Engaging U Newsletter - 2/15/13

Engagement Profile

photo of Jawad Towns holding young girl

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).

For this edition of our Engaging U spotlight we meet Jawad Towns, coordinator for Healthy Food, Healthy Lives Institute. In the interview below, Towns provides highlights of his center’s engagement work.

1) Describe the work of your office.

The University of Minnesota Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives (HFHL) Institute is an all-university Institute founded in 2007, evolving from a 2003 University of Minnesota Presidential Initiative. The Institute aims to increase and sustain the University’s capacity in the interdisciplinary arena of food, agriculture and health. We accomplish these aims by funding interdisciplinary University faculty research teams working on one of our priority areas of food safety (protection), prevention of obesity and diet-related disease and food policy. We also fund grants for the development and support of authentic community-university partnerships engaged in community-based research related to food and health. Beyond our grant programs, HFHL also focuses its energy on educating people on food and health issues and building relationships in the community through such activities as our annual research symposium, our Food Day celebration and activities, and through an interdisciplinary cooking course that provides students with critical thinking and technical skills to make well informed food choices.

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

One of the exciting community-university partnerships that we began supporting in 2011 and that we recently awarded a second year of funding to is the Body and Soul for Kwanzaa’s Northside Community Project. This project features culturally sensitive and appropriate methods to create a sustainable program, using “real-world circumstances” that support the Kwanzaa Church community in their efforts to increase healthy behaviors and decrease obesity and associated risk factors

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

While our Community-University Partnership Grants have and continue to impact a wide range of communities within Minnesota, including Native American, Hmong and Latino populations, the Body and Soul Project is a partnership led by Dr. Jennifer Linde, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology & Community Health and by leaders of Kwanzaa Community Church, a predominantly African-American congregation. Kwanzaa Church is located in North Minneapolis, an ethnically diverse area of the city where poverty and stress are disproportionate burdens on the community. HFHL recognizes Kwanzaa as a key and ideal community partner that has historically engaged its community through an action-reflection model. When the Kwanzaa Church community becomes aware of an issue or need, they analyze critical data and develop a communal response based on the voices of the community. The community-based participatory research nature of our Community-University Partnership Grant Program has been a natural fit for the Kwanzaa community and has been a major learning opportunity for the University.

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

Support from HFHL grant funding for the Body and Soul Project has helped Kwanzaa to enhance and continue to use the strong network they have built over the years to improve the health of church and community families by focusing on healthy eating, healthy living and stress management. The impact that the Body and Soul program is having in the Kwanzaa church community is reflected in a letter of support submitted by one of their members: “The Body and Soul program keeps me thinking and doing better one step at a time. Thank you for supporting this program, it is really making a difference in our lives.”

Updates and Announcements

MaGrath Community Engagement Award Nominations Due March 15 to OPE

The Office for Public Engagement seeks applications for the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Award and the Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. Sponsored by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), these are regional and national awards that recognize public colleges and universities for their engaged learning and discovery. The APLU accepts one application from each institution. A University-wide awards committee will review applications to determine which should represent the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. We invite University units and their community partners to submit applications by March 15, 2013. Download application guidelines from the APLU website. Please submit a cover page, abstract, and narrative response to sections 2 through 5 of the award application to avp-ope@umn.edu. Please notify us of your intent to apply as soon as possible by sending an email to the same address. For questions and additional information, contact Amber Cameron in the Office for Public Engagement.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to Host Team from Pakistani University

The University of Minnesota will host a team from the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan March 4-8, 2013. This visit is part of an exchange between five US universities and five Pakistani universities. The exchanges are focused on information and practices on how each institution is engaging students and community youth in leadership for civic engagement. This project is a response to a request from the US Embassy in Pakistan to encourage people-to-people ties between the US and Pakistan and increase community engagement. The Office for Public Engagement is scheduling the week-long visit and is looking for opportunities to highlight engagement work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. If you are interested in hosting the team for a 1 - 2 hour meeting to share your engagement work, please contact Amber Cameron ASAP.

UMN Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Pledge Drive

banner for U of M Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Pleadge Drive

A "day on, not a day off." That's the spark for the UMN Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Volunteer Pledge Drive. Inspired by the national MLK Day of Service, this pilot project on the Twin Cities campus aims to promote service opportunities for faculty, staff, and students while advancing the University's mission of public engagement for the common good.

Through a voluntary "Take the Pledge" web page, the project will also provide a snapshot of the community volunteer hours U faculty, staff, and students contribute each year.

Pledge any amount of volunteer community service hours through March 31 and complete pledged hours by Friday, May 17.

Sponsored by: Office for Public Engagement, Public Engagement Council, Office for Equity and Diversity, & University Senate Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Access

Applications are now available for the 2013 CAREI Collaborative Grants program

Faculty and staff from the College of Education and Human Development are encouraged to partner with teams and individuals from CAREI member districts to collaboratively design and investigate an idea or initiative aimed at school improvement efforts. The goal of the program is to connect schools and CEHD expertise to build knowledge and effective educational practices. The grants range from $750 to $3500 and are only available to eligible representatives of a CAREI-member school district and a College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota faculty or academic staff. The application deadline is Friday, March 1, 2013. More information and application instructions can be found here.

Upcoming Events

Featured Resource

banner of Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research

Partnerships recognizes that successful engaged learning depends on effective partnerships between students, faculty, community agencies, administrators, disciplines, and more. The articles in this peer-reviewed journal focus on how theories and practices can inform and improve such partnerships, connections, and collaborations. Studies co-authored by faculty, students, and/or community partners; or examining practices across disciplines or campuses; or exploring international networks are all encouraged.


  • CURA Dissertation Research Grant (Deadline: March 1, 2013)
    This program provides one year of support ($20,000) to a doctoral candidate in good academic standing at the University of Minnesota for the purpose of completing dissertation research on a significant issue or topic related to urban areas in the upper Midwest.
  • CCPH Annual Award (Deadline: March 4, 2013)
    The CCPH Annual Award was established in 2002 to highlight the power and potential of community-campus partnerships as a strategy for health equity and social justice. Each year, it recognizes exemplary partnerships between communities and academic institutions that are striving to achieve the systems and policy changes needed to overcome the root causes of health, social, environmental and economic inequalities.
  • 2013 Pilot Grants in Health Disparities Research Program (Deadline: March 6, 2013)
    These grants are designed to encourage community-initiated research and foster sustainable long-term collaboration between community-based organizations and academic researchers on research projects focused on reducing and eliminating health disparities. Priority will be given to projects that have a high likelihood of leading to future funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other federal, state, or private funding agencies.
  • Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award (Deadline: March 29, 2013)
    Applicants must be affiliated with a Campus Compact member institution. They must also be a senior faculty member (post-tenure or middle-to-late career at institutions without tenure) appointment. Evidence of deeply engaged, high-quality academic work: demonstrated integration of civic and community engagement in one’s teaching, research, and/or service.
  • 2013 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty (Deadline: April 26, 2013 at 5 pm)
    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.


  • Call for Proposals: A Journal of Imagining America (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    The theme of this new journal is “Linked Fates & Futures: Communities and Campuses as Equitable Partners”. We invite proposals that reflect critically on the shared predicaments of democratically-oriented cultural work in higher education.
  • Resilient Communities Project: Call for Applications 2013-2014 (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) is now accepting proposals from cities and counties to be the community partner for 2013–2014. The partner community must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a local funding contribution. The selection process is competitive.
  • Call for Papers: Teaching Democratic Thinking (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    Proposal abstracts are sought for a special 2014 issue of Partnerships: A Journal of Service-learning and vic Engagement. Partnerships is a multidisciplinary, peer reviewed journal exploring effective partnerships between students, faculty community agencies, and administrators in higher education.
  • Call for Manuscript Proposals: Special Issue of Feminist Teacher on Feminist Campus-Community Partnerships (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    This special issue of Feminist Teacher wants to examine this tension in the hope of sharing tactics and strategies that can open up new possibilities for students, faculty, administrators, and community partners. To this end, we seek contributions that provide project-specific attempts to connect with—or interrupt—community engagement work as a way to generate meaning in the lives of students, faculty, administrators and community partners.
  • RIEJS Call for Papers: Education for Citizenship: Challenges and Perspectives from a Social Justice Approach (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    The International Journal of Education for Social Justice (RIEJS) publishes three types of contributions: articles, text reviews, and published-contribution reviews.
  • Imagine America Call for Proposals: Communities & Campuses as Equitable Partners (Deadline: February 15, 2013)
    Imagine America invites submissions to the first issue of Public rooted in the 2012 Imagining America conference. The e-journal of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Public promotes public and engaged forms of scholarship and practice across arts, humanities, and design.
  • The California Series of Public Anthropology International Competition (Deadline: March 1, 2013)
    Proposals are being sought for short books orientated toward undergraduates that focus on how social scientists are facilitating social change. The California Series of Public Anthropology is looking for accessible, grounded accounts that present compelling stories that inspire others.
  • Call for Manuscripts: NOSC2012 Special Issue of the Journal of Community Engagement & Scholarship (Deadline: March 1, 2013)
    The Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES) invites presenters and others to submit manuscripts related to the NOSC 2012 general theme PARTNER. INSPIRE. CHANGE. and any of these three tracks: Voice of the Student/Young Scholar, Voice of the Community-Partner Scholar, and Voice of the Senior Engaged Scholar.
  • Call for Proposals: 14th Annual Conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium
    (Deadline: March 15, 2013)
    Proposals are being sought for presentations and posters that will inform or advance the research and practice of Engaged Scholarship and University-Community Partnerships through means of research findings, innovate program design and partnership models, proven community-institutional impacts, effective curriculum or service-learning models, collaborative policy development and integration, or successful civic engagement practices.
  • Cancer Summit Call for Papers, Breakout Sessions, and Posters (Deadline: March 29, 2013)
    The Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations and Minnesota Cancer Alliance would like to invite, medical/public health professionals, community-based organizations, community engaged researchers, and students to submit abstracts for posters, papers and panel presentations at the 2013 Cancer Disparities Summit: Working Together to Find Solutions June 19-20 2013 in Minnetonka, MN. For criteria, email Hirs0090@umn.edu
  • 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


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.

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