OPE names five public engagement Issue Area Networks

Five Issue Area Networks (IAN) will bring together units and departments addressing important societal issues through community-engaged practices to build cross-unit synergies, leverage resources, and work toward achieving a more collective impact with the community.

The networks will serve as the first point of contact for responding to funding opportunities, accessing community partners, and leveraging resources that support community-engaged research, teaching, and outreach. As the campus begins to explore various grand challenges, these networks can serve as go-to places for collaboration and partnership with external entities.

The five IANs are:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Members: 36 members representing 27 University units
    Anchor Unit: Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC)
    Key Goal: Catalog existing community-engaged work focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and identify gaps in existing work.

  • Economic Development and Poverty
    Members: 35 members representing 31 University units
    Anchor Units: Law School's Corporate Institute; Extension's Center for Community Vitality; and the Office of the Vice President for Research's Office of University Economic Development
    Key Goal: Conduct round table discussions to explore each unit’s community-engaged work and the University’s collective contributions to economic development and poverty alleviation achieved through campus-community engagement partnerships.

  • Food
    Members: 13 University units partnering with nine food-related consortia
    Anchor Unit: Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute
    Key Goal: Develop a "network of networks" to leverage funding sources, community partner relationships, and organizational tools to more successfully engage students in community-based food system work.

  • Transportation
    Members: 14 members representing seven University units
    Anchor Unit: Center for Transportation Studies (CTS)
    Key Goal: Broaden the University's transportation area network by connecting with units not already collaborating with CTS's broad-based network.

  • Youth and Education
    Members: Nine University units/campus-wide consortia
    Anchor Units: College Readiness Consortium; Community Service-Leaning Center; and UROC
    Key Goal: Increase and deepen connections between University faculty and staff working on youth and education issues toward a more community-engaged approach.

The establishment of these networks follows a year-long effort during which more than 100 participants from more than 80 campus units participated in a series of design thinking sessions that cultivated internal networks focused on advancing community engagement work on societal issues.  Network participants will convene regularly throughout the year to align existing community-engaged work and to explore collective action and impact for each of the issue areas.

Learn more.