for the fifth consecutive year. Bentley is one of 28 Massachusetts colleges and universities to be honored. Announced on May 12, the award recognizes the initiatives of the Bentley Service-Learning Center (BSLC), which promotes academic learning through service.
"The Bentley Service-Learning Center is pleased to be listed on the President's Honor Roll as a leader in service-learning pedagogy. The distinction speaks to the combined efforts of Bentley students, faculty, and community partners in implementing quality service-learning programming in the greater Boston area," says BSLC Director Franklyn P. Salimbene.
"As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions," said Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service. For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.
In particular, two Bentley service-learning programs were noted:
"give a year"
Bentley University and City Year joined forces in 2008 to launch the "give a year" program, a first of its kind partnership encouraging students to give a year of full-time service through City Year and receive scholarship support to Bentley and subsequent internship opportunities. As part of the program, Bentley provides $20,000 scholarships to defray the cost of tuition upon the return to campus for each "give a year" student. In total, Bentley has pledged tuition relief in an amount up to $200,000 per year for 10 Bentley "give a year" students and $1 million over five years for 50 such students.
During the term of service Bentley Corps Members also receive a weekly stipend and an AmeriCorps Education Award. The program is offered through the Bentley Service-Learning Center. The Bentley University/City Year model is now followed by 29 colleges and universities across the nation.
In 2009-2010, the first year of the program, two Bentley "give a year" scholars worked in Miami and Baton Rouge, working as teaching assistants in third grade classrooms during regular school hours and with first graders and kindergarten students in after school programs. The Bentley students also were assigned several third grade "focus students" in need of extra help for whom they did reading and math intervention, and assisted with homework. City Year's success in working in urban school systems is widely known and the Bentley students contribute to that success. For 2010-11, five Bentley students are in the program.
Kindergarteners Readers/Writers Workshop, Fitzgerald Elementary School
Bentley is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, a city with a foreign born population of 20.2 percent. With such a large number of non-native English speakers, a large number of children in the public schools do not learn English as a first language. To assist in developing English reading and writing skills for these and all students, Bentley student leaders designed a service-learning program for kindergarteners at the Fitzgerald Elementary School in Waltham.
Bentley students conducted workshops themed around the topic in the teachers' lesson plans for four kindergarten classes. The workshops were conducted for one hour each week in each class. After consulting with the teachers, Bentley students created an appropriate activity -- for example, making picture books and participating in spelling bees -- and then engaged the children in the activity. Following the workshop, the children returned to their regular class meetings where their teachers asked them to explain what they had learned in the workshop and to act out their activity for the whole class to see. The overall project, supported in part by CNCS funding, involved much interaction between Bentley students and the kindergarten teachers.
About the Bentley Service-Learning Center
This past year 1,100 Bentley students put their business skills to work volunteering at local organizations - making Bentley one of the top universities in the country for service-learning. More than 75 nonprofit organizations, government offices and schools in Waltham and surrounding communities are partnered with the Bentley Service-Learning Center (BSLC), with thousands of local residents benefitting from the volunteer work of Bentley students.