Texas Tech University

Texas Tech One of Four Finalists for APLU's Community Engagement Award

Heidi Toth

June 10, 2015

The four universities will compete for the $20,000 prize, and the winner will be announced during APLU’s annual meeting.

Dean Scott Ridley

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), in partnership with the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC), selected Texas Tech University as a regional recipient of the 2015 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award, putting the university in the running for a national award.

The selection committee highlighted the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood (ELPN) project, a collaboration between several colleges in the university and more than 75 regional partners to revitalize East Lubbock, an area plagued by poor school performance, poor health, crime, drugs, inadequate housing, high teen pregnancy rates and the highest rate of child abuse in the state.

Dean Scott Ridley of the College of Education, which is leading the ELPN project, said the university is a model for others in how to use the available expertise to help a struggling community.

“Almost every educational, social, economic and legal ill faced by the residents of East Lubbock is an area of research expertise by someone at Texas Tech,” he said. “The university has a tremendous collection of knowledge and people resources, and the scope of the university's collective engagement in East Lubbock is unprecedented among American universities.


“This award communicates that Texas Tech is moving toward the full actualization of what American universities can and should do.”

ELPN, founded in 2013, is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and aims to educate, support and advocate for children and parents in one of the poorest, most underserved neighborhoods in Texas. Programs focus on health, early learning, education and community and have included such projects as music lessons from College of Visual and Performing Arts students; increasing participation in Early Head Start from the College of Human Sciences; Camp Champion, a four-day camp put on by the Department of Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences; and school readiness programs from the College of Education.

As a regional winner, Texas Tech will compete for APLU's national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award against fellow regional winners University of Minnesota, University of New Hampshire and San Jose State University. The award is named for a longtime APLU president and recognizes the impact universities make in their communities, states and the nation as a whole.


“Part of a university's mission and significant priority is to make a positive contribution to its community, and the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood project is doing just that,” said President M. Duane Nellis of Texas Tech University. “It is wonderful to see faculty, students and the Lubbock community join together to help East Lubbock.”

Earlier this year Texas Tech's Office of Outreach & Engagement sent out a campuswide call for proposals for the Kellogg and Magrath awards. There were many outstanding projects, director Birgit Green said, but ELPN rose to the top because of the project bringing together the vast, strong network of partner organizations, which are working together toward a common goal.

“The awards criteria are very strict and APLU and ESC only choose projects that show very strong community relationships and reciprocity between the university and the community,” Green said. “ELPN's collaboration with organizations such as the East Lubbock Community Alliance, the Lubbock Independent School District, United Way, United Supermarkets, Covenant Health Systems and many more does that. Moreover, in spite of being just two years old, it is having significant impact on the community as well as the university – another criterion the winning project had to meet.”

The regional winners will compete Sept. 30 at the 2015 ESC Conference at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. The winning university will be presented with a sculpture and a $20,000 prize during APLU's annual meeting Nov. 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The other three regional winners will receive $5,000.

About the APLU

APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. With a membership of 238 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research and expanding engagement.

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