Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005. The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The other three W.K. Kellogg Award winners will each receive $5,000.
SJSU was one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award that were announced in June. Each of the regional winners automatically became a finalist for the national Magrath Award. The other regional winners of the Kellogg Award were Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota and the University of New Hampshire.
“The Magrath Award rewards the significant impact our universities make in their communities, states, and across the nation as well as the world,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “San José State University and the three other regional winners have demonstrated exceptional community engagement efforts. The winners have put their resources and expertise to use to solve the most salient problems facing their communities.”
San José State University was named winner of the Magrath Award for its extensive community engagement efforts through the CommUniverCity San José initiative. The program is a unique community-university-city partnership that engages local residents with faculty and students at San José State University and City staff in learning projects that accomplish neighborhood-defined goals. To address community needs, CommUniverCity creates and supports 50 community action projects annually. Projects range from after-school tutoring and nutrition education to adult financial literacy classes.
There are three main components to SJSU participation in CommUniverCity. First, faculty members apply subject matter expertise to solve real-world problems. Second, students participate in community-engaged learning projects. Third, SJSU provides financial and administrative support. Over the past decade, this consistent engagement of faculty and students has generated a multitude of short-term studies and longer-term research, including a five-year comparison of social capital indicators within the service area.