Community engagement is central to the University of Minnesota's teaching, research, and outreach missions. Minnesota Alumni magazine recently featured a conversation with Vice President for Public Engagement Andrew Furco that highlighted the Resilient Communities Project as an exemplary community engagement initiative at the Twin Cities campus. As a large, public land grant university located in an urban center, Furco is adamant that community-engaged work be a core of the University. In his conversation with Minnesota Alumni, Furco emphasized the difference between an engaged university--which is focused on building lasting partnerships and relationships in collaboration with communities--versus engagement programs housed within a university that work with communities largely to complete research projects. In 2015, the University of Minnesota became one of the first urban public research universities to receive the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Community Engagement Classification for its dedication to engagement. In its application for this designation, the University identified more than 100 community engagement initiatives. Minnesota Alumni spotlighted six of these efforts :
- the Northside Job Creation Team (NJCT) at the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), which focuses on job creation in the North Minneapolis community;
- the Minnesota Prison Doula Project, which provides support for incarcerated mothers before, during, and after birth;
- Medical School assistant professor Michele Allen, who conducts community-based participatory research on adolescent health, and received the President’s Community-Engaged Scholar award in 2014;
- Maria Hanratty from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Lisa Thornquist from Heading Home Hennepin, who spearheaded a study that provided the basis for Hennepin County’s 2014 Stable Families Initiative;
- the Community-University Health Care Center, one of the oldest University-community partnerships and now the largest Minnesota primary care center in an urban area; and
- the Resilient Communities Project, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) that connects students and communities on a wide variety of issues.
To learn more about the projects featured in this article and the continued community engagement work of the University, check out the full article in Minnesota Alumni (RCP is featured on the last page of the article).