A Newsletter from University Outreach and Engagement
May 2020
Raiders Engaged Announcement for Texas Tech
Faculty and Administrative Staff

- Deadline Extended -
The reporting deadline for Calendar Year 2019 Outreach and Engagement activities via Raiders Engaged has been extended to May 13, 2020. If you have already submitted your projects or activities, we thank you for your participation! If you have not done so, please report any teaching, research/creative, or service activities that you conducted for, in, or in partnership with external communities. The information that you submit assists campus leaders in evaluating the extent and nature of the university’s outreach and engagement activities. Due to a switch in reporting period from academic year to calendar year, the current assessment cycle encompasses activities conducted between September 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019. Faculty may also enter their activities in Digital Measures instead of Raiders Engaged.
“Communities” are broadly defined as any organizations or individuals outside of the university that you may have engaged with to share your academic knowledge and expertise, help meet a community need, or address a larger societal issue. You will find further definitions and specific examples of university projects and activities that are typically considered Outreach and Engagement on the Introductory Page of Raiders Engaged. Click here to access the Raiders Engaged survey.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Assistant Director Sam Sumner ( or Director Birgit Green ( at University Outreach and Engagement. 
University Outreach and Engagement has launched Engage at Tech Central, an online engagement hub that provides a birds-eye view of Texas Tech's community outreach and engagement programs, activities, and events. The site serves as a central web portal and resource for community members seeking, for instance, information about K-12, continuing education, lifelong learning, or arts and cultural programs available to the general public through Texas Tech.

Texas Tech faculty, staff, and students can use Engage at Tech Central to discover academic outreach and engaged scholarship opportunities that allow them to apply their academic knowledge or expertise in teaching, research, or creative activity to "real-world" community needs or societal issues, become involved in mutually beneficial community partnerships, and develop multi-disciplinary collaborations with peers and colleagues across the university. 

Engage at Tech Central displays contents in the form of “tiles" that link directly to an existing Texas Tech program or department website. Tiles are organized into “store fronts” that include the following categories:
  • Trending NOW - current outreach and engagement news and events 
  • Texas Tech faculty and staff outreach and engagement
  • Texas Tech student research, engagement, and outreach  
  • K-12 programs and camps 
  • STEM-related programming and research 
  • Academic enrichment and lifelong learning 
  • Conferences and events
  • Exhibits and collections
  • Theatre, art, and music
  • Resources for TTU faculty, staff, and the community 
This platform will continue to grow and serve as a valuable resource that connects our university and community. Its purpose is to spread awareness of events and resources as well as to inspire and foster university partnerships, faculty-led research projects, and applied, high impact learning experiences for students through academic engagement. We hope that you will find value in this innovative central engagement hub.

As Engage at Tech Central is in a stage of growth and development, we welcome your feedback! If you would like to become involved and provide your outreach and engagement content for Engage at Tech Central, please contact Katie Howell Evans at or

Click below to Engage at Tech Central and see for yourself!
In Spring 2019, Texas Tech's Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE), the Innovation Hub at Research Park,  the Center for Integration of STEM Education Research (CISER), and University Outreach and Engagement joined forces to plan the 2020 Discoveries to Impact Week. The week-long event was designed to bring together faculty, staff, students, and the community for a showcase of research, engagement, innovation, and business startups.  Scheduled events were comprised of the 3rd Annual Regional Engaged Scholarship Symposium, the 12th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference, TTU's  Accelerator Competition, CISER's Undergraduate Research Scholars Banquet, and more.

In response to University's proactive measures to help limit the coronavirus (COVID-19) risk to the Texas Tech University campus community, all public, face-to-face events planned during DTI 2020 had to, unfortunately, be canceled. Though public events were canceled, many took place "virtually." Student poster submissions and oral presentations for the 12th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference, for instance, can now be viewed at the 2020 Undergraduate Research Conference website. To find out more about other virtual events, click here.  

While the DTI planning team was disappointed to not be able to meet in person this year, they are very excited to share that all keynote speakers and most panelists from the 2020 conference have confirmed their participation for next year!  So, be sure to mark your calendars: Discoveries to Impact Week will take place March 29 to April 2, 2021!

For further details regarding the 2021 schedule, keynote speakers, and activities, visit Discoveries to Impact 2021. We hope that you will join us next year!

2020 Texas Tech President's Engaged Scholarship Awards

The Offices of the President, Provost, and Associate Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement are pleased to announce the Recipients of the 2020 President’s Engaged Scholarship Awards. The annual awards program recognizes individual TTU faculty and teams of faculty from all disciplines who demonstrate exemplary and sustained commitment to mutually beneficial 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.  The following individuals are being recognized for the impact of their work on both communities and scholarship.
The Texas Liberator Project
In 2016, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission approached Texas Tech University with the task of creating an educational tool by which students across Texas would be familiarized with the liberation of the concentration camps in the European Theater of War during the Second World War. The commission provided access to the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University’s collected oral histories of Texans who were veterans of the Second World War and who played a role in the liberation of concentration camps across Europe. Using these testimonials, the team at Texas Tech University developed a digital app to help share the stories of the Texas Liberators with high school students across the state. Texas Tech created a narrative by which students could come to understand the extremes of savagery and fanaticism, humility, and humanity of the Second World War from the perspective of the American soldier.
The Texas Liberator Project includes an online application, website, large-format quality book display featuring the narratives of 21 Texas liberators, and a traveling exhibit. Teams of Texas Tech undergraduate and graduate students guided by the Texas Tech faculty project leaders took on the gargantuan task of honoring the men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure the liberation, survival, and memory of the Holocaust.
Aliza Wong,
 Associate Dean, TTU Honors College; Associate Professor and Director of European Studies, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences
Rob Peaslee, Associate Professor, Chair, Journalism and Electronic Media, TTU College of Media and Communication
Randy Reddick, Morris Professor of Journalism, Journalism and Creative Media Industries, TTU College of Media and Communication
Jiawei Gong, Associate Professor, Digital/Transmedia Arts, TTU School of Art
Cameron Saffell, Assistant Director for Operations and Facilities, TTU Museum of Texas Tech University
Andy Gedeon, Exhibits Manager, TTU Museum of Texas Tech University
Students Involved:
Jeremy Huston,
English, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Ian Love, TTU College of Media and Communication 
Stephanie Wuthrnow,
TTU Heritage and Museum Sciences 
Melissa Lambert, History, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Shakil Shimul, TTU College of Architecture 
Chad Campbell, History, TTU College of Arts and Sciences, TTU Honors College
Literacy Champions
As a component of the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood grant, the Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) identified academic writing development as a significant need for K-12 students in the district and asked the Texas Tech College of Education to collaborate on providing support in addressing this need. Inadequate writing development of K-12 students has garnered national media attention over the lack of adolescent writing skills and the economic burden of their placement into developmental writing coursework in post-secondary settings. This trend is reflected in international achievement scores: one quarter of U.S. students in eighth and twelfth grade write “proficiently” (NAEP, 2011). While there is a significant research base for varied and authentic writing instruction, K-12 teachers consider these practices time intensive and irrelevant to the pressure of raising test scores. University faculty are considered out of touch with the immediate writing needs of struggling schools. In this context, literacy education scholars are turning toward engaged scholarship as an approach to bridge gaps between theory and practice to develop meaningful impact for K-12 students.
Mellinee Lesley and Julie Smit have served as “Literacy Champions” to LISD for five years. Their partnership has evolved from working with multiple schools to focus on one high school with the highest writing needs. In collaboration with the instructional coach, they investigate how English teachers engage in continuous embedded professional development to transform their writing instruction and, as a result, how ninth and tenth grade students are developing their academic writing skills. While LISD has seen a rise in rigorous writing instruction and gains in writing achievement of their students due to the partnership, university faculty and graduate students have also benefited through manuscript production, presentations at national and regional peer-reviewed conferences, and extending the work of the ELPN grant to include additional external funding.

Julie Smit,
Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, TTU College of Education
Mellinee Lesley, Professor, Language, Diversity, and Literacy Studies, TTU College of Education
Promoting Child Development, Inclusion, and Health Through Natural Learning

The Coalition for Natural Learning (CNL) is a collaboration between Texas Tech University faculty, Texas state agencies, departments, organizations, and childcare centers. It was created as a more formalized recognition of the ongoing multidisciplinary efforts between Dr. Kristi Gaines (Department of Design), Dr. Malinda Colwell (Human Development and Family Studies), Dr. Charles Klein, and Dr. Muntazar Monsur (Landscape Architecture). The CNL engages with its partners through research, teaching, service, outreach and engagement, working towards the common goal of creating environments that promote natural learning for children and their caregivers. In addition, environments are designed for people of different abilities (instead of disabilities), with the goal to create equitable spaces.
The work of the Coalition is providing state agencies, community leaders, administrators, educators, students, and parents resources for utilizing natural environments to promote the socio-emotional, physical, and cognitive development of children. The team views their work as a springboard to a much broader approach to natural learning paradigms in which a multidisciplinary team can work to improve educational and life-style opportunities using natural systems and approaches.

Kristi Gaines,
Associate Professor, Design, Associate Dean, TTU Graduate School
Charles Klein, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Malinda Colwell, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, TTU College of Human Sciences
Muntazar Monsur, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, TTU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

CASNR Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement Program
In 2018, the TTU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources began an innovative program to engage promising young adults with outstanding leadership in agricultural policy, natural resources, industry relations, and entrepreneurship. In an effort to address the increasing need for emerging leaders to fully understand the diverse issues, challenges, and opportunities affecting agriculture and rural America, the Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement (MILE) was designed to give CASNR undergraduate students a unique, high-impact learning experience. The MILE is a competitive, 14-student, three-semester leadership and professional development program that seeks to develop participants' personal and professional skills while exposing them to key issues affecting local, state, and national agriculture.

Engaging MILE students with industry and community leaders is the program's primary focus. In the program's two years, MILE has partnered with agricultural and livestock organizations, financial institutions, and non-profit groups who are providing funding and programming opportunities to enhance students' leadership development. But not only that; the knowledge-sharing that occurs between the leaders in these organizations and TTU students creates a unique, high-impact experience that will propel them into their careers. MILE is making a positive impact on students and communities alike by creating a pipeline of trained, young leaders who are equipped with skills, knowledge, and understanding of the issues facing rural communities and the agriculture industry.

Lindsay Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Practice, Agricultural Education and Communications, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Cindy Akers, Associate Dean, Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources


To find out more information about the President's Engaged Scholarship Awards Program, click here
University Outreach and Engagement Staff Receive Double "T" Award
University Outreach and Engagement Assistant Director Sam Sumner and Community Engagement Manager Grant Gerlich are the winners of the Double “T” Award issued by the Texas Tech Student Government Association. This award recognizes individuals who have served the student association endlessly with perseverance and all out devotion.

Learn more about the Texas Tech University Student Government Association.
Check out our special April 2020 Newsletter Edition highlighting the Texas Tech community’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Way to go. We are so proud of you, Red Raiders!
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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Jun 24, 2021