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Embedded in the rich intellectual setting of Vanderbilt, OACS aims to support the university to achieve an undergraduate experience that exposes students to a wide variety of perspectives and experiences aimed at educating the whole person while cultivating lifelong learning. This is done by creating applied community service experiences that give every undergraduate an opportunity to engage, to question, and to create change locally and globally. OACS creates trans-institutional programming, including programs that embrace the centrality of public health, community development, and other thematic experiences central to the strategic mission of the university. OACS supports and advises students and student service groups in their activities and through leveraging and embedding the use of digital technology to foster interaction and learning between students and the communities in which they serve. This is succinctly reflected in the OACS motto:


Core Guiding Principles

The following principles inform all work that OACS undertakes and focus both message and practice.

OACS expresses a commitment to the living-learning community through:

  • Humble service
  • Critical reflection
  • Action for global justice
  • Informed participation
  • Acknowledging personal privilege
  • Empathy and human dignity
  • Personal accountability


Primary Learning Outcomes

Led by these core guiding principles, the office developed primary learning outcomes in 2014-15. The outcomes are in place to drive programs and initiatives, ensuring that proper assessment practices are developed and followed.

  • Increase commitment to peace and social justice.
  • Understand that reflection leads to greater learning and continual improvement.
  • Critically examine one’s own values, beliefs, and personal ethics in an interconnected world.
  • Deepen respect for human dignity and inspire action with empathy.
  • Actively seek out knowledge to be an informed participant in society.
  • Challenge assumptions of personal privilege.
  • Respect diverse perspectives.
  • Broaden the depth of active listening.
  • Hold oneself accountable for actions and decisions.

OACS is housed within the Office of the Dean of Students. The mission of the Dean of Students can be found here.