"Michigan State University has had a long history of involvement in urban communities since the civil disorders of the 1960s. It is now time to elevate that commitment to meet the pressing needs of metropolitan areas during this period of economic transformation."
Joe T. Darden
Over the course of producing five volumes of The Engaged Scholar Magazine between 2005 and 2010 we have observed a model emerging: Faculty members who are interested in a particular subject team up with a business, agency, or organization that is looking for practical information about how the topic applies to their situation. Under close faculty supervision and mentorship, students often design and carry out the surveys, lab tests, and other tasks that make this rather labor-intensive approach possible. They may also present their conclusions and recommendations to the client.
The students learn for themselves about the principles and practices of engaged scholarship; the faculty partners gain insight
for further development of theories and models; and the community partners get priority questions answered.
But best of all is the refrain we have heard over and over from those who participate in this form of scholarship. For example: The Child Welfare Learning Collaborative, which matches students with appropriate agency experiences, "has enabled our agency to improve its quality of care in spite of budget cuts" (Sherri Solomon of St. Vincent Catholic Charities, issue 2); "Students in the Chance at Childhood program are supervising parental visits ... the program enables more parents to spend time with their children in a safe environment" (Joseph Kozakiewicz, issue 2); "It's really the students who are doing the legwork that makes
discoveries possible" (Mitch Smith, "Clean Chemistry," issue 4); and "We accomplish a lot with a little" (Zenia Kotval, "Urban Collaborators," this issue).
See page 12 to find out more about what Kotval calls the "smooth transition," where teaching, research, and service all cycle around each other.
Linda Chapel Jackson