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Loyola and other Louisianan colleges and universities become part of Campus Compact

Loyola press release - June 25, 2004

Leaders of Loyola University New Orleans and colleges and universities across the state have officially declared their combined commitment to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. In a signing yesterday, Loyola became one of 24 colleges and universities that are charter members of Louisiana Campus Compact. Louisiana joins 30 other state compacts in affiliating with the national Campus Compact organization. The signing, which took place at the Board of Regents meeting in Baton Rouge, was attended by presidents, provosts and academic leaders from public and private higher education institutions throughout the state.

Campus Compact, which began in 1985, supports the civic mission of higher education, promotes community service that develops students’ citizenship skills and values, encourages collaborative partnerships between campuses and communities, and assists faculty who seek to integrate public and community engagement into their teaching and research.

As is the case with other colleges and universities, Loyola has knowledge of the benefits of experiential education in providing students the opportunity to develop and enhance their sense of civic responsibility. Students have participated in internships and community service activities over several decades. And with the establishment of the Office of Service Learning in 2001, Loyola sought to integrate, support and expand the combination of community service with academic learning for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience of students, the teaching and/or research of faculty, and the ability of community partners to accomplish their objectives.

The benefits of bringing Louisiana institutions under the Campus Compact umbrella are vast, says Loyola Service Learning Director Carol Jeandron, Ph.D., who has worked on the statewide effort. “This initiative will result in invaluable networking opportunities among public and private, and two and four year higher education institutions throughout the state. The support that Louisiana Campus Compact will provide its members includes technical assistance, training workshops, funding, professional development opportunities, and links with school systems and other community organizations. Those higher education leaders who had the vision and who have worked so diligently to see Louisiana Campus Compact become a reality are to be commended. ”

The signing is the culmination of events that began over 18 months ago. In November 2002, the president of Loyola hosted a meeting with Louisiana public and private, two and four year college/university presidents and other administrators to consider the benefits of coordinating service learning and civic education efforts under Campus Compact. Since that time, Jeandron and Loyola Provost Walter Harris, Ph.D., have joined others in continuing the dialogue and coordinating the effort. Initially a 21-member presidents’ steering committee was established and an organizational plan and by-laws were developed. An eight-member Executive Committee comprised of university presidents representing the diversity of Louisiana higher education institutions was established; Dr. Press Robinson, chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans, and Dr. Randy Moffett, president of Southeastern Louisiana University, serve as chair and vice-chair of the Executive Committee, respectively.

About two weeks ago, letters were distributed to campus presidents that sought written affirmation to join the state and national organizations. The next step after the signing, says Jeandron, calls for the executive committee to hire an executive director of the Louisiana Campus Compact, which will be housed at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

“Among the responsibilities of the executive director will be to develop programs and write grant proposals to enhance civic engagement activities at the membership campuses,” Jeandron explains. “He or she also will establish faculty development workshops and remain in contact with member institutions to address each campus’ particular needs.”