The Office of Public Engagement is pleased to issue the Cohort 2 (2024-2025) application for the university’s Engaged Unit Program.
The Engaged Unit Program supports teams representing overarching academic units—colleges and schools—in identifying and implementing action steps for furthering the institutionalization of community-engaged research and/or teaching in the academic agendas within their units.
The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racial injustice have required us to focus intently on enacting more effective, reciprocal public engagement efforts as we find ways to contribute solutions to today’s most pressing and challenging societal issues.
As we resume in-person, face-to-face engagement work with communities, it is important to identify strategies within our academic units for ensuring high quality, equitable partnerships and collaborations in light of the significant developments that have occurred over the three past years.
The Engaged Unit Program is designed to support overarching academic units—specifically, colleges and schools—that wish to develop or strengthen research-focused and/or teaching-focused university-community engagement partnership initiatives that enhance the involvement of faculty, staff, and/or students in community-embedded work that advances the unit’s academic agenda.
Post-COVID engagement requires us to think differently about our relationships and collaborations with external partners. Specifically, today’s public engagement requires us to be attentive to:
The Engaged Unit Program was launched in October 2022. In December 2022, six schools and colleges were selected to participate as members of Cohort 1 to engage in 18 months of public engagement institutionalization work from January 2023 to June 2024.
For Cohort 2 of the program (2024-2025), up to ten overarching academic units (i.e., colleges and schools) will be selected to plan, establish, and implement strategic initiatives (three to five action steps) that advance the integration of public engagement into the units’ research and teaching activities. Their action planning and implementation work will take place between January 2024 and June 2025.
Units selected to participate will receive up to $15,000 to support the development and implementation of their public engagement institutionalization actions plans, as well as have access to resource materials (books), technical assistance providers, external speakers, and community-based and university-based networks to enhance their community-engaged research and/or teaching.
The Engaged Unit Program builds on the work conducted at other universities to support eligible units in developing and implementing strategic initiatives that further institutionalization of public engagement at the university through the integration of public engagement into the unit’s academic programmatic features. Units that participate in the program focus on elevating the criticality of public engagement in order to build a more engaged college or school.
An engaged college or school is one that:
This program supports participating units in developing and enacting plans that identify specific action steps for advancing community- engaged research and/or community-engaged teaching efforts, in light of the changing conditions in communities and at the university, and in consideration of the systemic racial inequities and other critical challenges that communities face.
The development of engaged unit activities under this program might involve but are not limited to the following:
Activities that are part of the Engaged Unit Program should include all the following components:
The university’s public engagement efforts take place in many different community contexts, from local to global and include partnerships with a broad range of external stakeholders and sectors. Each effort and partnership brings with it a unique set of circumstances and situations that warrant consideration and careful planning.
Unit Teams: Up to ten (10) collegewide and/or schoolwide teams will be selected to participate in the program. Each team will consist of at least four individuals who will serve as representatives of the unit’s engagement work and action planning efforts. Each unit team must include the following members:
Note: There is no maximum limit to the number of individuals who can serve on a unit team.
Engaged Unit Program
The members of each of the selected teams will participate as a cohort in a three-phased, 18-month institute that includes:
Planning and Development (spring 2024):
The members of the teams will meet in spring 2024 for two mandatory half-day meetings (each lasting three hours) on action planning for public engagement institutionalization. These meetings will be held on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon and Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 9:00 AM – 12 noon.
All team members are expected to attend these meetings.
The first meeting, Wednesday, January 31, 2024 (9 AM – noon) will explore the essential elements of high-quality public engagement, as they pertain to advancing the research and teaching goals of academic units. This meeting will include discussion regarding challenging and changing conditions in communities as a result of COVID, persistent systemic inequities, and other important issues. Participants will engage in a review of the action planning template that teams will use to complete their respective action plan. This template engages team members in articulating goals to be accomplished and key action steps to be implemented over the course of the program to achieve each participating unit’s identified public engagement implementation and institutionalization goals.
Following this first meeting, each unit team will work throughout the spring 2024 semester to flesh out and refine its Engaged Unit Action Plan.
During the second meeting, Wednesday, May 8, 2024 (9 AM – noon), the members of each Engaged Unit Team will present their respective action plan and solicit peer feedback from the other teams. Each team will then refine and finalize its plan and action steps to prepare for its year-long implementation starting in the fall 2024 semester.
Implementation (fall 2024 and spring 2025): Each Engaged Unit team will implement its action plan during the 2024-2025 academic year. During this period, there will be two mandatory 90-minute meetings (one per semester, dates to be determined) to discuss each group’s progress and share helpful materials and information. Teams are required to send at least one representative to each of these two 90-minute meetings.
Reporting: One mandatory final meeting (3 hours) will be held at the end of the spring 2025 semester (date to be determined) to review each team’s implementation progress, to assess the progress of the unit’s engagement work, and to identify next steps.
Engaged Unit teams that wish to participate in this program agree to the following:
Priority for funding will be given to proposals that:
Funds from this grant initiative can be used for any purpose that supports the advancement of the team’s engagement action plan. These funds may be combined with other university or external funding sources. An 18-month budget (January 2024 – June 2025), against which college/school teams can charge expenditures, will be allocated in January 2024. However, the actual disbursement of funds will occur in three phases: 50% of funds after submission of a completed action plan in spring 2024, 25% of funds at the end of the fall 2024 semester, and 25% of funds at the end spring 2025, after final reports and documents are submitted.
Engaged Unit Teams selected for the program will be provided access to a set of resources, materials, technical assistance, and other support to guide the department’s planning and implementation activities. Each team is eligible to receive up to $15,000 to support the development and implementation of their institutionalization action plan. The resources may be used to (but not limited to):
During the project period, the Office of Public Engagement will work with each team to secure the necessary support and technical assistance to advance each team’s goals.
Complete and submit the application (as a PDF) by Friday, November 17, 2023 at the link below. Only those applications received by end of business Friday, November 17, 2023 will be considered for funding.
All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their grant application by Friday, December 8, 2023.