Texas Tech Administrator Named to National Committee

APLU appointment puts Texas Tech among leaders in outreach and engagement.

Valerie Osland Paton, Texas Tech University vice provost for planning and assessment and director of strategic planning, has been elected to the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU) Council on Engagement and Outreach’s executive committee. Paton’s election, along with the announcement that Texas Tech has become a sponsoring partner of the National Outreach Scholarship Conference, came at last month’s APLU annual meeting in Washington, D.C. “Texas Tech is quickly becoming a leader in the state and nation in outreach and engagement efforts,” said Bob Smith, Texas Tech provost. “Engagement means that our university is using its knowledge and resources to contribute to the public good and enrich the lives of not only our local community, but also the people of the state of Texas, the country and the world.” Engagement and outreach have long been priorities at Texas Tech. In 2006, the university 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 was one of 20 institutions in the state to receive the 2008 honor. “Texas Tech was founded on idea that universities and communities can work together to address the most pressing needs of society,” Paton said. “The university has a long history of research partnerships that have had world-wide impact and improved the quality of life in Texas, the nation and the world. We are honored that the university is being recognized for its commitment to engagement by the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, Carnegie Foundation, National Outreach Scholarship Conference, and the Community Service Honor Roll. Texas Tech is the only university in Texas to be recognized for its engagement efforts by these four national entities. Earlier this year, Dr. Juan Munoz was appointed vice president of institutional diversity, equity and community engagement to provide leadership for many of these efforts in recognition of our continuing commitment to community partnerships.” Community engagement takes many forms ranging from service learning, where classes as part of their semester’s work do projects to benefit non-profit organizations, to researchers working with community leaders and industry to solve a variety of problems such as Texas Tech’s Cotton Economics Research Center. The National Outreach Scholarship Conference will take place in October 2010 at North Carolina State University. The 11th annual conference focuses on the civic connections between universities and their communities and how these connections are made by faculty and students. Discussions range from how research and creative scholarship improve not only the school’s local community but also the global community. Texas Tech anticipates hosting the conference in the near future.