Bethune-Cookman University’s commitment to Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility is, in part, reflected in its official motto, “Enter to Learn … . Depart to Serve.” Indeed, the spirit of service and outreach has been one of the institution’s guiding principles since its founding in 1904. The University has a history of service to the surrounding community as evidenced in such programs as its AmeriCorps Program. Through AmeriCorps, K-12 youth are provided one-on one tutoring and mentoring by the University’s students. B-CU students have given more than 130,000 service hours to community children.
The University is also proud to be known as a Periclean institution of higher learning. In this capacity, Bethune-Cookman has made a commitment to Project Pericles, Inc., the parent organization that was founded by its President and CEO, philanthropist, Mr. Eugene Lang. Our commitment is that educating the University’s undergraduate student body for active citizenship will forever be an important part of the University’s mission. Through Project Pericles’ activities and programming, students are exposed to film series, debates, guest lecturers, petition drives, city commission meetings, political task force issues and initiatives, and a wealth of other citizen engagement opportunities. Through both the Institute and Project Pericles, students are reminded of their responsibility as citizens of a democracy and that as, “Mary’s children,” they are expected to become knowledgeable about issues as well as actively involved as leaders and change agents for those among our citizenry who are not as prepared to do so.
Students and staff are especially proud of the volunteer time they spend with the TKR Community Reading Program because of its impact on the youngest members of the community. TKR children range from five to 10 years old. Scheduled for three hours on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, each child has several Bethune-Cookman University students working with him/her on reading and comprehension skills, and presentation skills as well as critical thinking and vocabulary development. In 2005 the University’s Board of Trustees voted to set aside interest from an almost 1 million dollar Vision Validators Program to be used to support the higher education aspirations of children who are long-term participants in the University’s Saturday reading program. The Charles Cherry Community Holiday Festival is possible only because of Bethune-Cookman’s student volunteers who arrive early to set up for the festival and remain to take down the game stations, clean the grounds, load tables, chairs, and perform other tasks associated with running a successful festival long after all others have departed The festival is a partnership between B-CU, the Daytona Beach Department of Leisure Services, and the Daytona Times Newspaper. The festival is named, posthumously, after Mr. Charles Cherry, owner and publisher of the Daytona Times Newspaper, five-term city commissioner, and civil rights activist. Members of the University’s sports teams such as the football and softball teams are highlights of the festival and spend hours signing autographs for children and adults alike. The University’s Concert Chorale performs regularly at this annual partnership event. The Festival is a major civic participation and social responsibility event.
The University’s commitment to Civic Participation and Social Responsibility comes alive in its Town Hall Community Meetings. These important meetings are held both on and off campus and are facilitated by the University’s President. Each sector of the University plays a vital role in the overall success of the Town Hall meetings as issues are brought to the floor for discussion, debate, and consensus building through open dialogue and critical thinking. These gatherings offer excellent opportunities for students to present themselves as team/audience participants as well as facilitators for break-out sessions. The Daytona Beach community benefits daily from the presence of Bethune-Cookman University students who volunteer their time and skills at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the city. In addition, city agencies and organizations welcome our students as they contribute volunteer hours throughout each academic year worth millions of dollars. Students are required to begin earning community service/outreach hours during the second semester of their freshman year. A minimum of 15 service hours must be completed at that time. Programs such as Word Wizards, which involves students who are enrolled in Reading 260 and Freshman Seminar classes, have proven invaluable to Turie T. Small Elementary School’s movement from a state-rated F school to a state rated A school. Other Bethune-Cookman students tutor and mentor children at Westside Elementary School, David Hinson Elementary School, Campbell Middle School, Mainland High School, the Police Athletic League, the Mary McLeod Bethune Community Center, Daytona State College’s Reach-out Program (CROP), Boys and Girls Clubs of America as well as after school and summer programs at the Richard V. Moore and John H. Dickerson Community Centers. Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a student organization of marketing majors, sponsor an annual Holiday Shop for the community’s children each November. As a completely free service, accounting majors prepare individual federal income tax returns for community residents and their fellow students as a part of their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
The University is committed to the health of the community that surrounds it and has opened the doors of the Chambliss Wellness Center to community residents. The Center is housed on campus as a separate wing in the School of Nursing building. The Center is staffed by members of the University’s School of Nursing. Through the Chambliss Wellness Center, community residents receive free health screenings, prevention information, and referrals to more specialized facilities as needed. Nursing students routinely sponsor blood drives, breast and prostate cancer screenings, and conduct community health fairs.
The University’s commitment to Civic Participation and Social Responsibility is not confined to the efforts and activities of its students. Faculty members, staff, and administrators are committed to the axiom that, “service is the price you pay for the space you take.”
Bethune-Cookman administrators, faculty, and staff volunteer their time to serve on the boards of various community agencies and institutions. They provide grant writing assistance to nonprofits and serve in leadership roles for such bodies as the “Friends,” an organization that supports area public libraries.
Bethune-Cookman University has built a reputation as an emerging center for research, particularly in the areas of the natural and social sciences. External funds, derived from contracts and grants from private foundations, as well as local, state, and federal agencies, are used to support the research, to provide stipends and research opportunities for students and faculty members, and to improve research facilities.
In addition, the University funds faculty research through grants made available through the Bethune-Cookman University Research Foundation. The University’s Research Foundation Grant Program serves to stimulate and support faculty members’ initial research prior to submission to external sources for funding. Some of the significant research efforts involve the University’s service learning and civic engagement outreach programs, teaching and learning strategies, drug use prevention among youth, and instructional materials development in the basic skills, political activities, and sociological phenomena.
A National Science Foundation-funded undergraduate program known as STEM, supports faculty-initiated pilot research projects in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Undergraduate students in the STEM disciplines receive research training and financial support for their various research activities.
Modern Language Research is done in the University’s International Studies Abroad program; in International Business Languages and Cultures; in Foreign Language proficiency; and Foreign Language for Functional Uses in various career programs, such as Medical Personnel, Social Services, Business and Finance, as well as for Law Enforcement and teachers in multicultural classrooms.
Each academic school also requires their senior students to write a senior research paper. A faculty committee selects the best senior thesis paper from each school for publication in the Undergraduate Research Journal which is published by the University annually. The journal accomplishes the goals of showcasing graduating seniors and providing models of research and writing excellence for the larger student body.
Many of the University’s faculty and staff members have distinguished themselves through work in their various disciplines and are renowned in their fields. Faculty members are (a) listed in some of the most prestigious publications including, but not limited to, Who’s Who in American Education and Who’s Who in America. University faculty members are also recipients of numerous awards and citations, including “keys” to various cities. Faculty members hold memberships in such professional societies and organizations as Phi Beta Kappa, Beta Kappa Psi, Pi Lambda Theta, Phi Kappa Phi, and the American Chemical Society. Both faculty members and students present their research findings at state, national, and international meetings and conferences.
The University Policy on Academic/Research Honesty
The University takes an uncompromising position against plagiarism, the willful distortion of data and research findings, the deliberate misrepresentation of data and research findings, and the deliberate omission and falsification of data and research findings. The integrity of the institution must be protected at all costs and failure to adhere to the policy unnecessarily jeopardizes the academic and fiscal health of the university. This policy also extends to proposals submitted for external funding, papers presented as public presentations, written publications, and oral and written public address.