UAB Honored Again for Innovative Community Service and Service Learning

For the second year in a row, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to America’s communities. The Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.

  March 2, 2010

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - For the second year in a row, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to America's communities. The Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.

Honorees for the award were selected based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

"It is wonderful that the hard work and dedication our faculty and students have for community service and educational outreach efforts have been recognized," said UAB President Carol Garrison.

"Students who volunteer receive first-hand experience and are guided by dedicated mentors, and the work that they do adds greatly to the community's quality of life," Garrison said. "The sheer number of our students who take advantage of these unique service-learning opportunities is evidence of their character and desire to help others."

The recognition was announced by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a program sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, and the USA Freedom Corps and U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2009, 3.16 million college students gave more than 300 million hours of volunteer service, according to the corporation's most recent Volunteering in America study.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations.

UAB also was recognized previously for its outreach efforts with the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The designation recognizes UAB's community engagement across its curricula and its outreach and partnerships with the community. UAB is one of only a select few universities nationally that appears in both the Community Engagement Classification and the Carnegie Research Extensive classification, which recognizes a "very high" level of research activity. In 2007, The Association of American Colleges and Universities ranked UAB among the nation's 18 best at educating students for personal and social responsibility.

PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT
OF UAB'S SERVICE-LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT

COMMUNITY SERVICE

General Community Service
Total participating students - 4,749
Total service hours - 1,196,072
Healthcare: Equal Access
Participating students - 125; service hours - 736
Participating faculty - 30; service hours - 172

UAB School of Medicine students started Equal Access Birmingham (EAB) in 2007. The clinic provides health care and medicine to uninsured individuals in the local community. EAB offers Wednesday night clinics, staffs local health fairs and screenings, holds education courses and addresses the needs of the under-served with specialty clinics. Working with a faith-based urban ministry, EAB holds women's health days and conducts health-care screenings in the communities around Birmingham with the most need. EAB also partners with local businesses, holds fundraisers and participates in advocacy events to raise the awareness of the gap in health-care coverage for the poor, homeless and increasingly diverse populations. In 2008, EAB's faculty and staff served 1,125 community members. UAB's School of Nursing provides assistance to the community by holding blood-pressure checkpoints and focusing honors projects on community-based service learning and evidence-based practice. Projects covered topics ranging from coping with death in pediatrics to families and preventing domestic violence in Honduras. The School of Education partnered with United Cerebral Palsy to conduct camps for children with disabilities and give evaluations for assistive technology devices.

Community Building

Participating students - 2286; service hours - 62,093
Participating faculty - 4; service hours - 84

UAB's Office of Student Involvement works diligently to provide quality programs in leadership, Greek life and volunteerism that work to provide co-curricular learning opportunities that maximize the experiences of UAB students. With the goal of contributing to a sense of community, service projects for 2008-2009 included: Into the Streets, when more than 1,300 students cleaned city streets in Birmingham; Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when 146 students worked with Urban Ministries to scrape, prime and paint homes for elderly and low-income local residents; Down the Alley, for which 51 students worked to paint over graffiti on local buildings, painted classrooms and planted flower beds at A.G. Gaston's Boys and Girls Club and cleaned and disinfected classrooms at Hemphill Elementary School. Ongoing service projects were conducted at Glen Iris Elementary School, Greenbrier Nursing Home, Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army. They provided tutoring, assisted the local Habitat Chapter, delivered fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market to the elderly and sorted donated clothing. During spring break, 20 students traveled to Lexington, Ky., and spent 600 hours building homes and cleaning a ropes course camp damaged by storms. For Into the Woods, 25 students traveled to the Sipsey National Forest to perform trail clean-up. The Leadership and Service Council's (LSC) 20 Ambassadors and 15 LSC members gave 3,800 hours of community service. UAB's local NAACP chapter awarded the LSC with recognition for its achievements and contribution to the local community. UAB's Greeks also gave community service: the National Panhellenic organizations reported 17,694 hours of service, the Interfraternity Council gave 9,610 hours and the National Pan-Hellenic Council gave 4,114 hours.

EDUCATION OUTREACH

Education Outreach for Urban Middle Schools
Participating students - 123; service hours - 1,999
Participating faculty - 7; service hours - 114

UAB's University Honors Program (UHP) delivers a comprehensive honors curriculum incorporating community outreach. UHP projects benefit and enhance the seventh-grade curriculum and enhance UHP students' understanding of the topic of the interdisciplinary course. Since 2000 UHP has partnered with Arrington Middle School (AMS). Freshmen and sophomores in the UHP are paired with seventh-grade students from AMS and conduct a collaborative project. The objectives include: provide mentors for seventh-grade students, the group at highest risk for losing interest in school subjects especially science; encourage middle-school students to aspire to college; further university goal of community outreach; provide UHP students hands-on experience; gain knowledge of public education in Alabama and encourage public service. The Arrington Service-Learning Project in fall 2008 explored the elements of theater from the writing of the play to the performance. Students wrote a short play featuring themselves and a mixture of characters and personalities from their lives. Finally, the AMS students toured the UAB campus, had lunch at the Spencer Honors House and viewed the teaching assistants' performances of a selection of the plays.

College Preparation

Participating students - 1064; service hours - 401,370
Participating faculty - 37; service hours - 16,310

In partnership with the UAB Center for Outreach Development (CORD) and Birmingham City School's George Washington Carver faculty, the School of Nursing (SON) coordinates an interdisciplinary course elective, Knowledge of the Health Professions, for high-school students at Carver. The course enrolled 20 students in the 11th and 12th grades who are interested in seeking a health-profession oriented career. This 15-week course delivered content covering optometry, medicine, public health, dentistry, biology, genetics, engineering, microbiology and health professions. The course culminated with a week of college preparation topics including how to go to college, paying for college, choosing a major and career choices followed by group presentations delivered by the high-school students. The aim of UAB's Greater Birmingham Mathematics Partnership (GBMP) is improving mathematics education in the region and the contribution of better mathematics teaching and learning strategies. Partners include Birmingham Southern College, nine Birmingham school districts comprising 21,840 students and 274 teachers, the Mathematics Education Collaborative of the State of Washington, the School of Education, the School of Engineering, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Math and Science Partnership and the Mathematics Education Collaborative. GBMP provides inquiry-based mathematics training and professional development for local teachers. GBMP's 23 faculty and staff delivered 13 community mathematics nights addressing quality math instruction for 2,016 attendees.

Science Education

Participating students - 210  ; service hours - 188,022
Participating faculty - 98; service hours - 3,210

In collaboration with 20 area school districts, city and county government agencies and area colleges, UAB's Center for Community Outreach Development (CORD) primarily promotes science education for K-12 students across Alabama who are disadvantaged. The programs address critical areas of need, and CORD partners with Birmingham City schools to develop early academic interventions and encourages UAB to develop community outreach. Stressing multidisciplinary collaboration, CORD's 35 faculty and staff and 70 students teach and learn effective math and science pedagogies. The LabWorks! program for middle-school students offers 150-minute hands-on lab experiences in earth and space, life, and physical science. During fall and spring semesters, 20 faculty and 150 UAB students developed and delivered lessons to 12,000 area students. The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI-UAB) incorporates research-based teaching methods and best practices into math and science. This NSF funded project has benefited 42,000 students. The Alabama Hands-On Activity Science Program (ALAHASP) promotes hands-on science instruction with consultation, instruction and professional development opportunities for 48 Alabama school systems. Funded by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, ALAHASP offers more than 200 events a year. Summer Science Camps provide 600 students in grades 6-12 with an opportunity to concentrate on science. Students spend 80 hours in hands-on experiments ranging from soil and environmental engineering to molecular biology genetic analyses of disease processes.

Health Education

Participating students - 74; service hours - 5504
Participating faculty - 28; service hours - 450

To combat childhood obesity and promote health and fitness, UAB works with 60 area school districts. GENEius, a biomedical science education program created with the CORD, seeks to enhance health literacy among the public. CORD offers training in inquiry-based biomedical education and fosters an appreciation for biomedical education. Activities include summer science camps, designing and delivering classroom experiences and teaching area students in Birmingham's McWane Science Center labs. Funded by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), GENEius lessons entail high-school students teaching their parents and siblings the lessons and testing their skills acquisition through pre- and post-testing exercises. BioTeach provides advanced education to high-school teachers across the Southeast. Annually, 16 teachers take this four-week course that prepares them to teach cutting-edge molecular biology. Ten UAB students and 20 faculty facilitated experiences and interactions. The Dance Exercise Program for Girls is offered in three Birmingham City middle schools. To combat diseases related to obesity, certified Jazzercise instructors integrate dance with aerobics. Participants are weighed and measured at the beginning and end of the program to determine how many girls are either overweight or at risk and evaluate reductions in Body Mass Index, or BMI.

About UAB

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