Involvement in the City of Bridgeport

Fairfield University belongs to several important communities that shape our patterns of enterprise and accountability and we are committed to responsible citizenship through academic, cultural, and service programming and initiatives.

Bridgeport is among our most important communities. Partnerships with the City's public and parochial schools include not only professional credentialing of teachers and administrators, but also efforts to enrich the educational experience of children in grades K-12. In numerous ways, from soup kitchens to literacy programs to health promotion, the University joins with corporations and community organizations to improve quality of life.

Area education and training needs are also served by our growing number of professional, graduate, and part-time programs designed to provide well-prepared teachers, nurses, engineers, and business professionals. These sectors also draw on the University as a source of interns, career recruits, faculty research as well as education itself.

The University has become a well-established intellectual and cultural center offering a wealth of opportunities to young and old alike. Through these many efforts, both the University community and the Bridgeport community are enriched. The following is a sampling of these collaborations.

Government Projects

  • The City of Bridgeport Internship Initiative. For students interested in interning for the City of Bridgeport, a new initiative, contact Dr. Jim Simon, associate dean in the College.

Public and Parochial School Involvement

  • Expanded tuition programs for graduates of Bridgeport high schools. Fairfield University collaborates with the schools on admission and financial aid mentoring, provides resources to cover group visits to campus, and funds a full tuition scholarship awarded every year at each of the four schools. Learn more >
  • The Adrienne Kirby Family Literacy Project, an early intervention program designed to increase the school readiness of low income urban Head Start preschool-age children through direct tutoring of the children and through parent education workshops. Students are trained to be literacy coaches and are assigned to work individually with preschoolers who have been identified as having delays in their language development. In addition to this supervised applied experience, several of our Psychology majors have used their work at Head Start to become involved in research.
  • Literacy Program at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport. Service-learning courses like the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions course that supports literacy efforts at the Cesar A. Batalla Elementary School in Bridgeport.
  • Fairfield University again named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Learn more >
  • Fairfield University and the City of Bridgeport announce internship collaboration. Learn more >
  • The University has an ongoing financial commitment to provide a full tuition scholarship to one student each year from each of our Community Partner High Schools: Bassick, Harding, Central, and Kolbe-Cathedral.
  • Undergraduate Admission sponsors visits from Bridgeport schools, providing mock classes, campus tours, and a two-day intensive workshop on choosing a college.
  • University President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., is co-chair of the Bridgeport Higher Education Alliance, formed in 2005, and designed as an outreach program to public and parochial schools providing mentoring and after school programs in mathematics and literacy. He is also a Board member of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund.
  • The Fairfield University-Diocese of Bridgeport Teacher Certification Partnership supports the education mission of Catholic schools by strengthening the preparation and professional development of the Diocese' K-12 teaching staff.
  • The University hosts the Connecticut Writing Project which sponsors faculty development in literacy, reading, and writing across the curriculum in regional schools including Bridgeport.
  • Fairfield's Quick Center for the Arts provides more than 3,000 grant tickets and develops study guides for 20 schools in Bridgeport to attend Quick Center performances as part of its Artsbound Outreach Program. In 2008, the Quick Center will sponsor a weeklong Literacy Theater Residency program with Park City Magnet School.
  • Teacher education students are working with St. Andrew Elementary School in developing curricula in environmental education and working with teachers and elementary school students to create sustainable garden projects.
  • The Mighty Math Club was developed at Bryant Elementary School and is an after school math tutoring program conducted by Fairfield's teacher education students.
  • Fairfield's Upward Bound program works with Bridgeport Public High School students to strengthen their academic, intellectual, and social skills needed for entrance to and graduation from college.
  • The University and Bridgeport public schools are collaborating on another USDOE program in arts education. The initiative provides funds for staff development, mentoring, special conferences and colloquia and an intensive summer Institute for Music Educators.
  • Other initiatives include service-learning courses within the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) that supports literacy efforts and research at the Cesar A. Batalla Elementary School in Bridgeport. GSEAP also has structured partnerships with Saint Ann Elementary School and collaborates with the New Beginnings Family Academy in Bridgeport.
  • Through a National Professional Development (NPD) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, one of the largest grants in Fairfield University's history, GSEAP faculty members will train educators in four cities including Bridgeport to better teach English language learners (ELLs) and students with special education needs. Over the next five years, the B.E.S.T. Education Project (Bilingual Education, Special Education and TESOL) will train about 55 practicing teachers in partner districts of Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford. These districts enroll more than 25 percent of all ELL students in the state.
  • A significant school-university partnership launched by Bridgeport Interim Superintendent Paul Vallas and GSEAP at Fairfield University will include an Early College Dual Enrollment Plan that will allow qualified Bridgeport high school seniors to take introductory courses at Fairfield University, as well as at colleges in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport school district will pay the students' tuition. The goal is to connect students with local colleges and to prepare more college-ready students.

Non-Profit Organization Involvement

  • The School of Nursing Health Promotion Center (HPC) located in First Baptist Church is a University initiative that has served the greater Bridgeport community for 14 years. Faculty, staff and students provide free health education, screening, and referral for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose. The target audience is moderate to low-income children, adults, and seniors. The HPC serves over 3,000 individuals annually.
  • The ELDER Project of the School of Nursing brings best practices for the care of older adults to RNs, PLNs, and nurses aides in four partner agencies in Bridgeport: Southwest Community Health Center, the VNS of Connecticut, The Carolton Rehabilitation Hospital, and St. Joseph's Manor.
  • The School of Nursing is also partnering with Bassick High School and FSW, Inc. to provide a special after-school program at FSW. The program is geared to 9th graders and designed to change harmful behaviors through exposure to a broader social context. Fairfield students are involved in mentoring and special activity development.
  • Our undergraduate and graduate nursing students are placed in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, and Southwest Community Health Center. Our recently developed Nurse Anesthesia graduate program provides most of the nurse anesthetists for Bridgeport and the region.
  • Annually, Fairfield students participate in Hunger Cleanup, in large measure with agencies in Bridgeport. In 2007, close to 500 students, alumni, faculty, and staff went in groups to do a variety of services agencies can't afford to pay to have done - outdoor spring yard cleaning, painting, cleaning basements, washing windows, stocking food pantries, and cleaning up Seaside Beach and the Gardens. The next Hunger Cleanup is March 29.
  • Students in an Ignatian Residential College Language and Literacy course work weekly with Mercy Learning Center's early education program.
  • A Dolan School of Business service-learning course assisted Greater Bridgeport Habitat for Humanity with their strategic planning process, exposing our students to strategic management issues in nonprofit organizations.
  • The Center for Faith and Public Life (CFPL) brought together faculty, staff, administrators, and students together with representatives of nonprofit organizations, several from Bridgeport, to discuss an assets-based approach to building University-community partnerships.
  • The CFPL is working closely with the Greater Bridgeport Family Economic Security Coalition to develop a comprehensive financial education program that would dovetail off of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services in which our School of Business students and faculty are already involved. The CPFL also works closely with the Diocese of Bridgeport and Catholic Charities on issues related to immigration.
  • The University's Campus Ministry program advises over 20 student-led community service groups that volunteer in the Bridgeport community. Close to 400 students participate in this program, and during the past year more than 6,000 hours of volunteer service was done through this initiative.

Private Sector Involvement

  • The University is under contract with the Arena at Harbor Yard which is the home court for our men's and women's basketball programs. The University is also committed to bringing additional NCAA Division I sports activities to the Arena by hosting post-season tournament action.
  • On an annual basis students are placed as interns at corporate and non-profit offices in Bridgeport. Examples include Black Rock Art Center, Habitat for Humanity, New Resources Group, Pullman & Comley, Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, International Institute of Connecticut, Augenbraun & Associates, Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, and Groundwork Bridgeport.