Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

History of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

Service-learning is integral to Wright State’s mission to transform the lives of our students and communities we serve. It contributes to this mission by:

  • Building a solid foundation for student success at all levels through high-quality, innovative programs;
  • Engaging in meaningful community service;
  • Conducting scholarly research and creative endeavors that impact the quality of life; and
  • Driving the economic revitalization of our region and our state and empowering all of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni to develop professionally, intellectually, and personally.

The former Wright State University Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement was established in 2007 under the leadership of former president David R. Hopkins, founding director Cathy Sayer, subsequent directors Dr. Marjorie McClellan, Dr. Jack Dustin, and Dr. Jennifer Subban, and a group of dedicated Wright State faculty and staff. The dual-title reflected the growing engagement of students, faculty, and staff in social issues and improving the quality of life in local, national, and international communities. Although the office no longer exists, Wright State is still committed to providing students with rich opportunities for experiential learning and providing community partners with opportunities to meet volunteer and research needs in collaboration with the university.

The office was instrumental in setting up the Raider Academic Mentors, which places Wright State students as mentors/tutors in numerous Dayton Public Schools and afterschool programs, helped to establish both the Raider Food Pantry and a community garden on campus, and has worked to get over 45 courses designated as service-learning. The office also coordinated the annual campus, “Make a Difference Day,” sponsored by the United Way.

In 2015, Wright State earned the prestigious Carnegie Classification designation for service-learning and civic engagement, which placed it within an elite group of colleges and universities dedicated to supporting the communities they serve and building and supporting a service ethic among students, staff, and faculty through teaching and learning, service and community engagement, and research. This designation is a testament to Wright State’s commitment to sustaining and expanding mutually-beneficial partnerships that enhance the academic experience while supporting our communities in areas such as public health, urban planning, community development, chemistry, education, social work, engineering, and nursing.

As a result of Wright State’s dedication to, and our effectiveness in, service-learning and civic engagement, the university was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for four consecutive years and Washington Monthly recognized Wright State in its Top 10 Universities for Community Service in 2011.