UM Civic Engagement Efforts Rewarded with National Designation

Ole Miss among 11 institutions recognized for engaging students and communities

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has been recognized nationally for its work on civic learning and democratic engagement by a national organization of higher education student affairs professionals.

The association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, also known as NASPA, selected UM as one of 11 national Lead Advisory Institutions for the NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement LEAD Initiative.

Institutions selected for the initiative display a commitment to making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of the fabric of a college student’s education. As a LEAD Advisory Institution, Ole Miss will mentor, support and share resources with participating members.

“NASPA’s LEAD gives UM educators and students access to resources and relationships that ensure our graduates leave this great institution more aware, motivated and skilled to collaboratively address society’s most complex challenges and capture new opportunities for the benefit of all of our community members,” said Cade Smith, assistant vice chancellor of community engagement.

Through participation in the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Initiative, faculty and students have access to a variety of professional development training opportunities and resources. Faculty and staff can access resources and materials through the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

“Ultimately, LEAD will help UM create, refine and sustain a practice of excellence in community engagement that enriches learning and development; enhances research and service; and produces enlightened citizens who are capable of leading the social, educational and economic progress of communities throughout Mississippi and around the globe,” Smith said.

Ole Miss was selected as a LEAD Advisory Institution through a competitive selection process, which included review of the university’s current civic engagement and an outline of areas for institutional focus for the coming year along with growth opportunities.

“This designation recognizes the progress that UM has made in advancing civic learning and democratic engagement goals throughout the university,” said Erin Payseur Oeth, community engagement project manager in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. “It also expresses our desire to contribute to work on other campuses and within the larger field of community engagement.”

The initial LEAD Advisory Institution designation is for the 2019-20 school year. The university may reapply annually.