The Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement is a collaborative effort of university faculty, students and community development actors that seeks to enhance educational opportunities, facilitate innovative research, and build community development capacity. The center builds on the strength of existing relationships between faculty and students at the Bloustein School and community development networks and organizations in New Jersey and beyond. The Center hosts the Ralph W. Voorhees Public Service fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students who work collaboratively with community organizations on group projects each Fall. The Center seeks to:
- enhance dialogue and discussion among communities, government, students, and scholars
- increase community development capacity
- conduct research in partnership with communities
- enhance educational opportunities in and outside of the classroom
- support the development of innovative responsive public policy, and
- encourage innovation and entrepreneurship
The Ralph W. Voorhees Center builds on existing educational programs within the university and complements those activities by supporting a cadre of undergraduate and graduate fellows. The objective is to create formal relationships between existing courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs and the community, link students together while they are in school and after they graduate to provide a world wide network of civically engaged scholars and practitioners. These efforts will simultaneously build community capacity and contribute to the intellectual life of the university.
Creating opportunities to discuss community development and urban challenges is essential to developing innovative and responsive public policy. The Center reaches within the Planning School and beyond to build relationships to increase linkages, communication and to foster entrepreneurship.
The Ralph W. Voorhees Center conducts community and urban research. The Center supports local research, encourages people to think creatively about what produces local problems and engages in local, national and international conversations on these issues. Faculty and students work in collaboration with local actors to conduct innovative original research, publish in peer review journals, and present research locally and at academic conferences.
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