Engaging U Newsletter - 4/16/13

Engagement Profile

In each edition of Engaging U, we will feature a University of Minnesota engagement unit or center. If you have suggestions for upcoming profiles, please contact Amber Cameron (acameron@umn.edu).

Center for Small Towns logo with sun

For this edition of our Engaging U spotlight we meet Jessica Beyer, Community Program Assistant for the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota - Morris. Beyer gives us an overview of the Center for Small Towns work in rural communities throughout Minnesota.

1) Describe the work of your office.

The University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize the Center's resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Their mission is to focus the University's attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota's small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students. CST provides assistance on community and economic development projects—often involving more research or expertise than small towns can afford or provide for themselves. At the same time, CST works to involve University of Minnesota, Morris faculty and students in the challenges and issues facing rural communities, which provides students with rich opportunities for applied learning.

2) What is a current engagement project your unit is working on?

The Center for Small Towns has a multitude of diverse and ambitious projects being actively worked on and waiting on deck to be put into progress when resources are available. Because of CST's four main methodologies it's hard to look at just one project that the unit is working on because everything CST does is collaboration, and falls under different aspects of the Center's cornerstones. Currently there are four different projects that all together exemplify the broad range of CST's skill set and talents.

Currently CST is working to collect and analyze data for Lac qui Parle (LqP) County's "Computer Commuter" initiative which focuses on bringing comprehensive technology education to the county as a whole, and making that information accessible. The LqP Computer Commuter consists of a small reconstituted bus now filled with active mobile technology workstations. Community members board the vehicle and then can receive one on one training and attention from staff members on the bus. Two CST students are currently gathering statistical and qualitative information on the success and reach of the initiative, and plan to present a report and summary of what they've found out regarding the initiative.

The Center for Small Towns is also actively working with community support in the Starbuck community just outside of Morris. One student employee, also a native of Starbuck, is working to help update the local Chamber of Commerce's website with local businesses. He is also serving businesses directly by providing other internet services as well, including setting up their facebook, and making them searchable on Google Maps. By directly interacting with communities and their needs CST hopes to help improve the commerce and availability of businesses in the area.

In the area of brokering and collaboration CST is working in conjunction with the 4-Township area and the University's own faculty at the Data Services Center. CST worked closely with both student and faculty in creating a survey about the economic profile for the 4-Township area which exists just below the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota. After the release of the survey Engin Sungur, a Statistics Professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and also a key contact at the Data Services Center, will be working closely with CST to draw up both a statistical analysis as well as report on the findings.

Currently CST is engaged in creating and running a summit intended to convene rural leaders, the rural development industry, and artists all together at the University of Minnesota, Morris on June 5 and 6. The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a joint venture between the Center for Small Towns and Springboard for the Arts and will engage rural minded individuals from throughout Minnesota and its surrounding states to stimulate new ideas for small towns to continue to not only survive, but thrive. The Summit has a specific focus on uniting rural economic developers with rural artists to create change that can work with and encompass every aspect of rural communities.

3) What neighborhoods/communities/counties/etc. is this project partnering with?

The Center for Small towns reaches a large and diverse number of communities throughout Minnesota, but also beyond state borders when engaging in projects like the Rural Arts and Culture Summit. The Center has reached communities extending up by the boundary waters, as well as communities practically on the Center's doorstep. The communities CST works with are many, and diverse. The only requirement for a community to work with the Center is that its population is at or below 5,000 residents.

4) What impact is this project having/expect to have?

The Center for Small Towns hopes to create a positive impact on both the Morris campus community as well as the overall well-being of rural communities throughout the state. By reaching out to as many communities as possible (in the Small Town Harvest for example) the Center hopes that it can continue to diversify and broaden its outreach to communities throughout the state. The Center for Small Towns also offers opportunities for University students to learn and explore their talents as well as work closely and develop a relationship with small towns. The impact of the Center for Small Towns extends beyond any individual project, but instead seeks to positively impact both the campus community members as well as the members of small towns.

Visit the Center for Small Towns website.


Public Engagement at the University of Minnesota: Charting the Next Chapter

This conversation on the publicly engaged university of the 21st century will feature a panel discussion with Karen Hanson, University senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Barbara A. Holland, an internationally recognized public engagement scholar. Holland is a widely published author, consultant, and speaker on the topics of organizational change in higher education, community engagement, and partnerships. This free event is open to all faculty, staff, and students. It will be held April 23, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Carlson School of Management 3M Auditorium. For more information and registration.

Summer Public Health Institute offers Community-based Participatory Research course

This introductory course about Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) will explore topics such as: the purpose and applications of CBPR; partnership formation and maintenance; issues of power, trust, race, class, and social justice; conflict resolution; ethical issues; and CBPR’s relationship to cultural knowledge systems. This course is intended for graduate students and community practitioners, and will include visits from CBPR practitioners and visits to community partners. The course will take place June 3-7. Visit the Public Health Institute website for more information.

Congratulations to Minnesota Campus Compact Presidents’ Award Recipients

On Monday, April 1, Community Service-Learning Center staff attended Minnesota Campus Compact’s Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony at Hamline University. Minnesota Campus Compact supports civic engagement and democratic renewal through its diverse network of colleges and universities, and every year each member institution can select recipients for the President's’ Student Leadership, Community Partner, and Civic Engagement Steward Awards. We invite you to join us in congratulating this year’s award recipients for the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities: Student Leadership Award recipient Yer Her, a graduating senior, peer advisor in our office, and founding member of the Community Engagement Scholars Program Student Leaders Board; Community Partner Award recipient Jakki Kydd-Fidelman of Pratt Community School; and Civic Engagement Steward Award recipient Margaret Delehanty Kelly, whose students many of you have hosted through her Multicultural Perspectives in Sociology and First-Year Inquiry courses. We are grateful for, and were very pleased to recognize with these awards, all the hard work Yer, Jakki, and Margaret do in their respective roles to promote and support the engagement of our U of M students in the Twin Cities community.

UMN - Crookston & UMN - Duluth named to President’s Community Service Honor Roll

Congratulations to UMN - Crookston and UMN - Duluth for being named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Launched in 2006, this initiative highlights the role college and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve. 18 Minnesota Campus Compact member institutions were recognized on the 2013 Honor Roll. Visit the National & Community Service website for the full list and more information about this recognition.

Upcoming Events

Featured Resource

University of Minnesota Guidance Statement on the Performance of Community-Based Research

Our resource for this edition of Engaging-U is the University of Minnesota’s Guidance Statement on the Performance of Community-Based Research outlining the best practices for respectful and productive relationships with our community partners. The Guidance Statement lays out principles for engaging the community, strengthening community linkages, and respecting community values. Scroll halfway down the CTSI web page for the full text.


  • 2013 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty (Deadline: April 26, 2013 at 5 p.m.)
    This annual award recognizes a faculty member who connects his or her teaching, research, and service to community engagement. The Lynton Award is designated as an award for early career faculty. The award will be presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Community Collaborative Grants Program (Deadline: May 24, 2013)
    The Office of Community Engagement for Health (OCEH) annually awards pilot grants to community-university partnerships to stimulate new research in the area of community and population health. Projects focused on issues in community and population health that involve both university and community-based researchers are eligible to receive pilot funding.


  • Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research Call for Submissions (Deadline: April 1, 2013 - June 30, 2013)
    The editorial team for volume 2 of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research are seeking submissions for volume 2 of the journal. The journal is dedicated to publishing the intellectual and reflective work by undergraduates on service learning, community-based research, and all related curriculum. Submissions are welcome in six categories. Visit the link above for full submission guidelines and information about the journal’s content.
  • Request for Proposals: Community Health Collaborative Research Grants Program (Deadline: May 24, 2013)
    The annual application cycle is now open for the Office of Community Engagement for Health (OCEH) pilot grants to community-university partnerships, designed to stimulate new research in the area of community and population health. The pilot grants are also aimed at generating pilot data to allow new applications for extramural funding. Projects focused on issues in community and population health that involve both university and community-based researchers are eligible to receive pilot funding.
  • Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives: Spring 2013 Request for Letters of Interest and Proposals (Deadline: May 17, 2013)
    The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute invites letters of interest and proposals for three spring funding opportunities:
    1. Planning Grant (open to the community and University faculty and research staff)
    2. University Research Grant Graduate and
    3. Professional Student Research Grant



Civic Leadership Institute Online Calls: Learn More and Shape Its Contents

The Civic Leadership Institute Online is an exciting new project under development at Minnesota Campus Compact. This free, open resources will provide content and curate existing resources that can be used to enhance civic education and engagement - including interviews with diverse civic leaders and young people, stores of civic engagement efforts that demonstrated positive results, reflective exercises, and other materials to develop students’ ability to act on issues that matter to them. If interested in learning more/or sharing your suggestions, please just us for one of three conference calls: Wed. May 8, from 2-3 p.m.; Fri. May 10, from 10-11 a.m., or Mon. May 14, from 3-4 p.m. To register, please visit www.mncampuscompact.org.

Seeking Faculty Mentors for Volume 2 of the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research

The editorial team for the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research is seeking faculty mentors familiar with service learning and community-based research. Faculty members work with undergraduate authors from July 2013 to October 2013. This journal is dedicated to publishing the intellectual and reflective work by undergraduates on service learning, community-based research and all related curriculum. If you’d like to be a faculty mentor, e-mail the editor, Laurie Grobman at leg8@psu.edu

Enroll in this 3 credit course, CEHD 3100/5900: Community, Character, and Civics: Service-Learning in Singapore and Hong Kong

In this international seminar we will explore the nature of programs that lead to the goals of producing active and concerned citizens, and attends conferences on service-learning and civic engagement. The course will be led by Dr. Robert Shumer, one of the pioneers of the service-learning movement. The dates for the entire seminar are May 24 through June 9, 2013. Cost: $5490 + personal expenses. Contact Dr. Shumer, rshumer@umn.edu for further information.

Neighborhood Liaison Program Job Posting

The Office for Student and Community Relations is launching a Neighborhood Liaison program that will identify identify property owners and students renting in the neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus and plug them into an information network to help student renters meet their neighbors, share strategies for working with landlords, neighbors, or roommates, share resource information, promote volunteering, and plan social and community events. The Office for Student and Community Relations is seeking to hire four students (stipend provided) for the coming academic years. If you would like more information or application materials, please contact Kendre Turonie, Coordinator for Student and Community Relations, at turon001@umn.edu.

Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) offering summer & fall classes

  1. ID 3574 -- Race in America Then and Now: "Post-Racial" Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement
    • Summer Term (June 3-24, 2013)
    • 6 credits
    This program explores that era’s struggles as well as current movements for equality, and dares to ask questions about racial justice in America today. During the three-week program, students meet with civil rights activists who were active in the 1960s and those who are active now, and with lawyers, politicians, educators, and youth to learn about how America’s present is inextricably linked to its past.
  2. ID 3571, 3572, & 3573 -- Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment
    • Fall Semester (also offered every spring semester)
    • 16 credits (full-time, off-campus, semester program including an INTERNSHIP)
    This program looks at the economy, housing systems, education, welfare, government policies, urban sprawl, regional race and class segregation, and institutional discrimination. This program is based off-campus in the Twin Cities community and includes a 20-hour per week internship placement.

Visit www.offcampusstudy.umn.edu for information on all of HECUA's programs.

If you have items you would like included in Engaging U, please send them to Amber Cameron (acameron@umn.edu)