Reach Out > Engage > Transform
A Newsletter from University Outreach and Engagement
April 2022

The Best of the Best in West Texas!

After two years as a virtual event, Texas Tech University’s Discoveries to Impact (DTI) conference, was back with a bang, on March 28th through April 1st with over 1,075 attendees. The event brought together faculty, staff, students, and community partners for a showcase of faculty, staff, and student research, engagement, innovation, and startups. DTI represents a partnership between the Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE), the Center for the Integration of STEM Education and Research (CISER), the Innovation Hub, and University Outreach and Engagement.
On March 28, the first day of DTI, University Outreach and Engagement hosted its 4th Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium. Faculty, staff, and students who engaged with K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, city governments, children, parents, health care professionals, and more discussed their projects and mutually beneficial collaborations designed to find sustainable solutions for a wide-range of community issues and global challenges.  

The keynote luncheon featured Dr. Nancy Trevino, the Director of the Texas Tech Mental Health Initiative (TTMHI), who spoke about TTMHI’s extensive network of partnerships within the TTU System and across the West Texas region which was launched in fall 2016 to provide a collaborative approach and effective solutions to addressing communities’ mental health issues in the region. 
The luncheon also included recognition of the 2022 President’s Engaged Scholarship Award, the President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award, and the President’s Exemplary Program recipients who discussed their award-winning projects during separate panel presentations.  

Other symposium presentations throughout the day focused on engagement with nonprofit organizations, global communities, and public schools.
For further details regarding the events at Discoveries to Impact Week, including the Undergraduate Research Conference and Demo Day, click here.

The 2022 President's Engaged Scholarship
Award Recipients!
The President’s Engaged Scholarship Awards Program, sponsored by University Outreach and Engagement, recognizes Texas Tech faculty for an exemplary and sustainable engaged scholarship project or activity that addresses an important community need and/or discovers solutions to larger societal issues based on mutually beneficial partnership with communities.  The winning project/activity shows evidence of significant impact on communities/society, as well as teaching and learning, research and creative activity, and scholarship.

This year, University Outreach and Engagement recognized a total of four projects with the President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award in the following categories: Engaged Teaching, Engaged Research, Engaged Creative Activities, and Engaged Service.
Excellence in Engaged Teaching
The STEM Explorers Program

The STEM Explorers Program started in Lubbock during the spring semester of 2019 at a disciplinary alternative education program within Lubbock ISD with six students as a STEM/robotics education and behavioral intervention and has grown to include six sites in the spring of 2022. It explicitly incorporates social and emotional learning and cognitive behavioral techniques and strategies to support students beyond the STEM content. There have been marked improvements in student behavior, attitudes toward school, academic achievement, and future interest in both STEM and education. The program also provides undergraduate students, many studying to become teachers themselves, with an opportunity not found in many courses.

TTU Faculty Leader: Dr. Daniel Kelly, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, TTU College of Education

Community Partners: Lubbock ISD, High Point Village
Excellence in Engaged Research
Community Engagement Through Coral Reef Research Initiatives

Coral reefs are vital to healthy marine ecosystems but are in serious decline due to pollution, global warming, and other threats. This decline also has serious ecological consequences to communities that rely on tourism to coral reefs as a central source of income. To address this threat Dr. Stephanie Lockwood, Department of Biological Sciences at TTU at Waco began a multinational, study abroad undergraduate research program to engage students in coral reef research. In partnership with McLennan Community College and several Honduran organizations including the Roatan Institute for Marine Science and Roatan Marine Park, this initiative allows students to take an active hand in research and conservation, connecting the ocean to the classroom. This initiative aims to promote safe and sustainable means to preserve the rehabilitate the coral reefs in Honduras, as well as to help enrich the lives of the island youth.

TTU Faculty Leader: Dr. Stephanie Lockwood, Associate Professor of Practice, Dept. of Biological Sciences, TTU College of Arts and Sciences

Community Partners: McLennan Community College., Roatan Institute for Marine Science, Roatan Marine Park, SOL: International Foundation
Excellence in Engaged Creative Activity

Voices from the Vernacular Music Center: A podcast in Community Arts and Education

Voices from the Vernacular Music Center (VVMS) is a podcast that consists of 30 1-hour episodes about how, when, why, and with what impact people share music, dance, and culture. The project highlights how inclusive, collaborative, regionally and culturally informed programing creates high-quality, accessible resources for learners, teachers, and communities.

The project draws upon intellectual and human resources from across and beyond the Texas Tech system and the regions of the Southwest. The VMC has long-standing professional and organizational relationships with a range of advocacy organizations such as Balfolk, Lubbock, Roots Music Institute, the Country Dance and Song Society, the International Bagpipe Conference, and other international programs. All 30 episodes are available for all persons to stream for free.

TTU Faculty Leaders: Dr. Christopher Smith, Professor and Director of the Vernacular Music Center, School of Music, J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts; Dr. Roger Landes, Professor of Practice & Associate Director of the Vernacular Music Center, School of Music, J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts

Community Partners: Balfolk Lubbock, Roots Music Institute
Excellence in Engaged Service
Clinical Programs of the School of Law

The TTU School of Law’s Clinical Programs have, for the past 21 years, worked collaboratively with community partners to provide legal and professional services at no cost to those who would otherwise be financially unable to obtain such services. As a means of measurably increasing access to the legal system and the protection of basic human rights, collaborative partnerships have been developed between the Clinical Programs and various non-profit organizations and governmental entities to advance access to justice through leveraging additional resources for addressing the unmet need for services while, at the same time, providing experiential learning opportunities for law students.  Each of these clinics provides meaningful access to the courts and promotes more equitable treatment in the civil and criminal legal systems in Texas.  Students gain practical skills training under the close supervision of faculty.  In addition, participation in the Clinical Programs instills in law students a commitment to public service throughout their professional careers.  

Faculty Leaders: 
Larry Spain, J.D., Professor of Law, School of Law; Patrick Metze, J.D., Professor of Law, School of Law; Dwight McDonald, J.D., Clinical Instructor, School of Law; Terri Morgeson, J.D., Clinical Instructor, School of Law; Wendy Tolson Ross, J.D., Professor of Law, School of Law; Donnie Yandell, J.D., Clinical Instructor, School of Law; Alison Clayton, Adjunct Professor, School of Law; Gene Valentini, Adjunct Professor, School of Law; Marya Lujan, Outreach Coordinator, School of Law; Nancy Mojica, Senior Business Assistant, School of Law; Elma Moreno, Office Manager, School of Law; Lori Obando, Senior Business Assistant, Caprock Regional Public Defender Office

Community Partners: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Coalition of Community Assistance Volunteers, Office of Dispute Resolution, Texas Indigent Defense Commission, Lubbock Private Defenders Office
The 2022 President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award
Mental Health Screening and Prevention within Elementary Schools

An estimated 12 to 22% of children and adolescents meet criteria for a psychiatric disorder, and rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation/behavior among this age group have been rising sharply group over the last decade. Emerging evidence also suggests that the last two years of the global pandemic have taken a further toll on youth’s mental health. The unfortunate reality is that upwards of 50% of youth in need do not receive services, and of those that do, 50% terminate treatment early. Taken together, there is a pressing need for novel approaches to mental health screening as well as prevention and intervention.
Dr. John Cooley, a clinical child psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, developed partnerships with two elementary schools in Frenship Independent School District in April 2021. Following several meetings with school administrators, they developed a comprehensive, evidence-based child and teacher assessment to identify the mental health needs of the students in the third through fifth grade. Based on the assessment results, the team is now providing a group-based preventive intervention for these students lasting through April 2022. The plan is to continue and build on this work throughout the 2022-2023 school year. The program also provides opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to develop research skills and learn strategies for developing and maintaining effective community partnerships.

TTU Faculty Leader: Dr. John Cooley, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Community Partners: Frenship Independent School District, North Ridge Elementary School, Willow Bend Elementary School
President’s Exemplary Program Award
Texas Education Policy Fellowship Program (TX-EPFP)

Three TTU faculty members, Drs. Rebecca Hite, Jessica Gottlieb, and Jon McNaughtan, over three years have designed and implemented a nine-month in-depth community-engaged service program that recruits and professionally develops cohorts of mid-level leaders from across the state of Texas. The mission of the EPFP nationally and here at the Texas site is to expand participants’ knowledge of education policy, develop fellows’ situated skills in advocacy- based leadership, and help them cultivate new networks and connections among policy scholars, equity experts, and community leaders in education. Upon graduation, fellows are equipped, empowered, and engaged in improving problems of policy and practice in P-20 Texas education and beyond.

TTU Faculty Leaders: Dr. Rebecca Hite, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education; Dr. Jon McNaughtan, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Educational Psychology, Leadership & Counseling, College of Education; Dr. Jessica Gottlieb, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Education Psychology, Leadership & Counseling, College of Education

Community Partners: 
Mid-Level P-20 Texas Educators 
Networking and Professional Development Opportunities in Engaged Scholarship!

Texas Tech Outreach and Engagement Mentoring Network Launching! 

University Outreach and Engagement in collaboration with the Office of the Provost is in the process of establishing an Outreach and Engagement Mentoring Network.  A total of 100 faculty members responded to a survey that assessed the interest and need for the network back in December 2021.  Throughout the month of March, we conducted zoom meetings with the respondents to further identify their specific interests, desired structures for communication and interaction, as well as time commitments. Over the next two months, we will use the feedback received to flesh out plans to be able to launch the network on September 1. 

If you are interested in joining the network, contact Lindsay Rigney at


Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop:
A Pre-conference Event of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Annual Conference 

Application Deadline: April 30, 2022


This intensive professional development program provides advanced doctoral students and early career faculty with background literature, facilitated discussion, mentoring, and presentations designed to increase their knowledge and enhance their practice of community-engaged scholarship. Participation in the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop (EESW) is limited, and interested applicants must be nominated to be considered for this workshop.

This year's EESW takes place over two days, immediately before the Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference: Monday, September 19 & Tuesday, September 20, 2022. The theme of the conference this year is "The Impact of Engaged Scholarship: People, Purpose, and Passion" which takes place in Athens, Georgia at the University of Georgia.

Applicants for this program should be:

  • Graduate students or junior faculty members with an interest in community engagement and engaged scholarship, and
  • Involved or interested in research that contributes to their discipline while making a positive impact on external stakeholders or advancing the study of engaged scholarship.

Applicants must also demonstrate:

  • A desire for new learning about engaged scholarship,
  • An interest in working with faculty across disciplines to explore and learn more about how engaged scholarship might be carried out, and
  • The capacity to effectively communicate the results of their research to public, academic, and other external audiences.

Successful applicants will be expected to come to the workshop with an idea for an engaged scholarship project in mind. These projects will be discussed in the context of what is presented during the workshop. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and participate fully in activities of the program as well as the larger Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference.

Upon acceptance, participants will be asked to pay a $100 registration fee for the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop, in exchange for which they will be provided with admission to all sessions, materials, and meals during the Workshop, as well as free registration to the Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference (a $550 value). Participants are expected to pay for their own travel and lodging. (Please note: The $100 registration fee should not accompany your application. Successful applicants will be notified and provided with payment instructions.)

How to apply

  • Have your major professor/chair submit a nomination form.
  • Submit the EESW application.
  • Email your Research Brief to EESW chair, Timothy Shaffer, Associate Professor, Kansas State University (
    • In no more than five (5) double-spaced pages, outline a scholarly project you are working on or plan to work on that addresses a community-based issue and includes community partners, or studies engagement in higher education.
      • What do you want to do?
      • Problem statement
      • Significance of the problem
      • Research question(s)
      • How do you plan to do it?
      • Research design
      • Data to be collected
      • Methods for data collection
      • Participants/subjects
      • Are community members involved in designing and/or conducting this project? If so, how are they involved? If not, could they be involved? How?
TTU Outreach and Engagement Spotlight Event
The Terry and Jo Harvey Allen Center for Creative Studies 
"Three Women - Three Films!"

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Terry and Jo Harvey Allen Center for Creative Studies hosted “Three Women - Three Films” at Premiere Cinemas March 21st – 24th. This event featured the work of documentary filmmakers Anne Rapp, Sara Driver, and Tamara Saviano. The featured documentaries were Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, directed by Sara Driver, Horton Foote: The Road to Home, directed by Anne Rapp, and Without Getting Killed or Caught, directed by Tamara Saviano. Each evening concluded with a question-and-answer session with the director. The final evening consisted of a moderated discussion with Tamara Saviano, Anne Rapp, and Paul Hunton, director of TTU’s public television station (KTTZ). The discussion included topics such as obstacles faced by women in a historically male-dominated industry, decision making when it came to their subject matter, relationships forged in the process, and their unique journey to and in documentary filmmaking.

*The March 24th panel discussion recording will be available to view on the University Outreach and Engagement website later this summer.


Tech Terrace Raptor Day

On June 4, 2022, Professor Clint Boal will deliver a talk about Kite ecology at Tech Terrace Park, between 24th Street and Geneva Ave. He will discuss Kite migration, diet, semi-colonial nesting behavior, their existence in Lubbock, and why they occasionally become aggressive.

Dr. Boal, a professor with Texas Tech University's Department of Natural Resources Management and assistant leader of the USGS Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in Lubbock, is the recipient of the 2020 President's Award from the Raptor Research Foundation.

Spotting scopes and binoculars will be available to share with attendees to see Kites better when they are perched or to scope a nest to see adults/nestlings. In addition, Gail Barnes with the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be present and bring one of their captive Mississippi Kites for viewing. Students from Texas Techs wildlife program may present information about the program with a table set-up. This is an open air gathering.

The event is sponsored by the Tech Terrace UNIT Neighborhood Association. For more information contact Grant Gerlich: (478) 251 -2558,

We are inviting faculty and staff to submit their outreach and engagement activities for highlighting on the Engage at Tech Central Site. Simply complete the O&E Information Form to submit your information. 

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Feb 28, 2023