Faculty, staff and leadership are convening to discuss the University of New Mexico’s public mission and how community engagement should be infused throughout the institution and be an integral element in shaping its identity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research and creative activity, enhance curriculum, teaching and learning, prepare educated engaged citizens, strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility, address critical societal issues, and contribute to the public good.

Community engagement, as defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, describes "the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity."

Over the past 20 years, more and more institutions--from small liberal arts colleges to large research universities--have been addressing the question of how partnerships between universities and their surrounding communities can strengthen the student experience and expand knowledge-sharing networks beyond the walls of academia.

Organizer Monica Kowal says, "The University of New Mexico has significant activity and impact in the local, state, and global community; however, the sustainability and support of that is in question because of the decentralized nature of how community engagement is facilitated, rewarded, and conceptualized."

The forum will feature presentations by UNM faculty and staff highlighting the many exemplars of engagement on our campus, and small group discussions will aim to address the tensions surrounding how engagement is understood and valued at UNM.

Barbara Holland is the keynote speaker for the event. She is a professor, researcher and consultant recognized internationally for her scholarship and expertise on organizational change in higher education with a focus on the institutionalization of community engagement. Among her many publications, she is the author of the “Holland Matrix” of community engagement factors, which has been widely adopted as an institutional planning tool.

In addition to serving as an in-depth adviser to more than 100 academic institutions across five nations, she is currently working on designing systems to monitor and measure the impact of engagement and methods to develop effective leaders to support the growing strategic importance of community engagement during this time of great change in higher education.

For more information, contact Monica Kowal, strategic planner, Community Engagement, at (505) 228-0137 or kowal1@unm.edu