Penn’s Ira Harkavy Honored With Ernest L. Boyer Award for Lifetime of Work

Ira Harkavy, the associate vice president and founding director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, was honored with thefifth annual Ernest L. Boyer Award on Jan. 23 during the annual Association of American Colleges & Universities meeting in Washington, D.C.

Awarded by New American Colleges & Universities, a consortium of private, comprehensive colleges that are grounded in the liberal arts tradition, the award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to higher education.

Harkavy was selected for his pioneering work in university-community partnerships and the civic engagement of students and faculty.

As an undergraduate student at Penn in the 1960s, Harkavy studied history so that he could better understand and ultimately help change the world. Under his leadership, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships has grown into a model for universities around the world.

The Netter Center now focuses on two primary approaches that allow Penn to connect with the West Philadelphia community: academically based community service courses and university-assisted community school partnerships.

Academically based community service courses are a form of service learning that’s focused on real world problem solving, such as those related to poverty, education and health care. These integrate learning, community service, teaching and research.

Today, there are 26 departments at Penn that offer 65 academically based community service courses to 1,800 participating students each year.

The Netter Center also works with five university-assisted community schools that serve nearly 4,000 children and their families. Currently, it is working to replicate this model with three regional centers in Connecticut, Indiana and Oklahoma.

After receiving his award, Harkavy lectured on “Creating the Connected Institution: Toward Realizing Benjamin Franklin’s and Ernest Boyer’s Revolutionary Vision for American Higher Education.”


Story Photo