PLYMOUTH, N.H—Plymouth State University has been named one of the nation’s top schools for encouraging community service among its students. PSU is one of six New Hampshire institutions of higher learning named to the President’s Honor Roll, through the federal Learn and Serve America program, which supports and encourages service-learning throughout the United States. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen noted PSU has been named to the list for all six years of the program.
“This award recognizes the students who spend hundreds of thousands of hours working on behalf of the region, sometimes with projects related to courses and sometimes as volunteers, because they care about making a difference,” Steen said. “And the PSU Community Service Center connects people at PSU with service opportunities in surrounding communities.”
The Corporation for National and Community Service chose 642 colleges and universities for the Honor Roll based on a series of 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. Among the many efforts PSU was recognized for are:
- The Early Childhood Professional Development School Project. PSU students provided almost 2500 hours of direct classroom support and learning experiences that engaged children while teachers in area schools attended professional development sessions.
- Improving Child Care Quality through Professional Preparation. PSU faculty are partners in leading the Coos County Early Childhood Initiative, a five-year collaborative effort to improve the health, well-being, and school readiness of children from birth through age 5 in rural Coos County, which has the highest poverty and unemployment rates in NH. Students also will be completing their educations and preparing to work in the North Country.
- The Teacher as Researcher. This project, involving Center for the Environment faculty, served 26 K-3 early childhood educators and 275 children from the Newfound Area School District (NFASD), providing 229 hours of Science, Technology Engineering and Math enrichment, including monthly workshops; 140 hrs of technical and instructional assistance in inquiry-based curriculum; 21 hrs of mentorship in action research and 21 hrs of curriculum publication.
“Our students and faculty are doing amazing things. Honor Roll recognition is a wonderful reflection of PSU’s dedication to the community,” said Linda Corriveau, PSU’s Community Service Coordinator.
Plymouth State students also donate hundreds of thousands of hours on projects such as mentoring area youth, staffing blood drives, cleaning up trails and leading environmental projects.
“Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap,” said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education. “The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we’ll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead.”
The 2012 Honor Roll recipients were announced at the American Council on Education’s 94th Annual Meeting Ahead of the Curve on March 12, in Los Angeles. For a full list of recipients, visit NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., or call (603) 535-2775.