The University of Pittsburgh strongly encourages learning outside the classroom. The Office of Experiential Learning is a center with a multitude of internships and volunteer opportunities for students to gain experience while providing valuable service to the University's neighboring communities. Effective service learning is marked by experienced faculty direction to help students reflect on their experiences and cultivate critical academic growth.
Service learning also provides field training in leadership, a quality the University strongly endorses. The School of Arts and Sciences offers a Leadership Certificate program, an interdisciplinary program open to students of any discipline who are interested in further developing their strategic planning, people management and communications skills. The certificate curriculum is flexible, allowing students to meet foundation requirements by completing general education requirements. They later tailor the certificate to their specific interests through the Arts and Science Internship, Senior Seminar and the Emerging Leaders Program workshop.
The merging of community service and academic study is mutually beneficial to both students and the community. Examples of ongoing collaborative outreach efforts through the Community Outreach Partnership Center at Pitt include:
- Entrepreneurship training and small business development
- Children's literacy and tutoring, and youth school school-to-career mentoring
- Outreach of targeted health and prevention programs
- Promotion of healthy home environments, code-enforcement and improvements
- Job readiness training and employment placement
- Neighborhood revitalization
Community collaboration also involves partnership with neighboring academic institutions. The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, for instance, is a partnership founded by the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, UPMC Health System and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania whose goal is to position the region as a global leader in biotechnology. By combining academic resources with private industry, the partnership strives to further support life sciences companies in the development of drug discovery tools, medical devices and diagnostics, tissue and organ engineering, and therapeutic strategies for neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Other successful Pitt-Carnegie Mellon collaborations include:
- Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center—a venture with Westinghouse Electric Co. gives researchers access to the world's fastest computers for complex scientific exploration
- Pitt-Carnegie Mellon Philosophy Partnership—encourages collaborations among faculty in ways that influence philosophical thought internationally
- Immune Modeling Center—designs mathematical models to help researchers explore immune system reactions, aiding disease management and drug development
- Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition-multifaceted center studies the complex links between neural physiology and human cognition
Through strong relationships with the cultural community in Pittsburgh, academics at Pitt is brought to life through Pitt Arts, the campus organization that connects students to the city's vibrant arts community. The city is our campus, and by extending the learning experience to venues for the theatre, independent film, symphony, art, opera and dance, Pitt students add a much broader element to their education making them well-rounded, global citizens as a result.
Through participation in Pitt Arts events-which often include personal encounters and discussion with performers and artists-students learn that the arts can be a powerful social and cultural influence, not just a form of expression and entertainment.