Universities have become major actors in today’s knowledge based society. As such they can no longer remain secluded ivory towers, removed from the social problems that surround them. Recognizing this, in 1998 the College of Arts and Sciences launched the CAS Community Initiative, which identifies the community outside the University as an integral part of its educational mission to acquire, disseminate, and apply knowledge.
The programs of the College of Arts and Sciences Community Initiative (CAS CI) enhance USF’s strategic goal of becoming fully engaged with its local, national, and global communities. Throughout its ten year history, CAS CI has initiated a wide variety of programs that view the community as an integral part of the university’s educational mission to acquire, disseminate, and apply knowledge. In 2006, CAS CI moved from the Dean’s office to the Department of Geography because of its growing focus on the urban and regional issues of the Tampa Bay area. CAS CI oversees two interdisciplinary urban curricular programs, an Undergraduate Certificate in Urban Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Community Development, which deepen student understanding of urban phenomenon by focusing on the Tampa metropolitan area and its communities. Students can independently provide service to the university, local, national or global communities through the Community Experiential Learning Program. Or they can participate in local, state and federal Public Policy Internship Programs, the Legislative Internship Program (LIP), the Tallahassee Internship Program (TIP), the Legislative Directed Study (LDS) and The Washington Center (TWC). All of these programs apply the pedagogy of service-learning.