Abbey Zink College of Humanities and Social Sciences
One of the things that made Sam Houston State University attractive to Abbey Zink when she applied for dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences almost two years ago was that it is a Carnegie, community-engaged university.
Community involvement has always been important to Zink, both professionally and personally.
She earned recognition for a partnership she coordinated between Western Connecticut State University and two local school systems that became a model in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. She also led the effort to form a partnership with LULAC Council No. 1 Foundation to establish the Tejano Civil Rights Museum in Corpus Christi.
“Even before I applied for the dean’s position at SHSU, I was aware of the university’s involvement in community engagement,” she said.
“Between the Academic Community Engagement programs and the Ethics, Western Civilization and American Traditions classes offered through CHSS, I could see that the things happening at SHSU in this area were very exciting,” she said.
Once she arrived at SHSU as the new dean of the college, she was caught up in the enthusiasm of several of the faculty members who share her passion.
“With their vision in place, we proceeded to explore the possibility of establishing a minor in community leadership,” she said.
They approached local entities directly and asked them what attributes they were looking for in community leaders.
“They wanted individuals with good communication skills who could think critically and work well with others,” she said.
The group also visited with the other deans to make sure they were not infringing on their programs, and then they collaboratively built a curriculum around the expectations.
I am always working to find new opportunities and experiences that will benefit our humanities and social sciences majors.
The minor is launching this fall and will be housed jointly within the Department of Sociology and the Center for Community Engagement.
“I am always working to find new opportunities and experiences that will benefit our humanities and social sciences majors,” Zink said.
“The community leadership minor is great to pair with a liberal arts degree because it will give our students some applied skills, and they can also make a difference in their communities.”