OPE sponsors conversations about engaged scholarship, service-learning and community outreach programs and activities of faculty and staff. Through these community conversations, the OPE seeks to: identify UConn’s current initiatives; deepen our collective understanding of the scope of work currently underway; develop a strong network of colleagues committed to research, engaged scholarship and service learning; and explore collaboration opportunities with colleagues and departments across the university.
OPE was awarded a renewable grant from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania for the formation of the New England University-Assisted Community Schools Collaborative. This collaborative will provide training and technical assistance on the university-assisted community school model and will be actively involved in the communities in which the schools reside. NE UACSC will also serve as a repository for information and guide others to achieve success while assuring adherence to the principles od the Neetter Center for Community Partnerships’ University-Assisted Community School model in its unique application at their own sites.
Public Engagement Forum
The Forum represents the constituent units of the University, with membership drawn from the faculty, staff, and administration. The Forum provides networking, professional development and supports engagement events throughout the academic year. The Forum fosters relationships among faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners interested in Public Engagement and Outreach through discussion and collaboration throughout the academic year.
At UConn the OPE fosters the development of service learning through the Faculty Fellows program, providing professional development and support for faculty planning to implement service learning in their curriculum. The office, with the service learning advisory committee, spearheads the designation of service learning courses, providing faculty and students with knowledge of the ever expanding selection of service learning options. Professional Development seminars are held throughout the academic year in collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.-Carnegie Definition
UConn Cities Collaborative (UCC) is an initiative through the Office of Public Engagement, modeled on the Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) and the Sustainable Cities Year Program (SCYP) at the University of Oregon. Through UCC, UConn will partner with Connecticut cities to help meet their sustainability goals while creating an opportunity for students to gain professional-level training and practical experience. This comprehensive and interdisciplinary program brings together our academic goals with local needs, fostering partnerships that are relevant, reciprocal, and responsible.
An AmeriCorps VISTA will join OPE for the 2015-2016 program year to support the development of an Internship Program at the Academy for Nursing & Health Sciences in Hartford and also work with Dr. Polifroni in running a monthly learning community for first generation college students on the Storrs and Greater Hartford campuses of UConn. The VISTA program is coordinated by the CT Campus Compact office, deploying program volunteers to several campuses throughout the state.