OCEP At a Glance: Fall Semester 2014
We are moving at high speed in the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships working tirelessly to continue our mission of connecting university faculty and students with community partners to build productive and deliberate collaborations.
- There was a leadership change at OCEP, when our longtime director, Dr. Elizabeth Strom, returned to her College of Public Affairs to serve as the Graduate Director; and Dr. Harold Keller, already faculty on assignment this year, stepped in to serve as Interim Director. We all miss Liz and wish her well, but are thrilled with the seamless transition in leadership. To read more, click here.
- To commemorate the five years since OCEP was founded, we hosted our first Engagement Summit on September 15th. Attendees included Provost Ralph Wilcox, Vice Provost Paul Dosal, deans and other faculty members who were part of the Provost's Task Force on Community Engagement five years ago, as well as newer faculty who are service-learning champions. During this session we addressed our central USF strategic priorities of engagement with our communities both locally and globally. As we move forward, we will continue to work collaboratively to assess student success and deep learning, faculty and unit productivity (via the soon to be revised Tenure and Promotion guidelines and college annual reporting), and community impact of these practices. We will also work to strengthen our partnerships with our communities in a manner consistent with our USF strategic priorities.
- We awarded grants to five faculty members, who are currently teaching new service-learning courses.
Provost Ralph Wilcox addressing attendees of the Engagement Summit.
- This semester we issued our first OCEP magazine, which has resulted in ripple effects across campus. Because of the strong reception, we will be working to put out a magazine each semester to continue to celebrate the outstanding community-engaged work taking place on our campus each and every day. Feel free to stop by our office or request copies that we can furnish with you so that you can help us tell the story of the important work OCEP and our faculty is doing to further our mission.
- Did you know that last year alone, 188 service-learning courses with an enrollment of over 4,000 students donated over 60,000 hours at a value of 1.25 million dollars of community-engaged work to our community? That is a record to be proud of, and with your help we can expand our reach benefiting students, faculty, and our community! Our University/Community match-up event in mid-August resulted in approximately ten new collaborations among community partners and faculty. The October 29th University Community Match Up doubled in capacity and was our most popular event yet!
- Vickie Chachere, Director of Special Projects for University Communications and Marketing and Wayne Garcia, Associate Director of the School of Mass Communications and Instructor in Journalism were guest presenters for the workshop, "Go Public! A How-To Guide for Getting Your Research Off the Shelf and Into the Public Discourse." The two veterans of the Tampa Tribune and other news publications shared their insights to help faculty navigate the waters of new media in disseminating their research to the public. They suggested that "media changes on a daily basis" and that the goal is to "translate research to be consumed by general audiences." They encouraged the audience to embrace social media and take charge to as Garcia said and "curate and aggregate the news." They said we have a moral responsibility to share our research and expertise with the public. If you missed this event, note that we received excellent feedback about this session and hope to offer it every semester.
Wayne Garcia, Vickie Chachere, and Bonnie Silvestri
- Silvestri and Lance Arney represented OCEP at the International Association on Research and Learning conference in New Orleans with their presentation, "Social Justice through Critical Service-Learning: A Qualitative Study of Transformational Civic Engagement." The study involves research on four iterations of Silvestri's Examinations of Poverty course offered by USF Sarasota-Manatee. Dr. Bob Bringle, who is considered by many to be the "Father of Service-Learning," served as the discussant during the session, opening up a dialogue among the gathered faculty from a wide range of universities. Stay tuned for a closer look at the course and the transformative results in an upcoming feature.
- Arney, Jennifer Webb, and Silvestri presented to the Eastern Region Campus Compact Conference called "The Continuing Struggle for Economic and Social Justice: Addressing Poverty and Inequality through Research, Action and University-Community Engagement," Chairs were brought in to accommodate the packed house during the session; and the Florida Campus Compact leadership was abuzz about the "USF rockstars."
Jennifer Webb, Kelly Werder, and Bonnie Silvestri at the Eastern Regional Campus Compact Conference.
- Bonnie Silvestri spoke to a group of freshmen communication students, including those in the Zimmerman Advertising Program Living-Learning Community (ZAP LLC) about OCEP's work and the importance of strategic communications in telling the story of community engagement. Following that event, we brought Taylor Daum on board as a Communications and Marketing intern for this semester.
- Arney was selected as a monthly 2015 Opinion Columnist for Anthropology News, and the theme of his column is the criminalization of youth in Florida. He will be particularly focused on how his research relates to current events. As columns become available we will share them with you.
- Tanya Dieudonne joined us this semester as our first OCEP student liaison and together with Taylor is helping us encourage students to enroll in service-learning courses. Tayna will be instrumental in coordinating our Student Showcase during Service-Learning Day on November 13th.
- OCEP hosted its first pop up art gallery event and orientation night in collaboration with Andrea Lypka, a service-learning award grantee teaching English Language Learners at her community partner site, Casa Chiapas, and helping them express themselves by creating works of art.
Andrea Lypka, Lance Arney, and community partners from Casa Chiapas.
- OCEP's Service-Learning Day was a huge success! Here are a few of the highlights, and stay tuned for more. Faculty and staff from a variety of departments and units shared new and exciting developments in community engagement that are taking place in their own departments; our summer 2014 service-learning mini-grant recipients gave captivating presentations about their courses; Senior Vice Provost Dr. Dwayne Smith made a surprise visit to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman (Sociology) won the inaugural Outstanding Community Engaged Teaching Award; a panel of students discussed the benefits of service-learning and community engaged research; and Dr. Ann Abbott (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) presented a keynote lecture on engaging students in civic action through service-learning and also facilitated an engaged conversation about using new media and technology to enhance service-learning.