In recognition of his work to promote service learning and community-campus partnerships throughout the Monterey Bay and Salinas Valley, Seth Pollack has been named winner of the 2013 Richard E. Cone Award by California Campus Compact.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Pollack has been director of CSU Monterey Bay’s Service Learning Institute. He has helped the university become a national leader in service learning and civic engagement.
“Service learning and partnerships are part of the very fiber of our being as a campus, and that is due in large part to the continued leadership on the part of Dr. Pollack,” said CSUMB Provost Kathy Cruz-Uribe.
CSUMB is the only two-time recipient of the White House President’s Award for Community Service in Higher Education (2006 and 2011), given each year to the six top programs in the nation by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The university has earned recognition for embedding service learning in the core curriculum as an academic requirement. As a result, nearly 50 percent of CSUMB students perform service learning each year, working in partnership with 500 local schools, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the region. Last school year, more than 2,200 CSUMB students provided approximately 68,000 hours of service to 180 organizations.
One example of Dr. Pollack’s leadership in community-university partnerships is CSUMB’s involvement in the Salinas Chinatown Renewal Project. Since 2006, more than 1,200 students and 20 faculty members have participated in this community-based effort to revitalize the Chinatown neighborhood of Salinas.
Working with the cultural communities of Chinatown and homeless-serving agencies, CSUMB has offered job training and computer literacy classes at the Soledad Street Community Learning Center; created a 30,000 square foot community garden; and collected more than 100 oral histories of the Chinese, Japanese and Filipino families who previously resided in the neighborhood, along with hundreds of historic photos and artifacts. The oral histories and artifacts will form the basis of the new Chinatown Community Center and Museum, currently being established in the newly renovated Republic Café on Soledad Street.
“In addition to being a passionate and skillful community leader and an expert in his field, he has worked tirelessly to promote service learning and community engaged scholarship to administrators, faculty, students and community partners, with impressive results,” said Elaine Ikeda, executive director of California Campus Compact.
Dr. Pollack holds a Ph.D. in international development education and a master’s in organizational sociology from Stanford University, and a B.A. in international affairs from the University of Colorado.
"I am really proud to receive this award, as it honors the exceptional work we are doing at CSUMB. It is such a benefit to be working at an institution that has embraced civic engagement as a core component of the academic program,” Dr. Pollack said.
“I can see the difference that it makes on our students, as they begin to discover that they can be a positive impact on people's lives. Slowly, that will transform our entire region!"
Richard E. Cone directed the Joint Educational Project at the University of Southern California for 25 years before his retirement in 2002. He has been an influential voice in the national dialogue on civic engagement and service learning since the 1970s. California Campus Compact presented Dick Cone the first Richard E. Cone Award for Excellence and Leadership in Cultivating Community Partnerships in Higher Education in 1999. Since then, the award has been given annually to a person who has made significant contributions to the development of partnerships between institutions of higher learning and communities – partnerships through which student learning and the quality of life in communities are simultaneously improved.