A Newsletter from University Outreach and Engagement
November 2020
2021 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards
Call for Proposals

The Offices of the President, Provost, and University Outreach and Engagement are inviting applications from TTU faculty for the 2021 President’s Engaged Scholarship Awards. The awards program is designed to recognize and reward individual TTU faculty and teams of faculty from all disciplines who demonstrate exemplary and sustained commitment to engagement with community partners. Recognized faculty apply their teaching, research, or creative activity to address a significant community need or larger social issue, trying to find solutions that may improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. They actively collaborate with members of the community (locally, statewide, nationally, or globally), regarding them as equal partners in the process, sharing knowledge and expertise, and working together to generate new knowledge for the mutual benefit of both the community and the university. The program consists of the following two awards categories:
  • The President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes TTU faculty for a longer-term project or initiative that demonstrates a significant and sustained commitment to addressing a community need or larger social issue through mutually beneficial collaboration with community partners. It carries a monetary prize of $2,000 and recognizes up to two faculty-led engaged scholarship projects or initiatives.
  • The President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes TTU faculty for a relatively new project or initiative that demonstrates high potential for the advancement of engaged scholarship. The project or initiative shows outstanding promise for having a significant impact on both communities and the university. It carries a monetary prize of $1,500 and recognizes one faculty-led project or initiative. 
The deadline for application is February 15, 2021. For application guidelines and submissions, please log into Texas Tech Competition Space or visit the President's Engaged Scholarship Awards page on the University Outreach and Engagement website. 
For further questions, contact Grant Gerlich at University Outreach and Engagement: | 806-834-8933.

Calendar Year 2019 Raiders Engaged Assessment Results
With the 2019 administration, the assessment period of Texas Tech faculty and staff outreach and engagement activities switched from Academic Year to Calendar Year. University Outreach and Engagement also collaborated with the Office of Planning and Assessment to incorporate the survey questions from the traditional Raiders Engaged instrument into Digital Measures (DM) to provide faculty with the option to enter their outreach and engagement activities directly in their DM accounts for annual reporting. Data submitted via the regular Raiders Engaged survey was then combined with data submitted via DM to obtain a final report of Texas Tech’s outreach and engagement activities for the University’s annual strategic plan update.

A total of 483 Texas Tech faculty and staff members participated in the assessment and submitted information on 1,318 projects and activities for Calendar Year 2019.  Submitted projects and activities covered the realms of teaching, research, creative activity, and service. According to respondents, a total of 1,779 TTU faculty and staff were involved in outreach and engagement projects and activities, spending close to 295,000 hours to help address specific community needs or larger societal issues.  The highest number of projects addressed Pre-K-12 education (21%), followed by Community Development/Arts/Culture/ Civic Life (15.6%), and Science and Technology (11.5%).  

Community partners included non-profit or government agencies, business and industry, Pre-K and K-12 schools, other two- or four-year colleges, community organizations, civic groups, and others. During Calendar Year 2019, TTU faculty and staff were involved in a total of 1,701 such partnerships.

The two primary forms of engagement faculty and staff were involved in were: Public Programs, Events, and Resources (19.64%) and Research and Creative Activity (16.43%), followed by Other (14.02%). In ‘Other’, the most common comments were of Relationship Development and Volunteering.  The following map highlights the regional impacts of these projects in the State of Texas. 

Besides Texas, 112 projects impacted populations in New Mexico (112), followed by Florida (107).  

View the full report of the Raiders Engaged Institutional Summary of University Outreach and Engagement for 2019. 


The Calendar Year 2020 campus-wide Outreach and Engagement Assessment is now underway. Texas Tech faculty and staff are invited to participate in the following ways:

TTU Faculty:
Please enter your CY’20 activities in the “Outreach and Engagement” section of your Digital Measures account.  The submission deadline for consideration in Annual Faculty Reports is January 31, 2020.*  For questions related to Digital Measures, contact Kenny Shatley at the Office of Planning and Assessment; e-mail:

*[You may enter your CY’ 20 activities until May 1, 2021; however, consideration in Faculty Reports cannot be guaranteed.]

TTU Staff:
Please enter your individual or unit-sponsored CY'2020 outreach and engagement activities in the traditional Raiders Engaged Instrument. The instrument will be open for CY'2020 entries beginning December 1, 2020.
The deadline for CY’ 2020 submissions is May 1, 2021. For questions related to Raiders Engaged, please contact Sam Sumner at the Office of University Outreach and Engagement: | 806-834-7264
Thank you for your past and continued participation in Texas Tech’s annual Raiders Engaged assessment!
University Outreach and Engagement hosted two webinars this fall (October 26 and November 5, 2020) to highlight the recipients of the 2020 President’s Engaged Scholarship Awards, an annual awards program that recognizes Texas Tech faculty from all disciplines for a project or activity that demonstrates exemplary and sustained commitment to mutually beneficial partnerships with external communities.

The award-winning teams, which also included Texas Tech graduate students, provided an overview of their projects and shared best practices, challenges, and lessons learned. They also highlighted the impacts that their engagement has had on student teaching and learning, research and innovation, as well as scholarship. 

In total, 54 Texas Tech faculty, staff, students, and members of the community (not counting presenters) attended the webinar series. 
"The Texas Liberator Project
(Winner of the President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award)

"Promoting Child Development, Inclusion, and Health Through Natural Learning
(Winner of the President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award)

"Literacy Champions"
(Winner of the President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award)

The winner of the 2020 President’s Exemplary Program award was the CASNR Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement program. Join us in Spring 2021 for a live webinar highlighting this innovative program. Details will be forthcoming.  
Virtual Outreach and Engagement

Black Women in the Academy

Texas Tech's Office of Institutional Diversity, part of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI), hosted "Black Women in The Academy" on October 22, 2020. The virtual event, held via Zoom, involved recognition of Black women who are full professors at Texas Tech, as well as a panel discussion that focuses on the journey of Black women in academia.

"The Office of Institutional Diversity is very proud to honor these women, who are both scholars in their respective fields and leaders in higher education," said Carol A. Sumner, Chief Diversity Officer and DDEI Vice President. "Texas Tech is fortunate to have such outstanding faculty, scholars and community leaders. We look forward to learning from them and the achievements they have made while often being amongst a small number of Black women at the institution. Their experiences and insights will provide a great backdrop to the advice and wisdom they have to share. We celebrate their achievements and successes in higher education as women of color in the academy."

Watch the recording of this online event

Climate Center Hosts Virtual "Science by the Glass" Events

Join the Climate Center for Science by the Glass! This online experience allows viewers to learn about climate, the coronavirus, gardening, particles in the air, agriculture and more. Science by the Glass usually takes place at 5:00 p.m. central time on the second Tuesday of each month. Please follow the Climate Center on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date on the upcoming schedule and to access Zoom links to join the online events. Registration is required. 

See the Climate Center's Eventbrite page for more information.

Watch recent online Science By The Glass seminars on the Climate Center's YouTube Channel

Engaged Scholarship Spotlights

Atmospheric Science Professor Receives Two NOAA Grants
Texas Tech University's Chris Weiss, a professor of atmospheric science in the College of Arts & Sciences' Department of Geosciences, received two grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve the understanding of how tornadoes form in the southeastern United States and how to better predict them to help save lives and minimize property damage.

Weiss was awarded $220,000 for the "Propagation, Evolution, and Rotation in Linear Storms (PERiLS)" project and $211,176 for his "Assessment of the Role of Cold Pools in Low-Level Vorticity Production Using Direct Observation and Ensemble Sensitivity Analysis" project.

"The two grants are actually very closely related, both being part of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment – Southeast (VORTEX-SE) mission," Weiss said. "The 'Cold Pools' grant is largely an analysis of data collected for VORTEX-SE during the 2018-2019 field campaign, whereas the PERiLS grant is for instrument deployment in the upcoming VORTEX-SE field campaign, which is scheduled to take place in 2022 and 2023."

The cold pools grant is a collaboration between Texas Tech and NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The lab will assist in creating some of the high-resolution numerical simulations used for this work.
Researcher Heads Project to Increase Opportunities
for Students in Agricultural Field

By 2026, it is predicted there will be a 46% increase in the demand for educated workers specializing in water management and agriculture. Yet, fewer college students are specializing in these areas, especially in West Texas, where the workforce holds fewer bachelor's degrees or higher than in other areas of the state. But through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a Texas Tech University researcher is hoping to change that.

Catherine Simpson, an assistant professor of sustainable and urban horticulture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, part of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, is the project director for a group of researchers who are part of a program called MASTERS – Mentoring Agriculture Students through Training, Experiential learning and Research Skills. The MASTERS program aims to provide underrepresented and underserved students with financial support, mentoring, training, internships and professional-development opportunities to increase the number of skilled employees in the agricultural workforce.

The program is backed by a $272,999 grant from the USDA, and Texas Tech is partnering with the USDA Agricultural Research Services (ARS) Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Arizona. Together, they will provide students hands-on training, access to technical and analytical equipment and guidance from senior scientists at the ARS.

"We hope this opportunity will be a model for future dual-perspective, mentor-based graduate and undergraduate research programs that will offer students both workforce and soft skills that will make them ready for future agricultural careers," Simpson said.


Read the full article

Tech Terrace Mural Project
At a Tech Terrace Neighborhood Association (TTNA) meeting in January of 2019, a resident discussed the unseemly sight of the wall surrounding the Lubbock Power and Light (LP&L) substation on Elgin Avenue. He asked if there was something that could be done to make it more attractive. After reaching out to city council representative Jeff Griffith, he and Matt Rose, the Public Affairs and Government Relations Manager for Lubbock Power and Light (LP&L), met with TTNA for further discussion. It was decided that murals could be painted on the wall.

Over the next year, through the efforts of the TTNA, Texas Tech University, and the City of Lubbock, the mural project was set in motion. Professor Andrew Martin of the Texas Tech School of Art committed his senior painting class to work on the project with students from Hutchinson Middle School. They collaborated on design and scope of the project with the neighborhood association agreeing to pay for the paint and supplies. The City of Lubbock and LP&L gave the green light for the project to begin. In the next few weeks, 
students and community members will begin prepping the wall for its upcoming mural. This is a mutually beneficial project where students get hands-on experience, the community gains an attractive work of art, and the city has an opportunity to promote the arts.
Texas Tech Coursework Partnership with Local Nonprofits
Dr. Kelsey Moore’s Business Communication (PCOM 3373) course partnered with six Lubbock nonprofits during the Fall 2020 semester. These nonprofits included: Habitat for Humanity, EL ROBI, Lubbock Children's Health Clinic, Early Learning Centers of Lubbock, Boys and Girls Club, and Literacy Lubbock
Texas Tech undergraduate students took on actual challenges  facing the organizations—many of which centered around the COVID-19 pandemic. Students created formal, written proposals that offered solutions. They wrote persuasive letters introducing their projects, used research to analyze the problems, and then created proposal plans with budgets and timelines.
Students learned how to solve business problems with research, write professionally, present persuasively, and acknowledge the limitations of a nonprofit. The nonprofit partners were able to get innovative and research-driven ideas on how to address their COVID-19 challenges such as fundraising online, increasing enrollment in programs, and amplifying diverse voices among their volunteers. The hope is that these partners will be able to implement these ideas and even reach out to students to help them implement if they wish to partner in the future.
Dr. Moore utilized resources from The Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE) and University Outreach & Engagement (O&E) to engage with community partners. These types of partnerships are exactly what TrUE and O&E hope to provide to TTU faculty, students, and community partners.
TrUE and University Outreach and Engagement are excited to celebrate the incredible work that Dr. Moore is doing in her teaching and community engagement! We look forward to future partnerships that bring the Lubbock community and TTU together and give students transformational experiences.
Our Office Has Been Relocated! 

Texas Tech University Outreach and Engagement has moved. We are now located at 2515 15th Street in the southwest wing of Drane Hall on the 3rd floor. We look forward to your visit. 

University Outreach and Engagement strengthens Texas Tech's ability to
achieve excellence in Outreach and Engaged Scholarship by serving as a
Catalyst, Collaborator, and Connector.  

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University Outreach and Engagement, Texas Tech University
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Feb 28, 2023