To transform lives for the benefit of society. Our core purpose, while simple, is rich with meaning and drives everything we do at The University of Texas at Austin. Not only does it shape how we conduct research and scholarly inquiry, but also ensures that our resources serve Texans throughout the state.
Community engagement is no longer viewed as separate to, but rather as essential to a robust learning and research environment. It is part of how professors teach and carry out research and how our students learn. By encouraging students to engage in public service and academic service learning, they’re able to pursue projects in their areas of interest and help the community.
Nowhere is this ideal more evident than our partnership with the Rundberg neighborhood in North Austin. In February, more than 1,400 students volunteered there at the 17th-annual The Project, UT’s largest day of service. In total, students worked on more than 60 beautification projects across 19 work sites, producing over 8,900 volunteer hours with an economic impact of nearly $90,000.
This partnership illustrates the possibilities when we act intentionally. And I say with immense pride that DDCE has grown to encompass more than 300 community partners, including those with Huston-Tillotson University, Con Mi Madre, Google Fiber and the City of Austin, all of which are highlighted in this issue of Access & Excellence.
Our hard work has also been recognized nationally, including being named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and receiving the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification.
Whether it’s through our Community Engagement Center or in partnership with the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement, the DDCE is ensuring that we serve as a catalyst for positive change in Texas and beyond.
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
Professor, School of Law
W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community College Leadership