FROM THE CHANCELLOR
Enhancing outreach and engagement
As chair of the Flagship 2030 Outreach and Engagement Task Force last year, I learned that there are varying and sometimes conflicting perspectives about the ways in which our faculty, staff and students extend their talents and the educational resources of the campus to external groups. In my view, these activities should enhance and leverage the teaching, learning, research and creative work of our faculty and students. They should not be divorced from our core role and mission as a comprehensive research university.
Our final report outlines specific recommendations for addressing the initiative of “Serving Colorado, the Community and our Graduates.” (PDF) Recommendations include developing a coordinated, coherent, deliberate campus strategy for outreach and engagement; facilitating faculty participation and the development of evaluation, recognition and reward systems for faculty outreach; and promoting lifelong learning, professional development and online learning activities.
This fall, I was charged with advancing these recommendations, when Interim Provost Sture and Chancellor DiStefano asked me to serve as the campus’ first associate vice chancellor for Outreach and Engagement. I am honored to serve in this new role and will work with faculty, staff, students and our Office for University Outreach (OUO) to facilitate the implementation of these objectives at CU-Boulder. Of course, recommendations pertaining to lifelong learning, professional development and online learning are being fostered through our Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies (CEPS) and Summer Session. Meanwhile, I have been meeting with various faculty, staff and students to deepen my understanding about their service learning and civic engagement activities; science, technology, engineering and math partnerships including the ISTEM initiative; and others.
Using the 2030 Task Force on Outreach and Engagement as a blueprint, the CU-Boulder outreach committee recently awarded 36 grants to faculty outreach initiatives. Projects feature an extensive range of disciplines such as history, dance, music, physics, math and engineering. Examples include Shakespeare in the Schools, performances and workshops for grades 4-12 during the spring of 2010; Le Roi Soleil (The Sun King) for middle school and high school students studying French; and A Community of Mathematics Teachers and Learners, a project that brings CU-Boulder students from a course for future elementary school teachers into the classrooms of Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer, a bilingual elementary school in east Boulder County.
Another important outreach milestone this year was the development and launch of LearnMoreAboutClimate.colorado.edu, an online tool that localizes climate change for Colorado through a series of educational videos that pair CU-Boulder scientists with citizens to tell compelling stories about how climate change is affecting our state. The site also provides resources to aid citizens in making green choices and helping teachers bring climate change education into their classrooms. A companion project, the Making the Global Local professional development course for science teachers, brought middle and high school teachers, CU-Boulder scientists and science education faculty together to support teachers in deepening their climate science literacy, and developing and piloting new climate change lesson plans.
Looking forward to 2010, OUO has an ambitious agenda. One of its top priorities is to develop a campus-wide website that will serve as a centralized hub for all of CU-Boulder’s outreach and engagement activities. We will need broad participation by campus groups to assist us in showcasing the wide range of activities of our students, faculty and staff.
Another exciting development is that the administration of one of the university’s most popular outreach programs, Science Discovery, has moved to CEPS. We hope that this will enable Science Discovery to benefit from the CEPS infrastructure while maintaining conceptual and academic ties with the School of Education and other key science initiatives on campus. At the same time, Science Discovery will help to strengthen the partnerships, professional development programs and statewide outreach that are part of CEPS and OUO roles and missions.
This new relationship with Science Discovery has already fostered synergistic work. In an effort to complement the Learn More About Climate website and deepen the discussion about climate change, OUO is offering a public education program that sends scientists featured in the videos to communities throughout Colorado to talk about their research. On a recent trip to Canon City, Director and Fellow of INSTAAR, Jim White gave a series of talks on climate change to community groups and at the local high school, while Science Discovery instructors provided programs on weather and alternative energy to elementary and middle school students and teachers.
I look forward to exploring new creative collaborations with groups across campus that seek engagement opportunities and partnerships to extend their knowledge. Please feel free to contact me or the Office for University Outreach by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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