Calvin College has a long commitment to connecting its educational mission to the strengths and needs of the local community. Ernest Boyer, former President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, argued in 1996 that in order for higher education to advance intellectual and civic progress in this country, “the academy must become a more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic and moral problems.” He called for higher education to broaden the scope and understanding of its academic mission to include the scholarship of engagement so that the rich resources of the university or college will be linked to addressing societal problems.
In 2004, the college created a new position within the Office of the Provost mandated:
to coordinate and envision for the purpose of academic engagement Calvin’s efforts within the community in which it resides.
The Office of Community Engagement is focused on identifying strategic priorities, facilitating collaboration between college and community, challenging academic departments and encouraging faculty to use their teaching and research in focused ways to serve a larger community.