A Newsletter from University Outreach and Engagement
Fall 2018

"Perspectives and Practices in Engaged Scholarship"

A Panel Discussion
Thursday, November 8, 2018
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center (TTU Library), Room 151
(Lunch will be provided)

If you are interested in learning more about Engaged Scholarship, join us for this panel discussion! During this interactive session, three Texas Tech faculty members, who have been recognized for their exemplary outreach and engaged scholarship, will share their perspectives and experiences with this type of scholarly work. You will gain insights into their strategies and practices, as well as the challenges and rewards as they have built their teaching and research portfolios upon community partnerships in response to regional needs  Panelists: Col. Dave Lewis, Institute for Peace and Conflict, Dept. of Political Sciences; Dr. Tom Arsuffi, Llano River Field Station; Dr. Tanja Karp, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

To register, visit For more information, contact Dr. Birgit Green, Director of University Outreach and Engagement, email:; phone: (806)834-2308. Seats are available for walk-ins.

Outreach...Engagement...Engaged Scholarship
What does it really mean???

Click here:

President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Awards 
During the Spring 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation, two Texas Tech faculty members were honored with the President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award. Sponsored by the Offices of the President, Provost, and University Outreach and Engagement, this new internal awards program recognizes individual faculty and teams of faculty who demonstrate exemplary and sustained commitment to engagement with community partners in their teaching, research/creative activity, or service. 
Dr. Tom Arsuffi, Director of the Llano River Field Station, was honored for his engagement with numerous public and private partners for the protection of the watershed in the Texas Hill Country. His partners include county judges, the Llano River Watershed Alliance, Hill Country Alliance, Texas Public Radio, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Agrilife, landowners, ranchers, school districts, and more. “Engagement is something I always thought was really important as a mission for the field station,” says Tom. “I thought it was really critical that the research we do has applied applications. That it’s meaningful to the public, the ranchers, the locals, the agencies, and so forth.” Tom's engagement has resulted in the creation of the Upper Llano River Watershed Protection Plan (ULWPP) which was formally accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 and now represents a strategic systems approach to conserving healthy watersheds in a five county area of 50,000 people. ULWPP project funding has directly engaged more than 25,000 students and citizens through workshops, outreach, and active involvement in design and implementation.

Since ULWWP, the Llano River Field Station has produced and facilitated twelve publications, three dissertations, two postdocs, ten masters, and provided numerous invited talks at professional scientific/education conferences, public presentations, and Texas Public Radio Water Symposiums reaching tens of thousands of people. The City of Junction also provided funding for a $137K laboratory.

Col. Dave Lewis, Director of the Institute for Peace and Conflict in the Department of Political Sciences, was honored for his work in transitioning veterans’ service delivery. His community partners include StarCare Specialty Health Systems, Lubbock County Detention Center, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, Lubbock County Office of Dispute Resolution, Lubbock Police Department, and the South Plains Homeless Consortium. These partnerships have enabled over 4,000 military veterans in the Texas South Plains and Panhandle regions to gain access to resources during their transition from military to civilian life. Dave notes, “The community and university impact has been significant. Over 250 homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, veterans and their families have been housed within a thirty county area. Over 2,000 justice involved veterans were identified and approximately 700 were approached for services through a 20 county area.”

The program has provided practical training to TTU undergraduate and graduate social work students. It has also resulted in the creation of the FASTRR (FIND, ASSESS, STABILIZE, TREAT, REASSESS & REINTEGRATE) service delivery strategy. The model is now nationally recognized and has been briefed to the U.S. Congress House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The creation of a Veterans Studies Certificate program in Political Sciences is bringing additional culturally-competent mental health and social workers to the workforce as society continues to face challenges for transitioning veterans into our communities. Finally, this project has resulted in a partnership with TTUHSC for clinical research in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury that has the potential to significantly alter mental health treatment for veterans.

Overall, University Outreach and Engagement received twenty-two outstanding applications from TTU faculty during the award program's first year. Thank you so much for your submissions and your engagement with communities! 
The 2019 Cycle of the President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Awards Program will begin December 3, 2018, and faculty are Invited to apply by February 22, 2019 via Texas Tech's Competition Space website at For further information, contact Dr. Birgit Green at
AY'18 Raiders Engaged Assessment Is Underway - Deadline December 1
TTU faculty and academic staff are invited to participate in the annual Raiders Engaged assessment to assist campus leaders in evaluating the extent and nature of the University’s outreach and engagement activities. Raiders Engaged gathers information on any teaching, research, creative, or service activities conducted for or in partnership with external communities (i.e. non-profit organizations, government agencies, K-12 schools, civic groups, and others). The online survey now provides the option to pre-populate certain data fields with data from CAYUSE for any grant-funded outreach or engagement projects. The deadline for reporting is December 1, 2018. The AY'18 Raiders Engaged survey may be accessed at: Click here for the institutional summary report from the 2017 Raiders Engaged assessment. 
Mark Your Calendar! 
2nd Annual Regional Engaged Scholarship Symposium - April 10, 2019
Guest Speaker:  Dr. KerryAnn O’Meara, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Studies at the University of Maryland. Dr. O'Meara is a national expert on faculty careers, academic reward systems, and change strategies that advance a diverse faculty involved in multiple forms of scholarship, including engaged scholarship.   
A Call for Proposals for concurrent sessions will go out in mid-January!
TTU Outreach and Engaged Scholarship in Action!

Forensic Mental Health Assessment and Consultation Services

Identifying a need 
The population of West Texas has grown significantly over the last decade leading to an increased demand for Forensic Mental Health Assessment (FMHA) in the legal system. Approximately five percent of all criminal cases require an assessment of competency to stand trial. This has led to hundreds of cases in Lubbock and the surrounding counties per year.  Many courts disregarded FMHA services as the wait time to get a forensic examiner was unacceptably long or cost-prohibitive to bring one in from out of town.  This shortage of examiners made it difficult for the criminal justice system to provide quality assessment, jeopardizing its ability to offer fair and just treatment to all.

Creating a solution 
In the spring of 2015, the Institute of Forensic Science (IFS) established itself as a provider of FMHA and consultation services to the West Texas area. Dr. Megan Thoen, Dr. Robert Morgan, Dr. Lucas Shaw, and Dr. Erin Lodge of Texas Tech University work together to ensure that FMHA is adequately growing in West Texas. By partnering with surrounding counties, the IFS provides services to the Lubbock, Terry, Bailey, Hockley, Cochran, Lynn, and Crosby County Courts, and to the Lubbock Private Defenders’ Office for Capital Cases.

Having an impact 
Over 150 legal cases have been served since the initiative began. Local examiners are now readily available, which is an asset to the community. Defendants no longer must remain in jail for extended periods of time, and the process of evaluation is much more efficient. In situations where FMHA may have been disregarded due to the unavailability or high costs in the past, evaluations are now being ordered in a timely manner. “Given that the criminal justice system is widely recognized as overburdened, this partnership is essential to ensuring that marginalized individuals are not lost in the system or go without appropriate legal and mental health consideration,” said Dr. Robert Morgan from the Department of Psychological Sciences. On the academic side, students gain valuable exposure to work in real-life legal settings. It also provides a model of community intervention in hopes that students will value this type of service in their professional careers. Doctoral students involved are able to work directly with any affiliated examiners. This experience allows them to be competitive for required internships and future post-doctoral fellowships.
The future of this program includes continued growth through the addition of other IFS-affiliated forensic examiners as the demand for services throughout the area continues to grow. It will also continue to bring recognition to Texas Tech University as a leader in the provision of quality Forensic Mental Health Assessment, consultation and continuing education services. 

Project Contact: Megan Thoen, Institute for Forensic Science;e-mail:
Literacy Champions - A Partnership with Lubbock ISD

Identifying a need
Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) provides education to nearly 30,000 students in the Lubbock area. One particular school within LISD realized their students were in dire need of writing development. This is a national trend. According to the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) data, only one quarter of U.S. students in eighth and twelfth grade can write proficiently.

Creating a solution
Administrators from LISD, Berta Ferguson and Dr. Beverly Finch, and educators from Estacado High School, Amy Higgins and Rene Todd, reached out to the College of Education at Texas Tech University (TTU) for guidance. This led to a partnership with Dr. Julie Smit, Dr. Mellinee Lesley and Dawn Burke, who are leaders in the field of literacy. Together, they created Literacy Champions, a collaborative effort to improve P-12 students’ writing achievements as part of the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood (ELPN) grant. LISD was supportive of this initiative by sharing district assessments and data that have helped determine the impact of the program. Literacy Champions is committed to collaborating with district instructional coaches to develop district-wide professional sessions, school-wide professional learning communities, teacher planning sessions, and vertical alignment meetings.

Having an impact
Using a writing rubric to measure writing growth, students' writing achievement has improved significantly since the program began. This is especially true for students who struggled the most. These students are more engaged in their writing and demonstrate more stamina. They are also setting meta-cognitive goals for themselves. Texas Tech graduate students also have been positively impacted by participating in the research design, analysis, and publications in peer- reviewed journals and conferences. To date, the partnership has led to two national peer-reviewed conference presentations, one proposal submission, and two regional conferences including the Regional Academic Engagement Symposium held at TTU in 2017. Three manuscripts have been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals in the field of literacy education.

Literacy Champions consists of four different research teams that are currently developing proposals for national conferences and manuscripts for publication. The teams plan to combine research and experience into a book that describes what students perceive as meaningful writing and how it aligns with high school and early college expectations. “Our research assistants and doctoral students are actively engaged with us in our work as Literacy Champions,” said Dr. Smit. “They are currently in classrooms working with students and teachers, and they are engaged in the College of Education’s application experience initiative to develop research in meaningful contexts with real-world implications.” The goal for the future is to provide school districts with a structure that ensures lasting impact on the pedagogy of teachers and the writing achievement of students.

Project Contact: Julie Smit, College of Education, E-Mail:
University Outreach and Engagement 
Office of the Provost
Texas Tech University
Box 41047
Lubbock, TX 79409
Jun 24, 2021