Educating our Community
Institute of Applied Learning
The Institute of Applied Learning serves as the professional development arm of the College of Education. Faculty in the colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences work collaboratively with local school districts and community organizations to bring research-based methodology to the classroom through ongoing sustainable initiatives.
The role of the Institute of Applied Learning is sustainable professional development to create field-based programs, generate collaborative university / school district grant funding and create on-campus opportunities for at-risk children, including summer camps in literacy and STEM initiatives.
The institute has developed a model of professional development, designing graduate-level courses to meet the specific needs of school districts. This model has led to gains in student achievement for participating teachers in the Niagara Falls City School District. Niagara University and the Niagara Falls City School District have represented New York state in Washington, D.C., at the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education “Day on the Hill” to showcase successful initiatives that have produced gains in student achievement, change in teacher practices, a model of professional development and the creation of higher-level math and science courses at the high school level.
Learn and Serve
Niagara University’s nationally-recognized Learn and Serve Niagara program supports the university’s mission by promoting and advocating social change and instilling in students and other members of the campus community the value of service to others, especially the poor and marginalized in our society. Through a variety of activities, Learn and Serve Niagara provides necessary assistance to the poor, infirmed, aged and youth of the local community. Last year, almost 900 Niagara University students were involved in Learn and Serve Niagara activities that focused on the need to improve learning through tutoring and mentoring services. A total of 27,545 hours of tutoring/mentoring were provided by NU students to school-aged children in 130 school, after-school and private placement sites throughout the region.
Work Readiness Training
In 2009, the College of Education launched an exciting new partnership with Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara to provide work readiness training to individuals with special needs. The six-week pre-vocational skills program, offered twice during the year, makes classroom, real world and hands-on experiences available to individuals with developmental disabilities. Niagara University students created program curriculum and taught the classes. In addition, program participants met with the human resource and career development professionals from the university as well as business professionals and members of Opportunities Unlimited’s board of directors to learn more about career exploration and the skills sought by employers.
Certificate of Applied Urban Ministry
New community outreach initiatives include the Certificate of Applied Urban Ministry program. Developed in partnership with representatives of faith communities in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, this interdenominational professional development program intends to make pastors and lay people more effective leaders in their respective churches and work settings. It is a unique program that focuses upon strengthening faith-based institutions and organizations that reach out to the urban poor. Course work is presented by instructors from various denominations and includes classes in numerous aspects of ministry, preaching, and church operations.
Border Community Service
The Border Community SERVICE initiative at Niagara University provides emergency preparedness training to citizens and encourages their participation in opportunities that enhance regional emergency readiness. The program partners with the City of Buffalo, the Town of Tonawanda, and Niagara County to provide citizen preparedness for residents in those regions. These efforts include CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training which empowers citizens to respond to the needs of their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues in the event of a disaster. Since the program’s establishment, home and personal emergency preparedness have been provided to more than 3,500 households.