Heritage Magazine: Community Collaborations
June 14, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd
By Ken Hendrickson
Associate Provost for Community Engagement, Dean of The Graduate and Professional School
University community engagement is foundational to excellence in teaching, learning and research, and critical to enhancing economic, social and cultural well-being. It is integral to SHSU’s vision as a leader in student success, innovative high-impact teaching and research.
Effective community engagement fosters creativity and builds a more just and equitable state and nation. The Carnegie Foundation describes community engagement activity to be:
reciprocal collaborations with local, regional, national and global communities for the purpose of a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. College-community partnerships … prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good by effecting positive change in the civic and cultural life of our communities.
Sam Houston State has tremendous assets in the realm of community engagement and public service. Thanks to the dedication of our community engaged faculty scholars, the university enjoys Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement classification status, a prestigious and nationally recognized distinction awarded to only 351 American universities (out of nearly 4,000) and only nine in Texas. Sam Houston State is the only Texas State University System member institution to earn this recognition and sits among the top eight percent of all higher education institutions in the United States. The university offers more than 500 Academic Community Engagement (ACE) courses each year across many disciplines.
For example, professor Ling Ren of the College of Criminal Justice brought her expertise to bear in an assessment of domestic violence courts in Montgomery County, helping demonstrate what worked best in those courts and how they improve public safety. In another instance, professor Benita Brooks developed the Huntsville Immersion Partnership in which students from the College of Education worked with children in the Boys and Girls Club of Huntsville to promote literacy and to include the children in identifying and pursuing their own personal academic interests. Through classes linked to such community engagement, faculty and students collaborate with communities to develop research initiatives and address community needs, while students complete their degrees.
Sam Houston State University has a tradition of promoting faculty and staff initiatives in the realm of service. By organizing this energy and integrating community engagement into teaching and research, SHSU has emerged as a leader in the field. The challenges of the immediate future are real, but the opportunities will prove boundless as we partner with our communities to tackle them together. In the heart of the 21st century, SHSU is uniquely positioned to create an engagement footprint in Texas and beyond.
To view the full Spring 2023 edition of Heritage Magazine, follow this link.
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