Add another Carnegie trophy to UNLV’s shelf. Already recognized as an R1 “very high research activity” university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, UNLV earned the organization’s highest recognition for community engagement as well. It’s yet another milestone on the university’s quest to implement its Top Tier strategic plan.
The foundation awarded UNLV the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, which was achieved by just 119 institutions across the country in the 2020 cycle. It took a year and a half for UNLV’s Office of Community Engagement to compile the application. Here are just a few of the community partnerships noted in the application.
Rebel Science Camp
Las Vegas fifth graders are getting a jump on science, thanks to Rebel Science Camp. Since 2017, Alison Sloat, assistant professor in residence, and Liz Dziminski, STEM strategist at the Roger D. Gehring Academy of Science and Technology, have led this collaboration, which brings in around 70 elementary students on Fridays during the spring semester to get hands-on experience alongside College of Sciences undergrads. Fifth-graders learn how science impacts their daily lives, with more than 600 of them having studied climate change, chemistry in everyday life, and water conservation.
Free Legal Education Classes
The William S. Boyd School of Law teams up with both the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Legal Services to provide free legal services and education to the community.
Since 1998 the school and Legal Aid Center have helped more than 70,000 people learn about bankruptcy, foreclosure, guardianship, immigration, and other issues. And through the partnership with Nevada Legal Services, law students have traveled to rural areas in the state to educate Nevadans with limited access to legal services. Between the two programs, 100 to 150 law students a year work in the community.
Failure to Appear
Las Vegas has one of the highest rates in the country of the sexual exploitation of children. Criminal justice professor M. Alexis Kennedy partnered with Clark County Eighth Judicial Court Judge William Voy to do something about it.
Children arrested for prostitution are considered victims by federal standards, but locally are processed through the juvenile justice system. Failure to Appear aimed to give children arrested for prostitution the chance to voice what services would actually help them. Under a federal grant from 2016 to 2018, two faculty members and 12 students interviewed trafficking survivors. The results have since been used in peer-reviewed publications and presented at national and international conferences. Kennedy continues today to research court records on human trafficking victims in juvenile court.
Reinvent Schools Las Vegas
Looking to bolster academic success and well-being of children living in poverty, associate professor Joseph Morgan of the College of Education teamed up with Lisa Morris Hibbler, chief community services officer for the city of Las Vegas, to create Reinvent Schools Las Vegas.Since 2012, Reinvent Schools has steered more than $3.5 million to community school initiatives addressing academic needs, student support, and learning interventions. Literacy scores have gone up and chronic truancy has decreased as intervention methods evolved.
The Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition
Jose Melendrez, executive director of community partnerships in the School of Public Health, and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services and other key stakeholders came together to form the Nevada Minority Health and Equity Coalition in 2017. The group addresses health inequality among diverse populations and supported legislation that led to the creation of the Nevada Office of Minority Health and Equity. Faculty and students have helped build relationships between the school and various populations while creating opportunities for research, grants, and training.