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COC Honored For Its Commitment To Service-Learning

College of the Canyons has been named to the 2007 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction In recognizing College of the Canyons’ for its wide-ranging community service-learning courses and programs made available to students.

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As one of just 127 higher education institutions in the nation — and one of only 18 in the state — to receive the award, COC was the only California Community College to earn “Distinction” honors, placing College of the Canyons on the top tier of honored institutions.

“Martin Luther King said that the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically…intelligence plus character, that is the goal of education,” commented Jennifer Hauss, director of the colleges’ service-learning program. “By building on the effective use of experience as an integral part of education we are empowering our students and building stronger communities. Service-learning helps create wise and compassionate students,” said Hauss.  

Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to teach civic responsibility, strengthen communities and enrich the learning experience. With the belief that students can make valuable contributions to the world as they gain educational experience, COC strives to both increase community involvement and strengthen student leadership skills through direct service and the building of meaningful community relationships.

Last semester service-learning projects at COC included the participation of roughly 40 faculty members from across the college’s various disciplines, 75 non-profit community-based organizations and more than 350 students. Projects included a collaboration with the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services Tutoring and Mentoring Project, in which COC students established a mentor relationship with children, ranging in age from seven to 17, in foster care.  In addition, the Santa Clarita Valley free, drive-thru flu clinic, in which COC nursing and EMT students gained valuable experience working with patients and dispensing flu vaccinations, was another successful service-learning project.  The flu clinic was jointly sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and College of the Canyons.

“Americans rely on our higher education system to prepare students for citizenship and the workforce,” U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a congratulatory statement to the honorees. “We look to institutions like these to provide leadership in partnering with local schools to shape the civic, democratic and economic future of our country.”

Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually recognizes institutions of higher education that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs — and is jointly sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, through its Learn and Serve America Program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, Campus Compact and the President’s Council on Service and Civic participation.

Honor Roll selection criteria is based on a number of factors including the institution’s scope, innovativeness and effectiveness of completed and ongoing service projects, the citing of community service and service-learning goals in the institution’s strategic plan, the percentage of student enrollment engaged in community service activities and the institution’s latest Federal Work-Study community service participation rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Education.

 “There is no question that the universities and colleges that have made an effort to participate and win the Honor Roll Award are themselves being rewarded today,” said David Ward, President of the American Council on Education. “Earning this distinction is not easy. But now each of these schools will be able to wear this award like a badge of honor.”