Campus: Northridge -- January 31, 2007

CSUN Joins Initiative to Teach Young People

Cal State Northridge is joining 17 other colleges across the country in a national initiative to teach young people personal and social responsibility.

"Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility" is a two year project by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) which seeks to embed personal and social accountability in student life in and out of the classroom.

As a member of the initial Core Commitments Leadership Consortium, Northridge will receive a $25,000 grant from the association and has pledged to spend an additional $25,000 to ensure that the program effectively reaches its students.

"We are delighted that the AACU saw fit to select CSUN as one of the CORE Commitment campuses," said Elizabeth Say, dean of CSUN's College of Humanities and one of the coordinators of the university's effort. "The goals of the program reflect the values already held at Northridge. We appreciate AACU's recognition of our efforts to instill a sense of personal and social responsibility in our students.

"This is something we believe in, are committed to and we're going to do regardless of the support from the outside world," Say said. "But it sure is nice to have someone recognize and support our efforts."

The program incorporates such subjects as the dangers of cheating and plagiarism, binge drinking and the use of drugs as well as broader issues that encompass being a responsible and contributing member of society.

To do this, Northridge officials plan to design, implement and assess new curricular components for two courses already required of all freshmen and to create a new Certificate of Achievement Program that will motivate students to take at least 15 units of service-learning courses or approved community-service projects during their years as an undergraduate at the university.

A team of senior administrators from academic and student affairs, professors and an experienced academic advisor will form an advisory committee that will guide the Core Commitments project.

Association officials said Northridge and the other 17 participating institutions were chosen in part because of the work their faculty, staff and students already do that mirror the initiative' goals.

For years, Northridge faculty and staff have incorporated service learning, where students apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations with local schools, nonprofits or governmental agencies, into campus life. In 1998, the university formalized that commitment with the creation if its Center for Community-Service Learning, which aims to inspire, encourage and support students and faculty in their pursuit of academic excellence through involvement in meaningful community service. The center pairs organizations looking for assistance with faculty and students who can help.

Joining Northridge in the initial Core Commitments Leadership Consortium are Babson College in Massachusetts; Bowling Green State University in Ohio; Concordia College-Moorhead in Minnesota; Miami University in Ohio; Michigan State University; Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts; Oakland Community College in Minnesota; Rollins College in Florida; Saint Mary's College of California; St. Lawrence University in New York; Tulane University in Louisiana; United States Air Force Academy in Colorado; University of Alabama in Birmingham; University of Central Florida; University of the Pacific in California; Wagner College in New York; and Winthrop University in South Carolina.

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