City-Student Partnerships at Dominican University of California

The ever increasing demand of competition for students requires higher education leaders to be more and more creative in their offerings.

What better way to tap into the trend of students staying local for their higher education than to partner with cities and offer local internship opportunities?

Our guest this week on the Enrollment Growth University was Vickie Alleman, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Dominican University of California. Vickie shared her experience with unique municipality partnerships.

Seeking Out Municipal Partnerships

The idea of the municipal partnership with Dominican University of California and the City of Novato came about when the mayor of Novato, Josh Fryday, reached out to the university. Mayor Fryday is a first-generation student himself and the concept of the Dominican Experience – integrating real-world experience with community engagement – really intrigued him. He approached Dominican in the fall and wanted to establish a partnership. Out of those conversations and through brainstorming on the part of the city and university staff, the “Reimagining Citizenship” was born.

Reimagining Citizenship program

The City of Novato and Dominican University now have a partnership where Dominican University of California will send interns to the City of Novato for two consecutive summers. Students will intern the summer before their freshman year and the summer after. The students receive $10,000 from the city of Novato, and the university will provide up to $100,000 in scholarships.

Are municipal partnerships missional- or enrollment-focused?

Of course they want to increase enrollment. Vickie went on to say, “We want to bring value to the students. And we want the value of our education to be as robust as possible.” Linking students to municipalities is a good service to communities and students alike. Vickie noted that, “It’s a lot about our contribution to the community.”

The mission and opportunities for students can continue through other partnerships as well. County education departments near Dominican University have also reached out about the prospect of partnering on similar types of projects.

Building bridges with local cities at your institution

So you’re interested in exploring something similar in your community?

We asked Vickie what next steps or advice that she would offer to other higher education leaders.

She pointed back to having something to offer your partners. For Dominican University of California, it is their “Dominican Experience” that is a unique differentiator that allows them to bring value to their students and potential partners.

Vickie also noted that you have to have a stake in the partnership. With Reimagining Citizenship, they are offering a generours amount of scholarship money to students.

Lastly, she offered up the most foundational piece of advice in that higher education leaders should be networking with local officials or education departments. Don’t be afraid to ask the question of how your university and their municipality or organization can partner for mutual benefit.

How is your university differentiating the student experience?  Who in your community can you partner with to enrich the student experience and your community?

There are endless opportunities to bring value to students and our communities. We just have to ask the right questions of the right people.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Vickie Alleman of Dominican University of California. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Enrollment Growth University.