The Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) has launched a new Civic Engagement Fellowship that will begin in July 2012. The fellowship will be a one-year, paid position for a recent graduate.

“Civic engagement and engagement with the world is a priority for the University,” Director of the Center for Community Partnerships Catherine Lechowicz said. “We are very excited to have a recent alum fill this role to help connect all of these different things that are happening on campus.”

In an effort to connect all of the civic engagement efforts on campus, the new fellowship will have a broad range of responsibilities, according to Lechowicz. Based at the CCP, the fellow will work with the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism (OCS), Green Street Arts Center, Center for Prison Education (CPE), Service-Learning Center, Allbritton Center for Study of Public Life, and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

“We want these things to be connected and have synergy,” Lechowicz said. “And so this individual will help both in terms of engaging the students that are going through our office and also building bridges to these other areas. [The fellow will] help students see that, while we have different centers, all of this work is definitely connected.”

The fellow will connect local civic action by the CCP and academic study, according to Lechowicz. Additionally, the fellow will work with students, manage social media, and generate online resources, among other duties.

“What we imagine is that the CCP is really hands on local work, but really the social entrepreneurship piece is providing training and development of ideas in terms of social ventures,” Lechowicz said. “And then the Allbritton Center is more on the academic side in terms of studying public life and looking at it through an academic lens.”

Lechowicz noted that she and other staff members were inspired to create the fellowship after seeing the CPE and writing fellowships in action.

“It’s similar to the writing fellowships,” Lechowicz said. “I think the great work that has happened with that program through the engagement of recent alums is a really exciting opportunity.”

Lechowicz said she envisioned the position for a recent graduate with the University experience sztill fresh on his or her mind.

“We’ve all been talking for a while about the amount of work we’re doing through the CCP with limited staffing and seeing that our students are so engaged when they’re here as undergrads,” Lechowicz said. “And we really see this additional year as an opportunity to capture that energy and excitement while also helping the student gain this professional experience in a context that they know really well.”

In addition, the fellow will work closely with the new Civic Engagement Certificate Program.

“We just started the Civic Engagement Certificate Program,” Lechowicz said. “This person will help in the launching of that program. So there’s lots of different little things that are happening that I think will be really great to have someone helping us focus on that.”

With the advent of the Patricelli Center and the growth of the CCP, Lechowicz and other center directors discussed creating this fellowship during the last few months.

“These were ongoing conversations between directors here at the Center for Community Partnerships as these other programs were developed,” Lechowicz said. “This is what we see as a need and as an opportunity for students to have a lot of input, as a recent grad, to develop these programs more.”

The hiring committee will consist of Lechowicz, Director of Community Relations Frank Kuan, Director of Service Learning Center Suzanne O’Connell, and Internship and Civic Engagement Coordinator Paul Gagnon.

The committee accepted applications through April 10, and Lechowicz expressed excitement over the quality of the applicants. The decision will be made by the end of this month in order to have the fellow in office by July.

The fellowship will run for one year, from July to June, and will be a full-time, paid fellowship. According to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal, the Executive Budget Committee—composed of himself, President Michael Roth, and Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts-—accepted the fellowship proposal and allocated an estimated $28,000 for the position’s salary.

Rosenthal said that the proposal will be reviewed again after two years.

“It’s a new money proposal, meaning it’s funded from the general budget but is a pilot program only, which will be reviewed after two years,” Rosenthal wrote in an email to The Argus.

Lechowicz said that hiring one fellow would be sufficient to meet the growing demands of the centers.

“I think we’ll see how this goes,” she said. “Certainly, through the Office of Community Service, we have grown our programs, but I think it can be managed pretty easily with an additional person.”

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