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November 29, 2012

Engagement Profile: December


In this Engaging-U engagement spotlight we meet Laura Bloomberg and Leah Lundquist, Executive Director and Program Manager of the Center for Integrative Leadership. In the interview below, Bloomberg and Lundquist provide highlights of their office's engagement work in the surrounding communities.

Describe the work of your office:

The Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) is dedicated to examining and advancing a vision for leadership that fosters collective action across boundaries to advance the common good and address grand challenges. We engage in collaborative teaching, community engagement, and research initiatives with schools and centers across the University and partners external to the University.

We define a global grand challenge as a problem that has significant consequences for the well-being of whole societies, yet is difficult to fully understand or address because it is so multi-faceted and ever changing. Grand challenges are highly complex and beyond the resources or knowledge of a single discipline, organization, or sector to resolve. They do not lend themselves to simple or technical solutions. When individual sectors or institutions attempt to solve a grand challenge alone it often precipitates unanticipated and unwanted consequences because they morph and adapt. Grand challenges need to be addressed from all sides. You may have heard these referred to as "wicked problems" or "social messes."

What is the current engagement project your unit is working on?

One of the approaches we find helpful to fostering collective action across boundaries is a powerful suite of facilitative practices and practical frameworks called The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter. Over the course of two summers, we've trained over 120 staff and faculty from 21 colleges and departments across the University in these practices.

CIL is also embedding a hosting approach into our own engagement efforts. Most recently, we co-hosted a community conversation on the impact of sex trafficking and trading on urban communities with the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center and the Northside Women's Space - a safe place for sexually-exploited girls and women in North Minneapolis. Through the generous help of 15 individuals from both the University and the broader region trained in The Art of Hosting, we hosted a conversation for a diverse cross-section of over 100 community members from both North Minneapolis and across the Metro Area.

What neighborhoods or communities is this project partnering with?

While CIL continues to be committed to building leadership capacity across Minnesota through involvement with InCommons - a statewide effort to inspire and support community-powered problem solving, we also are highly engaged right here in our own neighborhood through CHANCE and the Neighborhood Business Fellows - initiatives that strengthen the interdependent relationship between Cedar-Riverside residents and business owners and students at both the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Carlson School of Management.

What impact is this having/expected to have?

By creating the opportunity for individuals to experience a different way to talk about and address cross-boundary issues such as sex trafficking, we hope to inspire students, faculty, and staff across the U to not only continue to address grand challenges but to do so more inclusively and more effectively.

In regard to sex trafficking, our engagement has brought together individuals from a diversity of personal and professional walks of life - law enforcement, concerned community members, graduate students, policymakers, and documentary filmmakers, to just name a few - to hear different voices and design innovative and integrated solutions. Over the next few years, we look forward to continuing to foster integrative leadership in areas such as regional economic and social vitality, healthy development and educational achievement, global food safety and food security, and post-secondary education's role in society.

November 26, 2012

Updated Proposal and Paper Opportunities

Here's a list of updated proposal and paper opportunities for the months of December & January. Find one that fits your engagement work! Deadlines are in parentheses.

1) Fall 2013 EPA Greater Research Opportunities Fellowships (December 5)

2) Collaborative Research Grants (December 6)

3) 2013 Pace Conference: Call for Proposals (December 10)

4) Community Impact Grants Program (December 12)

5) Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (January 7)

6) Kauffman Foundation: Junior Faculty Fellowships in Entrepreneurial Research (January 15)

7) Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change: Mellon Scholar Fellowship (January 25)

8) J.W. McConnell Family Foundation: Community Service Learning Awards (January 31)

9) MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship (February 8)

10) Resilient Communities Project 2013-2014: Request for Proposals (February 15)

November 12, 2012

Engagement Profile: November


For our second faculty spotlight we meet Will Craig, the Associate Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). Craig gives us a summary of his office's work, specifically what makes it unique and what outcomes CURA expects to see.

Describe the work of your office

CURA is an All-University Center working to connect University faculty and students with the community for the benefit of both. We do this primarily by supporting applied University research projects and providing technical assistance to community organizations. Last year we supported 71 research projects involving faculty and graduate students from 12 different colleges and over 30 different departments and units. In addition, CURA supported over 100 technical assistance projects, like community organizing or mapping. In total, we helped the University engage with 164 community organizations in the Twin Cities and across the state. For details, see our recent Annual Report.

What is unique about CURA's work?

That's tough, because it's hard to choose. Our faculty-supported projects cover a broad range of urban-related topics. But I'm going to focus on our Community Based Research projects, because they are unique. Each semester we issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to community organizations, asking them to outline a research project that could help them achieve their mission. Proposals are reviewed by an advisory committee composed of people from academia and the community. Winners are awarded 10hrs/week of a graduate student for a full semester - 195 hours. Here's the catch: the student can come from anywhere in the University - or from any coordinate campus (not all are graduate students). CURA works with the community organization to develop a job description, which is posted on the University website. Students apply directly to the community and they pick the student that best suits their needs. CURA requires a work plan and regular updates, but the student works for the community organization. We also pay the student and publish the final report so other community organizations can benefit from it.

What kinds of outcomes do you expect?

CURA hopes that our community partners get a report that helps them advance their mission. One part of the RFP asks how they will utilize the results. Typically, the project helps them frame an issue or take action on an issue they already understand. In the process we want them to grow their social capital. Some examples:

• An early project in the Elliot Park and Loring Park neighborhoods of Minneapolis identified restorative justice as a way to combat nuisance crimes, a project that eventually convinced the courts to adopt this approach.
• A student from Theater Arts helped the community theater in Big Fork create an old-time drop for their stage, an effort that engaged over 50 members of the community, including many young people.
• A Landscape Architecture student recently worked with a non-profit CSA( Community Supported Agriculture) group to develop design approaches for "pocket farms" now being developed on vacant lots in the McKinley neighborhood of North Minneapolis.

CURA expects most students working on these projects grow intellectually and professionally. We want them to have a chance to apply what they've learned in the classroom and to expand their skills. Results from a recent self-study of recent graduates show that we are meeting these goals. Two-thirds of the students contacted said the project complemented their coursework and 95% said the research experience expanded their skills. Many individuals extolled their community-engaged experience, saying it was a highlight of their professional development.

November 5, 2012

Winter Proposals & Papers

The crisp chill in the air doesn't stop proposals and papers from being plentiful throughout the months of November and December. Find an opportunity that fits your engagement work!

1) Asset-Based Approaches to Campus-Community Partnerships - Deadline: November 15

2) Community University Expo 2013: Engaging Shared Worlds - Deadline: November 15

3) Relational and Social Network Perspectives in Community Psychology - Deadline: November 15

4) Significance of Community to Individual and Family Well-Being: Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal - Deadline: November 15

5) Gulf South Summit Request for Proposals - Deadline: November 19

6) Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference - Deadline: December 10

7) IMPACT Conference - Deadline: December 10

8) Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning - Deadline: December 20