Fairfield’s Partnership with Bridgeport Schools Earns NEBHE Award
The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has announced that Fairfield University's partnership with Bridgeport schools has earned it a 2014 Connecticut State Merit Award. NEBHE is honoring Fairfield University's overall institutional commitment to Bridgeport schools, the partnership's efforts to contribute to their mutual goals of preparing students for post-graduate success, and the University’s commitment to access and success.
Faifield University hosted a press conference announcing the award. Pictured at the event are (left to rigtht): Amy Marshall, chief academic officer for the City of Bridgeport; Mayor Bill Finch of the City of Bridgeport; The Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx S.J., president, Fairfield University; Anita Glinecki, president of Housatonic Community College, and chair of the Bridgeport Higher Education Alliance; and Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, superintendent of schools for the diocese of Bridgeport
Fairfield University’s long-standing and multifaceted partnership with Bridgeport schools includes such initiatives as the Community Partners Scholars program, the Bridgeport Tuition Program, Project Excel, and a number of community outreach programs such as the Connecticut Writing Project, Teacher Preparation internship programs, service-learning courses with University students tutoring K-3rd graders, the Bryant School Book Club facilitated through Campus Ministry, and enrichment programs for Bridgeport schools presented by Fairfield's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
"All universities and colleges have a responsibility to serve their neighbors and communities," said Fr. von Arx. "As a Jesuit and Catholic University, Fairfield has an even more explicit obligation. It is our mission to form men and women who will embrace their obligation to work in the service of their fellow men and women, to engage with the world as it is, and to do their utmost to transform their communities for the better. Our partnership with Bridgeport schools enriches us. It brings energy, strength, ingenuity, and love into our University community, and we are deeply grateful for all the benefits that we derive from that partnership."
"Fairfield University has been an outstanding community partner to the City of Bridgeport and our public schools," said Mayor Bill Finch. "The administration, staff, students, and faculty are helping to improve the lives of young people in Bridgeport every day through numerous collaborative programs. We are very thankful for our partnership and are very proud of Father von Arx and the entire Fairfield University community for winning this award."
"As chief academic officer for Bridgeport public schools and an alumna of Fairfield University I find this partnership to be mutually beneficial," said Amy Marshall. "Our students in Bridgeport are provided with broad based academic support and fulfilling enrichment experiences. Through their work in Bridgeport public schools, the students and staff from Fairfield University are living the mandate of St. Ignatius of Loyola to live a life of service above self. They are actively engaged in an environment that is rich in diversity in Bridgeport as they do their work."
The successful results of this partnership include:
- Over $16 million in Fairfield University scholarships distributed through the Community Partners Scholars program.
- Nearly $3 million in full scholarships to Fairfield University distributed through the Bridgeport Tuition Program.
- More than 310 Bridgeport students benefitting overall from the Community Partners Scholars and Bridgeport Tuition program.
- Nearly 400 Bridgeport students served by Project Excel; 280 students have graduated from Fairfield University and 90 are still enrolled.
- Fairfield's Connecticut Writing Project providing over 100 hours of service to students and faculty at Bassick High School, including sponsored workshops to design stronger high school curriculum for college and career-ready writing.
- Fifty student teachers from Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) benefiting from collaborative student-teacher learning experiences with Bridgeport Public Schools (BPS) classroom teachers.
- A service-learning model that provides literacy support to over 400 Cesar Batalla School students, K-3rd grade, while supporting the education of over 200 Fairfield University students serving as literacy tutors through Fairfield University's Office of Service Learning and GSEAP.
- Over 3,000 pre-school, elementary school and middle school students from throughout Fairfield County receiving enrichment and educational programs in ARTSBOUND Schoolday Series, provided by Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.