Leader in Community Engagement
by Nancy Nicely
Associate Professor of Music Tom Whitman '82 leads the Chester Children's Gamelan Project.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently named Swarthmore College a leader in community engagement. The elective classification affirms that the College "has institutionalized community engagement in its identity, culture, and commitments," as well as that "the practices of community engagement are aligned with the institution's identity and form an integral component of the institutional culture."
In addition to closely examining how widely the College's service learning courses are offered, the Foundation also wanted information about specific community partnerships. From the Chester Children's Chorus and the Chester Children's Gamelan Project to the Crum Creek Watershed Partnership and the College Advancement Program, there was no shortage of examples.
"The Carnegie Classification recognizes Swarthmore's heritage and commitment to social responsibility, the resources it has invested, and the exceptional creativity and energetic responses of students, faculty, administration, and alumni to community issues and needs as they've found them," says Joy Charlton, director of the College's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibilty. "Swarthmore is particularly well-known for its signature programs now housed in the Lang Center and for the ways our students are encouraged to think in big ways."