Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, Dr. Jack Christianson, is taking on additional responsibilities as he enters his new role of Special Assistant to the President of Engaged Learning, effective July 20.

This new position will see his former responsibilities sustained and intensified with emphasis put on the development of new institutional strategies and external alliances.

“Engaged learning is a national movement to get students to have a resume and not just a diploma.” Christianson said. ” Numerous students graduate with a diploma and are great at passing a test, but aren’t very good at practical application. These initiatives allow students to get out, get it done and be hirable.”

He will continue to give direction to the affairs of the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) and oversee it’s grant program, but will be better enabled to work on a broad array of initiatives with the help of newly appointed Assistant Director Vince Fordiani.

The $400,000 grant program enables faculty, staff and students to take on projects that promote engaged learning inside and outside the classroom. An annual report is produced which is an accountability of the funded projects, how the invested money was spent and how the community was involved.

The opportunity is provided twice a year for faculty, students, and staff to apply for a grant through an online application in which they will make a case for funding. The case is submitted and reviewed until they determine to whom they will grant money.

“We have one group of students that did an emergency preparedness program for the city of draper, who had no emergency plan. Our students wrote it, prepared it, presented it, and it was accepted and now the city of draper is prepared for a big emergency, and it was UVU students who did that for them under the direction of Wayne Hanewicz,” Christianson said.

The main focus of the CEL is to empower students through hands on involvement in the community. According to the center, students will ideally become people of integrity, stewards of place and professionally competent.

“We want students to know that when they come to UVU they can have access to real world experience as well as a superior academic experience, and when you combine the two, it’s dynamite,” Christianson said. “The mind is only as good as you can apply what’s in there.”