Texas Tech Sets First Community Engagement Conference

Texas Tech University System hosts the first Community Engagement Conference featuring speakers who will bring a national perspective on community engagement.

 Successful universities reach beyond their campuses to share their expertise. Texas Tech has a long history of engaging with the community and is making a concerted effort to increase outreach in the areas of research, service and teaching. To that end, Texas Tech University System is hosting the first Community Engagement Conference March 27. The conference features speakers who will bring a national perspective on community engagement. The conference, "Community-Engaged Scholarship: What Does it Mean and Why Does it Matter," is set from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Texas Tech Student Union Building. Texas Tech, Angelo State University and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center will all participate. The conference is open to the public. "We are proud of the way our universities reach out to elevate the quality of life for communities in Texas and people all over the world," said Kent Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. "We need to further these efforts and learn how to better share our knowledge and resources with those who can benefit from them." In 2006, Texas Tech was one of the first 62 institutions and the first university in Texas to earn the Carnegie Foundation's classification for Community Engagement. In 2007 and 2008 the university was named to the Corporation for National and Community Service President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Texas Tech is one of 20 institutions in the state to receive the 2008 honor. Community engagement takes many forms including service learning, where classes as part of their semester's work do projects to benefit non-profit organizations or researchers working with community leaders and industry to solve a variety of problems. "We hope this conference helps our faculty at all three universities not only define and assess community engagement, but also to understand the interest of federal funding agencies in documenting the societal impact of research," said Matt Baker, conference chair and dean of the Texas Tech University College of Outreach and Distance Education. Keynote presentations at the conference include:
  • Carnegie's 2008 Community Engagement Classification: Profile of Institutional Strengths and Challenges presented by Amy Driscoll, consulting scholars at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Service Learning: Strengthening Higher Education and Closing the Gaps, presented by Patricia Paredes, executive director of the Texas Campus Compact.
  • Engaging Engagement: The Kentucky Experience presented by Phil Greasley, associate provost for university engagement at the University of Kentucky.
Other sessions will focus on strategies for National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health funding for engaged research and examples of successful community-engaged teaching, research and service by faculty and administrators at each university. Registration fees are $45 for faculty and staff; $25 for students and $65 for all others. The fee includes a continental breakfast, breaks, a luncheon and closing reception. For more information or to register go to www.depts.ttu.edu/ode/outreach/conferences/engagement-conference.php.   CONTACT:Birgit Green, director of outreach, Texas Tech College of Outreach and Distance Education, (806) 742-7202, ext. 237 or birgit.green@ttu.edu.