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The first annual Community Engagement Symposium to celebrate campus-community partnerships on Sept. 29

Published: September 21, 2022 Author: Staff reports

The Center for Campus and Community Engagement will host the first annual Community Engagement Symposium on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ohio University Inn. The event is sponsored by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment and the Sugar Bush Foundation.

The symposium invites Ohio University staff, faculty, community partners, and local nonprofit and public service workers to network, celebrate the campus and community partnerships, take part in the launch of the Community Engaged Scholars Directory and celebrate the faculty and administrators who have completed the Community Engaged Scholars Training Program.

“The Community Engagement Symposium will provide networking opportunities for our community partners, faculty and staff as well as an opportunity for OHIO to recognize our Community Engaged Scholars,” Katie Hartman, professor and vice provost of faculty development, said. “We are thankful to OHIO’s community partners, faculty and staff for their time and efforts to lead and support community engaged learning. Community engaged learning encourages deep learning through mutually beneficial collaborations.”

The event is focused on helping grow the infrastructure and relationships needed to expand community-engaged experiential learning opportunities that drive student success and positively impact the region.

During the symposium, guests will hear from University College Dean Dr. David Nguyen, The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) Executive Director Dr. Melinda Rhodes, and Sugar Bush Foundation Board President Hylie Voss. Guests will also hear from Director of Campus and Community Engagement Mary Nally and Social Return on Investment (SROI) and Impact Measurement Executive in Residence Dr. Allison Ricket on community engagement principles and the impacts of community engagement. There will also be interactive networking among the guests to explore prospective partnerships.

“The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment is pleased to be able to support the inaugural symposium,” Rhodes said. “CTLA is fully aware of the deep learning that community engagement promotes, and the invaluable experiences of our students who both volunteer through the center and enroll in community-engaged courses.” 

The symposium was developed to bring more awareness and recognition to the community engagement happening between the University and its community partners.

“This type of engagement is such a powerful and impactful form of experiential learning and provides authentic and tangible benefits to our community partners,” Nally said. “With multiple campuses across the Appalachian region, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to increase the amount of engagement we’re doing.”

Designed to provide in-depth knowledge about community-engaged service-learning pedagogy, best practices, and how to maintain partnerships, the Community Engaged Scholars Training program trains faculty to help create and uphold community engaged courses known as C-Courses. They model innovation in the classroom and assessment of practice and student learning outcome achievement, contribute to scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as disciplinary research.

Throughout the training, faculty learn how to build their courses to increase prioritization of experiential learning and community engagement. Faculty members have the option to include service-learning in their courses, which not only benefit the students in the courses, but the external partners involved as well. This gives students a chance to engage with organizations outside of the classroom while it counts toward their degree.

Once faculty members have completed the training program, they get recognized as Community Engaged Scholars and are invited to join the Community Engaged Scholars Directory maintained by the Center for Campus and Community Engagement.

“I think this type of engagement is incredibly important to students from this region where they are able to see these partnerships in their own community being formed and they get an opportunity to contribute to the region,” Nally added. “It shows the importance of higher education institutions in rural places like southeast Ohio.”

The deadline for registration for the event, is Friday, Sept. 23. Those interested can register here.