About Maine Campus Compact:
Maine Campus Compact is a coalition of 17 member campuses whose purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education. We seek to transform our campuses in ways that develop better informed, active citizen problem-solvers, stronger communities, and a more just democratic society. We believe that our campuses must be vital agents and architects of a flourishing democracy.
Maine Campus Compact was founded in 1994 as an organization of college and university presidents. Over the past thirteen years, we have convened presidents, chief academic officers, faculty, staff, students, community partners and other constituencies across institutional types to learn from each other. In our early years we explored the relationship of community service to our academic mission. Over time, we have broadened and deepened our inquiry to look at how to foster institutional change for civic engagement, how to become partners with our local communities in responsible community development efforts, and how to support and promote faculty and student engagement. Maine Campus Compact has facilitated tremendous growth in campus civic engagement. Since 1994:
- The number of Maine college students engaged in community problem-solving activities has increased from approximately 3,500 to over 10,000 annually, now contributing well over 200,000 hours of service in Maine communities each year.
- The number of faculty who regularly integrate community problem-solving into courses and curricula has increased from approximately 20 to well over 350.
- Over 15 staff positions have been added at our 17 member campuses to mobilize even more student and institutional resources well into the future.
What We Do
We work with our member campuses to:
- Improve the quality of education by developing academic and co-curricular practices that cultivate the skills and habits of citizen problem-solving in our students;
- Engage faculty in community-based teaching and scholarship focused on societal concerns;
- Develop collaborative partnerships among campuses and communities; and
- Advance leadership throughout the state in addressing critical issues and strengthening democracy.
We are part of a growing Campus Compact network that nationwide includes almost 1200 college and university presidents, 34 state compacts, and a national office. To learn more about national programs and activities, or to access a national calendar of events and service-learning syllabi and other resources, visit the national Campus Compact website.
Why We Do It
"The need to resolve complex problems intelligently places an ever greater demand on higher education - a demand for graduates who have a profound understanding of what it means to be a citizen; graduates capable of an interest larger than self-interest; graduates capable of helping this country to be not simply a strong competitor but a responsible and effective leader in a complicated world."
- Frank Newman, Former President of the Education Commission of the States and Campus Compact co-founder
There is growing evidence that many Americans are disengaged from communal life in general and from the responsibilities of democracy in particular. Disengagement poses the biggest threat to our collective ability to address the complex and critical issues we face today. Higher education--its leaders, students, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni--remains a key force in our culture that can respond, and can do so without a political agenda and with the intellectual and professional capacities today's challenges so desperately demand. Those of us in higher education have a fundamental mission to renew our role as agents of democracy. This task is both urgent and long-term. We cannot afford to educate a generation that acquires knowledge without ever understanding how that knowledge can benefit society or how to affect egalitarian decision making. We must teach the skills and values of democracy, creating numerous opportunities for our students to practice and reap the results of the authentic, hard work of citizenship.
By annually engaging more than 10,000 college students in community problem-solving, Maine Campus Compact provides a three-for-one return on investment:
- We support the development of Maine communities
- We cultivate the next generation of leaders and community problem-solvers
- We deepen higher education's commitment to civic and public purposes.