Resources for Successful Engagement
At the Wingspread Conference on "Civic Engagement in Graduate Education", I was the "host" at a World Café table on internal and external resources needed for successful engagement. Given that so much of the discussion of civic engagement tends to be fairly abstract, it was refreshing to get down to a somewhat more concrete discussion of what it takes.
A bare list, without much commentary, more or less in the order in which the ideas were generated:
- MONEY from various sources (with various sorts of restrictions) to fund RAs, seed grants, released time, etc.
- DATA and expertise to analyze them (can generate $$)
- EXPERTISE, both disciplinary and community
- LEADERSHIP AND CHAMPIONSHIP from both community and university
- CLEAR ACCESS POINTS to both university and community
- ADMINISTRATIVE AND MANAGERIAL CAPABILITY
- ORGANIZATIONS: State and national (e.g., Campus Compact), professional associations, funding agencies
- DEGREE PROGRAMS and CERTIFICATES accessible to both university and community members
- COMMUNICATION: Print, web, popular media, arts
- EFFICIENT MECHANISMS: IRB, technology transfer (see also clear access points, above)
- PEOPLE to do the work: students, staff, community people
- COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Community organizations, business, chambers of commerce, etc.
- EXTENSION SERVICE
- FACULTY time and commitment
- CHALLENGING INTELLECTUAL ISSUES that will engage faculty time and commitment
- DIVERSITY for effective work in diverse communities, and as possible attractant for funding
- EVALUATION CAPABILITY
- EXISTING MODELS AND BEST PRACTICES
- SKILLS: Conflict resolution, consensus building, teamwork
- IN-KIND SUPPORT from governments, non-profits, corporations
A list like this makes two points: How complex is the network that engaged activities must navigate, but also how much potential support is available once some of these resources are enlisted.