President Announces Center for Civic Engagement
FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University President William C. Merwin introduced a new Center for Civic Engagement during his State of the University address on August 22.
Saying that a “Center for Civic Engagement has been a priority” since he accepted the Presidency of FGCU, Merwin announced that a grant from the Stranahan Foundation makes the Center possible at this time. Provost Brad Bartel named Linda Summers as the new director of the Center. She initiated the service learning program at FGCU and has been serving as its director. The service learning program will now be under the Center.
From its inception, FGCU has emphasized community involvement for its students, faculty and staff. To receive a degree all students must complete service learning hours. During the past year, students amassed more than 50,000 hours of service in the community. Many faculty members provide community service as well and participate in the civic life of the region.
The Center for Civic Engagement will build upon this ethic and expand the opportunities for the University to be a leader in civic education and engagement. It will provide support for faculty to integrate service activities in the curricula. Through community partnerships, it will help students focus their efforts for highest impact, including leadership training and involvement in the schools.
A database will be developed of volunteers whose special interests can be matched to University and community needs. Raising the awareness of and responsibility for good citizenship will be an overarching goal.
“Many civic organizations and social commentators have raised concerns about the growing disconnection between students and civic responsibility. FGCU, its students, faculty, and staff have achieved already an outstanding record of community service and involvement. The Center for Civic Engagement is further commitment to making a difference in the lives of our students and the civic life of our region. We know the Community will support our efforts,” Merwin said.
The Center for Civic Engagement will support its operations and programs from grants, donations and fees.
For more information, contact the Center at (941) 590-7016.