Students in the University of Delaware Alternative Breaks program help with disaster relief in New Jersey.

Community service and scholarship

Community engagement task force issues report; commission formed


10:57 a.m., July 24, 2014--The University of Delaware works with community partners near and far on more than 375 projects, from bringing chamber music into Delaware schools, to devising a sun-powered filtration system providing clean drinking water to villages in Cameroon.

In fiscal year 2013, almost $31 million of the University’s operating budget was dedicated to extension and public service, and over $33 million of UD’s externally sponsored activities was dedicated to public service. 

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These are among the findings of the campus task force that developed UD’s application for the community engagement elective classification that was submitted in April to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The task force’s final report is now available online at the UD Engage website.

In December 2014, the Carnegie Foundation is expected to notify new awardees of the classification, which emphasizes community partnerships that are reciprocal and mutually beneficial.

One recommendation made by the task force already is being enacted: the appointment of a Community Engagement Commission. 

During the next six months, the commission will study models and best practices at other institutions to recommend a structure best suited for sustaining and expanding UD’s community engagement work. 

“Community service is a hallmark of the University of Delaware — it’s a part of who we are, and among the most important and rewarding activities in which our students, faculty and staff can get involved,” said UD President Patrick Harker. “I thank the task force for a job well done and look forward to the findings of the Community Engagement Commission.” 

University Provost Domenico Grasso said, “The University of Delaware has a proud tradition of community service through scholarship, and scholarship through community service. Through the efforts of the Community Engagement Commission, this is a good time to reflect and ask ourselves, how should we best advance this work in the future? This input will be extremely valuable in the coming months as the University develops a new strategic plan.” 

The strategic planning initiative currently involves working groups across campus, which will share their summer’s work and solicit input from the broader UD community and external stakeholders this fall through white papers, town halls, teach-in’s and presentations from leading thinkers from outside the institution.

Lynnette Young Overby, professor of theatre, who chaired the Community Engagement Task Force, has been appointed the commission chair. 

“We are so pleased that Lynnette Overby has accepted the leadership of the commission,” said UD Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse. “She has a great passion for this work and has been a tremendous resource to so many in the development of projects that have positively impacted both the participants and the communities in which they live.” 

The commission will provide a report of its findings and recommendations to the deputy provost in January 2015. 

University of Delaware Community Engagement Commission 

Lynnette Young Overby, Chair

Kate Adams, Residence Life and Housing

Tracey Bryant, Office of Communications and Marketing

Doug Buttrey, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Rick Deadwyler, Government Relations

Jennifer Ferris, Graduate Student, College of Arts and Sciences

Amy Foley, Institute for Global Studies

Cole Galloway, Department of Physical Therapy

Heather Kelly, Office of Institutional Research

Sarah LaFave, College of Health Sciences

Megan LaMotte, Undergraduate Student, College of Arts and Sciences

Kathleen Matt, College of Health Sciences

Yasser Payne, Black American Studies

Steven Peuquet, Center for Community Research and Service

Kathleen Pusecker, Office of Educational Assessment

Dana Raftas, Development and Alumni Relations

Michelle Rodgers, Cooperative Extension

Susan Serra, Office of Service Learning

Emily Sklar, Graduate Student, College of Education and Human Development

Michael Vaughan, College of Engineering

Photo by Evan Krape

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