Public Service

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Carolina’s graduating Class of 2012 included 290 Buckley Public Services Scholars. The program provides a way for students to learn new skills, strengthen their commitment to service and link their academics to making a difference. This program, run by the Carolina Center for Public Service, is for students who have a minimum grade-point average, complete at least 300 hours of public service, take one service-learning course and attend four skills-training workshops. The students are serving communities across North Carolina, the nation and the world working in nursing homes, hospitals, public schools and a wide range of non-profits. More than 1,700 students participated in the program during the 2011-2012 academic year.

UNC presented three programs as exemplary cases in the application for recognition:

  • The UNC Law Pro Bono program connects law students with hundreds of pro bono projects under the supervision of practicing attorneys. The program works throughout the year with community partners, legal aid offices, law school student groups, professors, alumni, private attorneys and fellow students to facilitate individual pro bono projects, special clinics and group trips in which students can participate. During the 2011-12 academic year, 15 group projects involving 378 UNC law students addressed diverse legal issues such as education, environmental and civil rights law, consumer protection and income tax, ensuring that individuals who have neither economic nor political means have the opportunity to pursue legal claims and rights.
  • Carolina Navigators works with UNC undergraduates who have international experience. Participants enroll in a service-learning course to investigate intercultural competence and global education in North Carolina, as well as draw on their experiences to create a variety of global K-12 education resources like photo stories, video stories and articles. Students bring a global perspective to the classroom through presentations, group discussions, conducting research or choosing globally-themed classroom materials. In 2011-12, 29 UNC students completed roughly 800 service hours over two semesters and reached more than 22,500 students throughout North Carolina.
  • SMART Mentoring engages UNC undergraduates and local middle-school students in mentoring relationships, targeting students from low-income communities at high risk of bullying, abuse, academic failure and juvenile delinquency. The program, a unique collaboration between the Carolina Center for Public Service, nonprofit Volunteers for Youth and UNC’s department of sociology, represents service-learning in its true form. In 2011-2012, 30 student mentors were matched with 30 mentees who engaged in a wide variety of activities, including workshops and educational trips.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the School of Medicine are collaborating to create a physician assistant master’s degree program for returning military veterans . The program aims to enroll its first class in 2015. Almost 1 million North Carolinians live in areas with a shortage of health care professionals. The two-year program will provide opportunities for military veterans to practice medicine in North Carolina, helping communities facing these shortages.