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Nazareth Earns National Award For Civic Engagement

Published January 20, 2016

Nazareth College once again has earned national recognition for its civic engagement initiatives. NASPA, the leading national association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, selected Nazareth for its 2015-2016 NASPA Grand Silver Medal Excellence Award. This Award, one of the three highest national NASPA awards, recognized the College for program excellence for its Partners for Learning and Partners for Serving programs.

NASPA recognizes the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration.

Nazareth was chosen to receive the Grand Silver Medal out of 170 award applicants in the nation and NASPA says Nazareth was “a model of best practices that should be shared with other institutions.”  Nazareth is in the prestigious company of Grand Gold Medal winner North Carolina State University and Grand Bronze Medal winner New York University.

Nazareth also earned a Gold Award Winner in the category Civic Learning, Democratic Engagement, Service-Learning and Community Service, that led to the College being voted a Grand Silver Medal winner. Nazareth will accept its award at the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference.  Nazareth’s programs won by promoting the education of students for engaged citizenship through democratic participation in their communities, respect and appreciation of diversity, applied learning and social responsibility. These programs are meant to advance an institution’s educational opportunities to prepare students for active citizenship and active participation in our nation's democracy.

Partners for Learning (PFL) and Partners for Serving (PFS) are innovative co-curricular service programs housed within Nazareth’s Center for Civic Engagement that focus on poverty reduction, education, and community empowerment by building partnerships with schools, education centers, and human service organizations.

“I am so very proud that Nazareth once again is recognized at the national level for leading the way in which colleges can be engaged with their communities,” said Nazareth President Daan Braveman. “We are continuing to make a profound difference in the lives of our students and the lives of our community partners.”

The unique “partnering” aspect of the programs enables our community of faculty, staff, college students, and youth to develop effective working relationships that meet individual needs while achieving community based goals. Critical to the mission of Nazareth, the “Partners” programs empower college students to develop the skills necessary for the pursuit of meaningful careers while building diverse relationships and heightening their social awareness.

Partners for Learning(PFL) engages Nazareth students in partnerships with the children, teachers, and staff of eight urban sites: School #2, School #4, School #41, School #46, the Discovery Charter School, the Lewis Street YMCA, Southwest Area Neighborhood Center, and Hope Hall.

Partners for Serving (PFS) engages Nazareth students in partnerships with the children, adults, families, and staff of Salvation Army's Genesis House, Sojourner House at PathStone, Hillside Alternatives for Independent Youth, Unity Health’s Barbara Wolk Schwarz Residence, Catholic Family Center's Sanctuary House and Women's Place, The Community Place of Greater Rochester, Generation 2, Refugees Helping Refugees, and Episcopal Senior Life's Brentland Woods.

Adam Lewandowski and Julie Lloyd, program coordinators for PFL and PFS respectively, both state that with the guidance and support of our community partners, the Partners programs empower Nazareth students to be the next generation of civic leaders, informed professionals, and caring community members.

Hannah Wright, '14, majored in Psychology and Studio Art, supported Nazareth’s application for this award by stating “PFS had forever altered the trajectory of my life.  Not only did it teach me the importance of reciprocity, cultural sensitivity, and being an advocate, but being a part of the program gave me a niche at school, professional skills, and the ability to apply my experiences both in the classroom and in my future plans.” Wright is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA working through Rochester Youth Year (RYY) at an organization called Refugees Helping Refugees (RHR).  

Based on Partners’ program assessments:

  • 96.7% of Nazareth students improved their leadership and professional skill
  • 100% of Nazareth students demonstrated personal growth through their experiences
  • 98% of Nazareth students gained a greater understanding of social issues facing the community 98.2% of Nazareth students improved their ability to build relationships and work effectively with youth and adults with backgrounds and experiences diverse from their own

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.