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U Ranks 6th Nationally for Service Learning

September 12, 2002 — Teaching students to become better citizens is a priority for the University of Utah, and now there is confirmation the U’s efforts are a smashing success. The recently released rankings of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report ranks Utah 6th in the country for service learning programs.

The U’s national reputation as an institution that helps others by fostering the spirit of volunteerism improved its ranking. One of the shining examples of the U’s efforts is the university’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center. Director Marshall Welch says, “the Bennion Center has provided technical support to faculty to help them develop and implement service learning. But without the faculty who recognize the value of service learning, it never would have happened. They have to buy into it. These efforts have been validated by administrative support at various levels throughout the university. Students are getting an opportunity to apply theory into action and make a difference in their world. These experiences go beyond traditional learning and prepare students to become leaders and citizens in a just and caring democracy. “

There are many examples of how Utah students learn how to help others, while at the same time earn college credit. Here are four:
— History 1700 American Civilization taught by Laura Knight studies the history and issues associated with immigration. Students go out and work with community agencies to support and work directly with new immigrants in the Salt Lake valley.
— Janet Kaufman teaches English courses where students go to the West High School Family Literacy Center and tutor students.
— Pat Matthews teaches Special Education 3010 on Human Exceptionality, where students go out and work directly with people who have disabilities.
— Coby Taylor teaches Pharmacy Practice 5124, where pharmacy majors become companions to senior citizens to gain insights as to their needs.

U.S. News also ranked the University of Utah in the main category of Best National Universities that offer undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees. The U placed among second tier schools, along with such prestigious institutions as Boston University, Rutgers, and Michigan State.

The U’s College of Engineering enjoys a great national reputation. It made the rankings for Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, coming in at number 61. The College of Engineering tries to stay current with new technologies and trends. It provides modern, relevant engineering education for undergraduates and graduates, while conducting scholarly research for use by the industrial sector, government agencies and the general public.