Strategic Planning for University and Community Partnerships

Vivian Lanzot, Director, Civic Engagement, New Jersey Institute of Technology

August 17, 2017


At NJIT learning does not happen just in the classroom, but through teamwork and real life experiences that make a difference in neighboring communities through service.  Embedded in our 20/20 Vision are milestones experiences via experiential opportunities. Community engagement is noted as a strategic priority because NJIT recognizes that it is rooted firmly in the City of Newark and its surrounding communities. When there is engagement by the entire university network of faculty, students, staff, administration and alumni we are meeting the goals of our strategic plan. NJIT also recognizes that when we prepare our graduates not only as professionals, but also as citizens we foster a strategic culture of community service and civic engagement.  

Increasingly, private and public sector entities are realizing the expanded benefits and advantages of partnering with institutions of higher education as a “value-added” component of their investment strategies. Through programs such as America Learns and Community Service Work – Study, our federal work - study eligible students utilize their allocated funds to assist community-based organizations, public schools, and government agencies with technical and non-technical assistance and gain valuable work experience. Successful involvement in the community via community-based service experiences has not only enhanced students’ academic learning, but also provided opportunities for them to develop leadership, project management, and communication skills. Just as important we strategically assist our non-profit partners to create a digital footprint. United Community Corporation (UCC) is one of our many community partners who engaged NJIT students in several projects this year. Craig Mainor, Executive Director, United Community Corporation, Newark NJ, says this:

 “We hope that NJIT and UCC will continue the relationship that we already enjoy.  NJIT has provided student volunteers, work - study students, and in the last few months we have of received technical assistance with our website design from students of your school.  UCC is extremely appreciative of this assistance to help us carry out our mission.” -

As a result of the commitment that they have shown to our student body UCC was selected as the Best Community Partner during Career Development Services (CDS) annual employer recognition event. CDS honors top organizations whose outstanding work in recruiting and campus engagement leads to highly effective outcomes for their organization and NJIT. By establishing this recognition for their partnership we create opportunities for further community engagement. UCC provided opportunities for our students that directly impacted the community, making the experiential learning extremely rewarding. “Volunteering does not require a degree to serve.  It requires your time and rewards you generously through the smiles of those you have served. Serve to better yourself through those smiles.” — Vineeth Yalaka, M.S.M., Management ’18: Student Coordinator Civic Engagement Computer Center, 2016 – 17.

NJIT's community and public service programs continue to emphasize the University's commitment to promoting service within our local community making it an integral part of the university’s culture. Our students are uniquely qualified to engage with the Greater Newark area youth to promote learning skills in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Other strategic partnerships included Newark Arts Council, Phillips Academy, Street Squash, Certified Angels, Inc., and Goodwill Rescue Mission. Vasu Patel, a sophomore majoring in Computing and Business said “I loved the fact that I was helping children learn reading and math.”

Community and Public Service at NJIT will continue to grow and inspire civic engagement through strategic and impactful community engagement, learning, and service.

To learn more about  Community and Public Service programs at NJIT, view our video http://youtube/HBTYtO_WAgw or contact us:  Vivian Lanzot, Director, Civic Engagement, Career Development Services  973.596.3642, [email protected]

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