The Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) partnered with the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership and created the University of Miami Civic Scholars Program, which recognized students for their academic success and leadership roles in the community.
This program was designed to allow students to continue the requirements for their undergraduate degree, while intertwining the necessary components needed to graduate as a UM Civic Scholar.
Robin Bachin, assistant provost for civic and community engagement, said this program was unique because it gave students the opportunity to combine their academic and community work.
“One of the most important things about your college education is knowing how to apply your knowledge in real world settings and recognizing the role you play in the civic community,” she said.
There was no application or interview process to be admitted into the UM Civic Scholars Program. It was open to any undergraduate student, including transfer students, but all of the requirements must be completed in order to receive proper recognition.
“It is important for students to know about this program because there are a lot of students who are actively involved in community based work,” Bachin said.
A civic scholar must complete four civic service-learning courses, maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, complete a capstone project, participate in a five-week reflection seminar during their last semester at UM, and participate in three co-curricular service and leadership development experiences.
CCE monitors the academic component of the program, and the Butler Center monitors the co-curricular component.
When students began the UM Civic Scholar Program, a tracking form was used to check off requirements as they were completed to make sure students stay on track.
Capstone projects could have been completed as an internship with an appropriate community agency through the Toppel Internship Program, a community-based senior thesis or a community-based research project that took place over one semester, and must be approved by CCE beforehand.
Service and leadership development experiences were completed through the Butler Center.
Students had various options, such as Alternative Break, LeaderShape, STRIVE Community, IMPACT Leadership Retreat and studying abroad, so long as it had a focus on service.
“This program is meant to recognize those students who have done quite a bit of work in volunteerism leadership development and linked their classroom learning with their community outreach,” Bachin said.
Upon successfully completing these requirements, students were officially recognized as UM Civic Scholars with a notation by the Registrar’s Office on their final transcripts, a certificate of achievement, recognition at the annual Celebration of Involvement and recognition at the Honors Convocation.
Andrew Wiemer, director of the Butler Center, said he was excited about the opportunity the UM Civic Scholars Program provides to students.
“We want our students to be citizens of the greater community,” he said. “I hope our students will take an active role in signing up for the courses and experiences the program offers.”