Leveraging university resources

For the past three years, we have collaborated with a host of community partners in leveraging university resources to advance communities. It is now our desire to extend community engagement to involve active collaboration with scholars. In doing so, we will explore a variety of issues relevant to the city of Wichita and the state of Kansas through individual and group research projects. Ultimately, through designing courses and curriculum around these initiatives, and through partnering with various academic units, we will provide opportunities to cross-pollinate academic theory with real-world application, providing learning opportunities for students while also researching relevant and applicable community solutions. Within the context of exploring community engagement opportunities, our focus is categorized in three strategic areas:

  1. Educational disparities
  2. Physical and mental wellness
  3. Social justice

This collaborative model requires utilizing the voices of students, faculty and staff, community leadership, and community members-at-large.    

A collaborative ecosystem

Through leveraging community partnerships and university resources, we have developed an ecosystem of reciprocity and collaboration by which individuals and families have become empowered. Such efforts have included but are not limited to:

  • Partnering with community organizations to provide over 100 college scholarships in just three years
  • Serving over 1000 individuals with healthcare needs within this same timeframe
  • Involvement with the VA hospital for community outreach projects
  • Diversity training and professional development for Homeland Security
  • Diversity and professional development training for USD 259 teachers and administrators
  • Partnering with the local community to provide mental health resources for women of color
  • Introducing engineering opportunities to children from impoverished communities
  • Connecting male high school students with community mentors
  • Involvement with both the Black and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce that serve the local community  

Expanding our partnerships

As we continue to develop viable relationships and expand the brand of the division, our plan for 2020 is to double our partnership base of roughly 30 highly engaged community partners. The strategy with this is that there are significant impacts already being made by individuals and organizations within various community engagement spaces – therefore, rather than creating something new, we actively reach out to those who are already making an impact, and seek to strengthen those impacts by offering to leverage our resources with existing initiatives.