Dr. Mathew Johnson ’93 Siena College Director of Academic Community Engagement Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
The Office of Academic Community Engagement (ACE) has had a monumental year of growth and success in our effort to further develop our commitment to build a world that is more just, peaceable, and humane. Just before the Fall 2011 semester, we hired a new Assistant Director of ACE, Lori Barringer, who now oversees our operations and special projects. Shortly thereafter, we moved from Hines Hall to the St. Thomas More House. The new space has made it possible to accommodate our growing ACE staff and an increased level of students, post-graduates, and faculty and staff engaged in our programs. This year we are proud to say that we have seen our highest levels of participation across all of our programs and projects. This year, Siena College introduced its 2011-2016 Strategic Plan and ACE is an integral part of the college’s new plan to build on the success of the first Academic Excellence Plan by implementing a new Academic Excellence Plan that is focused on student engagement. In each ACE program, connecting academics to service is fundamental to learning about key social justice issues in our communities. Our community partnerships offer a wealth of resources and vital information about the communities in which we live and work. By building campus-community initiatives our students and program participants increase their academic knowledge by critically thinking about solutions to real world issues. ACE offers the chance for students to become engaged local, national, and global minded citizens. This year, ACE lead the development of the HighImpact Initiative. The initiative brings together teams from participating campuses committed to working over multiple years to integrate high-impact educational practices with high-impact campus-
community partnerships. This year ACE held the first High-Impact Initiative conference at Siena College and 10-person teams from 9 colleges and universities attended, including Stetson University (DeLand, Florida), Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, Tennessee), and St. Mary College (Moraga, California). As a result of this initiative, we hope that our effort will result in higher levels of student learning, campuswide involvement, and community impact. This, too, touches upon Siena’s strategic plan to gain national recognition for experiential learning programs that prepare students for work, service, and practical positive action. Each year, more than 200 students from our various programs, including high school students participating in our Civic Engagement Camp, create a financial impact of close to $3 million. Because of our highimpact work, the Dake Family and Stewart Shop’s gifted ACE with $600,000 for the purpose of supporting and further developing our integrated, developmental, and capacity-building academic programs. Their generous support will make it possible for our program participants to reach further into their communities and deeper into their passion and commitment to creating a significant impact in community engagement initiatives. Thank you to all those who are interested in and involved with ACE programs. We invite you to stay in touch with ACE happenings on our website siena.edu/ ace, through our DEEP Service Magazine, or coming to a variety of our community engagement events throughout the year.
- Dr. Mathew Johnson ’93 ACE Annual Report Page 3