Community engagement is central to the mission of Rockhurst University, a Catholic and Jesuit university. A strategic approach to community engagement and civic responsibility is needed to fulfill the vision to make God’s good world better through learning, leadership, service, and the pursuit of justice. In keeping with our mission of engagement and service, the Reverend Thomas B. Curran, S.J., Rockhurst University President, often reiterated one key message to our constituents consistently: we are in the city for good. Being “in the city for good” reinforces the University’s call to civic action and sets that expectation for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
The development of the Rockhurst University Civic Action Plan encourages examination of our current practices and actionable steps for further engagement. The examination of current activities that address the five Action Statements proved that community engagement is a hallmark of the Rockhurst experience for students, faculty, and community members. Additionally, the examination revealed deficiencies in our community engagement efforts. The Civic Action Plan addresses the concerns of the constituencies. The committee analyzed and prioritized the emerging themes from our community to create a vision and mission statement to support its goals and outcomes. The three outcomes are wide-reaching and address the organization of community activities on campus (Outcome 1) as well as increasing and fostering staff and faculty community engagement (Outcome 2) and campus (faculty, student, staff) and community relationships (Outcome 3). These outcomes will lead to the Civic Action Mission to increase the impact and reciprocity of community engagement and increase the visibility and participation on campus, in our neighborhood, and in the greater Kansas City community.
Outcome 1: Prepare for eventual centralization of community events, work, and opportunities.
Action: Form a work group to document, manage all opportunities and increase visibility
Action: Document and centralize all current avenues, resources, opportunities for faculty, student, and staff to engage with their campus, neighborhood, and greater Kansas City community.
Action: Communicate these opportunities effectively to the campus community.
Outcome 2: Increase and foster staff and faculty community engagement—build capacity among staff and faculty around community engagement
Action: Promote staff’s use of mission leave
Action: Document and advertise possible community partners for faculty and staff to contact
Action: Form exploratory group to engage with Rank and Tenure committee for possible development of community engagement rubric.
Outcome 3: Increase and foster campus (faculty, student, staff) and community relationships.
Action: Develop orientation to the neighborhood for faculty, students, staff
Action: Create intentional partnerships to embrace the reciprocity of campus and community assets.
Action: Commit to issues of the common good for the community (ex. Farmer’s market on campus, sustainability efforts, educations access, etc.)