Washington and Lee University received a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund that will help support a new initiative at W&L to enhance and expand community engagement and service-learning (CE/SL) in the Rockbridge County area.
The grant is part of a larger framework to boost the work of the W&L Community Engagement/Service-Learning Committee. The committee is tasked with developing new service opportunities for W&L’s students, enabling more faculty members to engage in community work, building stronger ties with the community partners and improving the quality of service and practices.
“This is an extremely important initiative,” said Marc Conner, associate provost at W&L. “We want to understand the extent of our students’ engagement with the larger communities of Lexington city and Rockbridge County. Our students give a lot to these communities, but just as important is how much our students learn from them, how the community projects and opportunities teach our students what it means to live and work in complex networks of civic life.”
The CE/SL initiative is a multi-year concept that calls for assessment, research, Q and A for community-wide planning sessions and training in order to ensure the highest quality of service is provided to all W&L constituents and community leaders.
The central piece supported by duPont will be implementing and analyzing the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE), a nationally recognized assessment tool to determine the quality of W&L’s community engagement work, and how socially/geographically pervasive is on campus and in the community. The assessment will be standardized for comparability to a 60-school database that will serve as a baseline for understanding general CE/SL strengths and weaknesses on campus.
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation that makes grants to a specific group of more than 325 organizations, including Washington and Lee, whose eligibility is determined exclusively by Mrs. duPont’s personal philanthropic decisions.