Published: Sept. 20, 2016

CU Boulder recently expanded its support of public scholarship in the arts and humanities by joining a national group working to advance democracy and participation in higher education.

Timothy Eatman of Imagining America speaks at CU Boulder in June about publicly engaged scholarship.

Timothy Eatman of Imagining America speaks at CU Boulder in June of 2016 about publicly engaged scholarship.

Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a national consortium of more than 100 higher education and community cultural organizations, is dedicated to highlighting and improving the ways that the humanities, arts and design can be avenues for outreach and publicly engaged scholarship.

“Joining Imagining America is the first step in coordinating the many good, community engagement works that we already do in our fields with an organization whose mission is to provide guidance and support at the national level, both for how we do outreach and for making that outreach an integral part of the mission of universities,” said Valerio Ferme, associate dean for arts and humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.

This joint initiative of the arts and humanities division within the College of Arts and Sciences, CU Engage and the Office for Outreach and Engagement is supported by the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Provost, and aims to involve interested faculty, staff and students.

Timothy Eatman, faculty co-director of Imagining America, was the keynote speaker at a professional-development workshop for CU Boulder outreach staff in June and was impressed by the university’s commitment to publicly engaged scholarship at all levels.

“CU Boulder is a world-renowned institution where there is a solid and growing cadre of publicly engaged scholars sensitive to these principles of community engagement. For the university to join is a statement that publicly engaged scholarship is valuable and important to its future,” Eatman said.

Imagining America will connect CU Boulder faculty, staff and students with peer institutions across the country who are also doing high-impact, ethical community engagement and publicly engaged scholarship, provide a new platform to showcase CU Boulder’s innovative outreach and engagement work, and help graduate and undergraduate students network through programs like the PAGE Fellows, said Ben Kirshner, faculty director of CU Engage.

“The national annual conference, in particular, showcases innovative partnerships between universities and communities that aim to build and strengthen public work through arts, humanities and design,” Kirshner said. This year’s conference is scheduled for Oct. 6 – 8 in Milwaukee, WI.

David Meens, director of CU Boulder’s Office for Outreach and Engagement, sees great promise for CU Boulder’s participation in Imagining America. “This new partnership adds momentum to our ongoing efforts to build university-community relationships through the arts and humanities,” Meens said.