Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco recently hosted the tenth annual Presidential Symposium on Community Partnerships. Co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Tisch College and the Office of Community Relations, the event drew over 100 faculty, students and community partners to discuss preparing students for work in the community.

“As an academic institution, our core mission is to educate students – preparing them to make positive, lasting impacts through their work,” said President Monaco in his opening remarks. “Teaching students how to partner with and learn from diverse communities is an essential piece of providing the best education we can.”

At the symposium Tisch College announced two new resources to strengthen the university’s capacity to partner effectively.

Campus2Community is an online resource portal that will allow students, faculty and partners to access and share best practices resources. The portal is built into Trunk, Tufts’ online collaborative platform used for courses and projects.

Additionally, CORE (Civic Online Readiness for Engagement) is an interactive, online program that will prepare students for effective community work.  CORE will pilot in August 2012.

“The online program will strengthen the learning of students new to community work as well as those who’ve already been engaged,” explained Mindy Nierenberg, Tisch College senior program manager who is leading the development of the new online program.  “Students will be able to learn best practices for community engagement, develop skills that will make them more effective as contributors, and will have the opportunity to reflect on their own values and experiences, helping them become more aware of community opportunities that are best for them.”

 CORE was developed based on Tisch College’s 2010 Student Preparation Task Force, which brought together faculty, staff, community partners and students to explore ways undergraduates could be better prepared for work in communities.

The new program also builds on similar efforts in the School of Medicine, which launched more static online student preparation modules last year with support from Tisch College. CORE’s online gaming platform provides interactivity, requires students to work with knowledge they are developing, and provides a summary profile of insights, resources and reflections, along with an electronic “badge”. Students may choose to share all or some of their profile with new community partners.

“Tufts students have always been deeply engaged in the world around them and these new resources will help ensure higher quality experiences for students and communities alike,” added Shirley Mark, director of Tisch College’s Lincoln Filene Center for Community Partnerships.

These on-line resources are tailored to Tufts’ host communities of Medford, Somerville, Boston’s Chinatown and Grafton, with about a quarter of the content Tufts-specific.  This will maximize Tufts student learning while providing a solid framework which other institutions may adapt for their own communities.

Originally published March 2012