Austin College“Community Partnerships: Civic Engagementthrough Experiential Learning”February 8,2018Cary Wacker, Associate VP for Institutional Advancement & Director, Center for Community & Regional Development
Creating a new framework for Civic Engagement
Early vision was from Dr. Don Rodgers to create extended “Active Citizenship” experiences in the local community, where students “live” for four yearsFirst program: establishment of SEPA (Social Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation) to provide experiential learning focused ongrantwritingfor nonprofits“Active Citizenship” class also participated in building the first segment of a new mountain bike trail at Binkley Park (now nearly 8 miles long; work continued by community volunteers)These projects inspired the framework for the Center for Community & Regional Development (CCRD), which now connects resources of the College with needs in the community through course partnerships, internships, and program support
GlobalVision, Local Engagement:Mission and Vision for theCenterfor CommunityandRegional Development
Thevisionofthe Austin College Center for Community and Regional Development is todevelop collaborationthat improves quality of life and strengthensourregion’s sharedfuture.Themissionof the CCRDis to:Equip studentsat Austin Collegeto engage in and learn from community development;Build capacityfor industry, agencies and communitiestoprosper;andRepresent Austin College intransformational community interactions.
The program of work
The Center engages students, faculty, and the College with community leaders and organizations throughout the Texoma region, including:Business and IndustryLocal and regional community/economic development organizationsNon-profit organizationsAny individual or organization committed to improving the quality of life and economic vitality of people in the North Texas/Southern Oklahomaregion
Facilitating Experiential Learning
The buzzwords in Higher Ed:Immersive ExperiencesCommunity-engaged research projectsCivic Engagement/Civic Learning“Community Partners in mutually beneficial activities and projects”SeePeer Reviewjournal from AAC&U, Fall 2017, Vol. 19,No. 4, issuetitled“Civic Learning in the Major by Design”
Projects and Outcomes
Developing programs and course partnerships around civic engagement:SEPA– 6 full years, $700,000+ in new grant money for local nonprofit organizations. Nearly 100 students, 54 unique agencies servedEntrepreneurship programming– guestspeakers incourses; judges for Student Pitch Competition; a local bankarranged a visit by AC faculty and staff to University of Missouri to examinemodels for curriculum design in entrepreneurship programming.InternshipsinJanuary2018 –students worked with ShermanChamber, Sherman Economic Development Corp.Both students have been offered spring internships to continue their work.
Projects and Outcomes
‘CityLab: Leadership onLocation’Jan Term course(LEAD 100 – 2017; 8 students). Project for City of Sherman to study and make recommendations on Arts advocacy & inclusiveness in Sherman. Culminatedin presentation to Sherman City Council; City plans to submit Texas Cultural District application in June2018 per students’ research.Spring2018:Chin Burmese translationproject. Students in LEAD 495 are working with Tyson Foods and Sherman ISD to create written material that helps new immigrant families moving to Sherman for work.Spring 2018: Texoma Health Foundation “Life Activated”project. A second group in LEAD 495 is researching and creating guidelines for restaurants to participate in a health eating initiative.
CCRD: Four Areas ofFocus for future projects
Center for Community & Regional Development
Regional Innovation Initiatives
Adaptive Leadership Education