Across higher education, colleges and universities refer to a three-fold mission of teaching, research, and service. The service mission has historically emphasized a charitable orientation, a focus on service. The shift occurring at Washington University is toward a civic mission that embraces a problem-solving, partnership-based approach.
A civic mission seeks to work in partnership with community to understand and improve social conditions by leveraging expertise and capacity. The renewed Gephardt Institute underscores this larger difference in approach—across a continuum from charity to change, from “for” to “with.” The difference in approach asks us all in higher education and at Washington University to consider how we might be involved.
The institute has been charged to sponsor a range of initiatives that catalyze connections between the community and the entire campus. Please let us know your ideas and get involved. Through our civic involvement, stronger communities can evolve. For more information about the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, please click here.
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