A Message from the Director:
Welcome to the website of the University of Miami Office of Civic and Community Engagement. Our mission is to enhance university-community collaborations by engaging the university’s academic resources in the enrichment of civic and community life in South Florida. We seek to accomplish this by connecting students, faculty, and community organizations together in a collaborative process that translates academic knowledge into civic responsibility to promote positive social change.
The creation of the Office of Civic & Community Engagement at the University of Miami comes at a propitious time for the institution and for Metropolitan Miami. Recent reports suggest that Miami lags well behind other U.S. metropolitan regions in indicators of civic well-being such as trust in elected officials, support for not-for-profit organizations, and engagement of institutions of higher learning in addressing local issues
Miami’s distinctive characteristics, including racially and ethnically diverse populations; the transnational flow of goods, people, and ideas; and a highly transient local population, intensify the particular challenges Miami residents face in building civic cohesiveness. Yet, because these features also vividly reflect trends that increasingly typify global cities in the new millennium, effective approaches to enhancing civic engagement hold the potential to serve as models for the nation at large.
The University of Miami can play a major role in identifying and implementing these approaches. By harnessing the University’s diverse academic resources, its deep connections to the region, and its spirit of innovation, our office seeks to help solve complex social problems—and prepare students to make significant contributions to community well-being—through dynamic, collaborative, multidisciplinary teaching, research, and community engagement. By breaking down boundaries between academic disciplines within the university, as well as between the university and the public, UM can forge a new model of the engaged university, one that will help restore an “education for citizenship” that educator John Dewey called for a century ago, and that is at the core of higher education’s historic mission.
Please explore our website to learn more about our Goals and Strategies, our Major Initiatives, and the Courses, Research, and Projects at UM that are engaging the University in community-wide collaborations. We encourage you to get involved, whether you are a student, faculty member, or community organization. We welcome your ideas for collaboration as we seek to play our part in promoting community engagement and enhancing Miami’s civic well-being.
Robin F. Bachin, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost for Civic and Community Engagement