About the Center
Mission and Vision of the Center
The UND Center for Community Engagement was created by an act of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education in 2004. It is an academic unit reporting to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, located at and the only occupant of a University-owned house at 317 Cambridge Street. Its mission, approved by the SBHE, is to link academic resources with community needs. The Center’s vision is:
. . . to be a model program regionally and nationally by serving as a catalyst for faculty and students to learn from and with nonprofit organizations, rural communities, tribal communities, and other partners for the improvement of community life.
Rationale for the Center
The Center for Community Engagement was developed not only in response to national trends to connect universities to local and civic concerns but also to regional needs for the University to respond to critical social and economic developments in the Greater Grand Forks area and in North Dakota.
The North Dakota University System's 2000 Round Table Report set out expectations that all campuses in the NDUS were to be engaged campuses. The need for more local and state engagement by UND was revealed by needs assessment research released in 2004 ( view report). Results indicated a desire and capacity for more engagement between the University and rural communities, tribal communities, and nonprofits in the State. In sum, it was recommended that the University increase communication statewide, increase accessibility of its resources and bring them to bear on the wellbeing of all North Dakotans, and support and encourage departments, faculty, and students who provide outreach.
The Center was created in response to those needs with modest expectations for its responsibilities and the level of support required from the University. Since then, demand for Center services has risen sharply and important external developments have emerged, outpacing original expectations. Significantly, the Carnegie Foundation initiated its "engaged campus" designation in 2006, setting a high bar for service learning across the curriculum and for authentic campus-community partnerships UND's bid for inclusion in Carnegie's community partnership category was successful, but reapplication will require considerable advancement on UND's part to sustain inclusion. There is increased need for the Center to coordinate, document, and assess UND's efforts in civic engagement, especially service learning, for other audiences, including the University's accrediting association, the Higher Learning Commission. If UND is to keep pace with other universities, it will need to fully institutionalize civic engagement.
In addition to addressing these external requirements, the Center fulfills key objectives of the current UND strategic plan by providing public service to the state and region, by expanding the University's experiential and service learning offerings and effectiveness, by increasing research and scholarly activities and results through its public scholarship program, and by promoting important academic values of diversity and civic engagement.