ERIC Number: ED482378
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: N/A
Reversing the Telescope: Community Development from Within. Taking the First Look.
Massachusetts Univ., Boston. New England Resource Center for Higher Education.
The New England Resource Center for Higher Education has taken an interest in what colleges and universities are doing to address the needs of the "community within," an interest that began with the realization that many campuses achieved great success in outreach programs while ignoring the needs of low-paid employees of the colleges themselves. This paper discusses the concept of the "community within" and describes the background information gathered for a planned exploration of this topic. Simply defining the target as low-wage workers or lowest-paid college employees was not adequate, but defining it as workers paid an hourly wage opens the way for future studies. Many campuses do in fact offer programs to support the needs of the lower-income employees on campus, and these can be the basis for further study. The institution's human resources department can be a starting place, and is apt to offer the programs that are most relevant for the study. It is important, however, to go beyond the human resources benefit program model to think about how to help campuses institutionalize a commitment to serve their own communities as part of the civic engagement agenda. An such engagement effort must be carried out in an environment of respect. Pennsylvania State University is an institution that has successfully articulated its obligation to supporting staff and linked this with creative action and comprehensive programming. In spite of economic pressures on higher education, paying a living wage is absolutely critical to building a strong and sustainable community. As the Penn State example shows, it is not the only thing campuses can do to foster a caring and supporting environment in which respect is an institutional priority. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts Univ., Boston. New England Resource Center for Higher Education.