At Maryville College, this year is a time of greater involvement in issues that matter most to our communities. The CSC builds college and community partnerships for the purposes of service-learning, civic engagement, community-building and real problem solving. Current programs and partnerships bring together regional leaders, grassroots workers, business, government, nonprofit organizations, along with students and faculty, to learn, serve and seek solutions.
Throughout the year, the Center for Strong Communities sponsors conferences, workshops, community-based research, community forums and action-planning teams. Community forums are educational and action-oriented programs that address current public issues in the local area, East Tennessee or Appalachia, providing a springboard for collaborative planning and community action. Recent community forums have addressed concerns for water resources, health care, local elections and civic engagement, green infrastructure, Latino relations and civil rights, child advocacy, poverty and economic opportunity.
Each academic semester, students participate in Community-based Research (CBR), a program that connects students and faculty with social needs and regional issues that require careful study. New research questions are currently being identified by community organizations. Over the last several years, CBR at maryville College has become an exciting way for students to apply academic skills in service and learning with the community. Topics of research have included a study of service dogs with autistic children, oral histories of Latinos in East Tennessee, child welfare, prevention of of domestic violence, green infrastructure and environmental concerns. Students are also supported to present community-based research projects on campus and at academic conferences or community forums.
The Center for Strong Communities was organized in 2006 to build on the educational mission and long tradition of service at Maryville College, to be a visible expression of responsible citizenship and servant leadership in the broader community. Guided by the challenge to care for others and to work for justice, The Center for Strong Communities connects people and ideas to work for the common good.