University of San
President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. is the new chairman of the California Campus
Compact, a coalition of leading colleges and universities that works to advance
civic and community engagement for a healthy, just, and democratic society.
As chair Fr. Privett, who has served on the executive board
for two years, hopes to continue a trend of more colleges and universities
integrating service-learning and community engagement into their core
curriculum, rather than treating it as an elective or “add-on.”
“Students need to understand what the world looks like from
the perspective of the people for whom the world does not work well,” Fr.
Privett said. “We’re never going to solve the problems if we’re not aware of
the problems – the widening gap between rich and poor, the wide disparity of
lifestyles between Southern Africa and San Francisco.”
He sees universities, increasingly, as places where people
teach, learn, and do research on how to address the world’s problems, from
poverty and human trafficking to the need for socially responsible businesses.
While intent on sharing USF’s approach to incorporating
service-learning as part of each undergraduate students’ education with other
Campus Compact member schools, he also expects to discover effective and
exciting programs developed by other schools that might be replicated or
re-imagined at USF.
“Overall, I think that the colleges and
universities that are members of California Campus Compact have the opportunity
to offer an educational model that rewrites the script for higher education so
that academic rigor, social responsibility, and human development are not
viewed as competing claims, but as the complementary components of an excellent
education that makes a unique contribution to fashioning a more humane and just
world for all,” Fr. Privett said.