Community engagement office launches new web links
By Katie West
The Coordinating Office for Community Engagement and Service has launched several new features on its website to improve usability and to help coordinate USC’s reclassification application to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
This past year, the office developed and implemented a survey to ascertain the scope and impact of community engagement being conducted by faculty and staff. The results of that survey can be seen on a link to its updated Web page. Data and information from that survey also are being used to highlight specific engagement projects and service-learning courses on a monthly basis. The plan is to highlight other programs while archiving past programs.
“The office was originally conceived as a communication portal for both internal and external parties to help enhance current engagement initiatives and to initiate new ones,” said Les Sternberg, the office’s director. “However, we felt very strongly that it was essential to improve our communications, demonstrate our engagement and service impacts, and put an even greater emphasis on public engagement at our university.”
The office also added two other significant links to the site. One, called Knowledge Maps, clusters the office’s faculty and staff programs and service-learning courses into one of 15 areas. These areas are considered critical community concerns. By clicking on the Knowledge Map icons, those viewing the link can see projects and service-learning courses accompanied by the name of their respective university contact. The purpose of this link is to display what faculty and staff are doing and to provide ideas for future interdisciplinary pursuits in those areas.
The second link, Statewide Community Engagement, displays a state map with what appears to be black and red clusters. By zooming in on the map, these clusters become individual dots (only Firefox and Chrome browsers can access the interactive functions of the map). By moving a cursor over the dot, the name of a single- or multicounty project appears with the name of the university contact.
“I am pleased that we were able to launch these two Web links this year. They both took considerable planning and the assistance of a number of key individuals,” Sternberg said. Faculty, staff, students and others are encouraged to visit the page and offer feedback.
“We hope to continually update the Web page and Web links so as to demonstrate our university’s engagement, service effectiveness and impact,” Sternberg said.
The office hopes that these efforts will help organize the university’s reclassification application to the Carnegie Foundation to once again receive recognition for its exemplary community engagement and service efforts. The application is due to the foundation in April 2014.
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