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Center for Public Service

 The inauguration of the Center for Public Service reflects Tulane University’s renewed sense of purpose within a city and region rising from devastation. Recognizing that active, civic engagement builds strong, healthy communities and responsible citizens, the Center for Public Service merges academic inquiry with sustained civic engagement. Tulane University’s Center for Public Service supports a university curriculum and research agenda by uniting academics and action, classroom and communities through which students, faculty and community partners dedicate themselves to the transformation of civic life. The Center for Public Service administers the two-tiered academic public service requirement of the undergraduate core curriculum. This is grounded in a sustained sequence of learning articulated by the Center’s mission. Instituting a cumulative and reflective graduation requirement makes explicit the ideal that education uniting public service and scholarship can be a transformation experience.

 

Programs

Academic Service Learning - Academic Service Learning is an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between the university and the community. “Learning by doing” enables students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet genuine community needs. Through reflection and assessment, students gain deeper understanding of course content and the importance of civic engagement. Student can choose from over 130 service learning courses each semester.

CPS Internship Program
-CPS internships build on students’ public service experience by providing an opportunity to participate in an intensive service project with a community-focused agency. Approved CPS internships promote practical knowledge within a student’s major, foster professional development, and encourage civic development.

Research 
- The CPS is committed to engaging in collaborative change-oriented research that engages faculty members, students, and community members in projects that address community-identified needs. Each year the CPS supports five faculty members by providing a grant in community based research.

International Service
 
- The Center for Public Service promotes international service projects for Tulane students and faculty. Public service programs located outside of the United States provide a unique opportunity for students to explore different cultures, communities, and social norms. The incorporation of public service into study abroad programs creates a bridge to different cultures. This bridge facilitates the development of meaningful relationships and allows students to expand their skill sets while contributing to the communities that have welcomed them to their country. Currently, the CPS supports four study abroad programs in India, Australia, Malaysia and Brazil.

 

Activities

AmeriCorps*VISTA  - The CPS sponsors a Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps*VISTA program that places twenty five VISTA members each year with our community partner agencies to assist with their efforts to serve New Orleans. The VISTA members work during their year of service to build capacity at their community partner and to further integrate Tulane resources into their partner’s programs. The goal of the program is to create sustainable programming at our community partner agencies that allows Tulane students to serve the New Orleans community without unduly taxing the community partner staff.

Community Service Activities
- Working in collaboration with Student Affairs’ Office of Student Programs (see below), the CPS provides advising to numerous student groups involved in community service. We support ongoing service activities as well as one-time service days, such as MLK Service Day.  Also, we offer assistance to individuals and groups (i.e. other universities) as they help in the rebuilding of the city by arranging for service activities and other needs. For a listing of student-sponsored community service projects, please see Student Affairs.

Outreach Tulane
- Tulane University's largest annual community service event, Outreach Tulane take place on a Saturday in September and is coordinated by the Community Action Council of Tulane University Students (CACTUS), Office of Student Programs at Tulane University, and the Center for Public Service.  Over 1200 students, faculty, staff members work in various community service projects throughout the city of New Orleans.

 

Community-Based Outreach Programs

For the Children - For The Children (FTC) is a Tulane University sponsored literacy program that has provided hundreds of tutors to low-performing public schools in Uptown New Orleans each year since 1994. Currently,  FTC operates at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and Sophie B. Wright Charter Middle School, where community volunteers and Tulane students work to increase academic achievement and educational potential.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 - Some photos courtesy of the Peace Corps - pcprep@tulane.edu