Campus...Community...Collaborate
A Newsletter from University Outreach and Engagement
Spring 2019

On April 10, Texas Tech hosted its 2019 Regional Engaged Scholarship Symposium at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. Close to 150 individuals attended the event, which featured three dozen break-out sessions showcasing innovative strategies and practices that integrate community engagement into teaching and learning, research, and creative activity. Presenters included faculty, staff, and graduate students from Texas Tech’s Colleges of Ag Sciences and Natural Resources, Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Honors, Human Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts.  Also represented were the University of Texas Rio Grande and Tarleton State University.   

Dr. KerryAnn O’Meara, Professor of Higher Education and Director of the ADVANCE Program at the University of Maryland, delivered the keynote address. A national expert on faculty careers, academic reward systems, and change strategies, Dr. O'Meara highlighted the need for “Equity-Minded Reform in Academic Reward Systems” which considers newer and diverse forms of scholarship, such as engaged scholarship. A one-hour follow-up session led by Dr. O’Meara allowed attendees to delve deeper into the topic and discuss challenges, opportunities, and strategies for including engaged scholarship in faculty tenure and promotion policies and practices. 

Note: Select the following links to view Dr. O’Meara’s PowerPoint presentation, resource materials, and the video recording of her talk. (TTU eRaider log-in username and password required):

We thank the following TTU units for their supportOffice of the Provost; Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation; Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center; Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences; and Innovation Hub at Research Park.
"What is Community-Engaged Scholarship?"
Academic Year 2018 Raiders Engaged Assessment Results are in!
In fall 2018, Texas Tech faculty and academic staff were again invited to report their outreach and engagement projects and activities from the previous academic year via the Raiders Engaged online survey. A total of 332 individuals participated in the annual survey, which constitutes a 30.31% increase compared to 2017. Submitted projects and activities covered the realms of teaching, research, creative activity, and service. The highest number of projects focused on K-12 education, followed by Community Development/ Arts/Culture/Civic Life. 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 AY’18, TTU faculty, staff, and students were involved in a total of 1,125 such partnerships.


 
The number of projects reported by TTU faculty and staff for AY'18 increased by 52.73% - from 952 to 1,454.  External funding generated from outreach and engagement projects reached $30.7 million. Slightly over 2 million individuals from communities in all 50 U.S. states and 89 countries were reported to have been impacted by the university’s engagement activities. This represents a 98% increase compared to data reported in AY'17. The number of K-12 students and teachers impacted by TTU outreach and engagement reached 354,585, a slight decrease compared to the previous academic year.
 

A big thank you goes out to all TTU faculty and staff who participated in the 2018 Raiders Engaged assessment, as the reported information provides the institution with pertinent data in support of its Strategic Priority to “transform lives and communities through strategic outreach and engaged scholarship.”  
2019 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards Recipients Honored
In 2018,Texas Tech University launched a new faculty awards program. The “President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award” is designed to recognize TTU faculty for a project or initiative that demonstrates significant and sustained commitment to addressing a community need or larger societal issue through active, mutually beneficial partnerships with communities. The award carries a monetary prize of $2,000 and recognizes up to two faculty-led engaged scholarship projects.

This year, another awards category was added. The “President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award” is designed to honor faculty who are at the early stages of a project or initiative that demonstrates high potential for the advancement of engaged scholarship while showing outstanding promise for significant impact on communities and the university.  It carries a monetary prize of $1,000 and recognizes one faculty-led project or initiative.

The 2019 awards recipients in both categories as well as an "exemplary program" category were recognized at the Regional Engaged Scholarship Symposium luncheon on April 10th, as well as at the Faculty Honors Convocation on April 17th. The following individuals and teams were honored for their leadership and commitment to engaged scholarship:
President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Awards
"Stakeholder Partnership to Impact Educational Services
for Children with Visual Impairments" 

 
 Rona Pogrund, Professor of Special Education, TTU College of Education 
A major concern in the field of education of students with visual impairments (who are primarily served by specialists who travel to local schools where the students attend) is how to determine the appropriate type and amount of service these students should receive. As a member of the Texas Action Committee for Education of Students with Visual Impairments, Dr. Rona Pogrund developed and led a subcommittee on Service Intensity comprised of representatives from Texas Tech University, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Regional Education Service Centers 4,10, and 11, local school districts, and Stephen F. Austin University to address this issue. The efforts of this collaborative group over multiple years led to the development and validation of two service intensity scales: the Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (VISSIT) for TVIs and the Orientation and Mobility Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (O&M VISSIT) for orientation and mobility specialists.  

The impact of this partnership on both the community and the university has been significant. The use of the scales by practitioners is changing the amount of services that children with visual impairments are now receiving across the United States. The engagement has created a research focus that has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at professional conferences and webinars at the state, national, and international levels. Former and current doctoral students have been involved as co-presenters and co-authors of the project. The tools are now introduced into courses in the sensory impairment programs at TTU and are required to be used during the internship phase of the programs. They have also become a part of other visual impairment personnel preparation programs in the state. Graduate students and teacher certification candidates are now leaving the program with the knowledge and experience of how to determine service intensity with their future students who are visually impaired.
"Scholarship to Ensure Multiple Aspects of Public Health Communities" 
 
Steven Presley, Professor and Chair, Environmental Toxicology, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Dr. Steve Presley and his research team have been consistently engaged with local, regional, and statewide public health and emergency response communities for more than sixteen years to address the perennial issue of human diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and other arthropods within the community. Community partners include the City of Lubbock, Lubbock County, the South Plains Association of Governments, and the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than thirty graduate students have been mentored through the program, each of them participating in collecting, identifying, and testing mosquitoes for various arboviruses, including the West Nile Virus. The data collected is shared with health authorities across the region and state to aid in their planning and response to emerging vector-borne disease outbreaks. It is also published in peer-reviewed journals.  Dr. Presley and many of his students have provided lectures and hands-on training to vector control technicians and public health authorities on mosquito biology and identification, as well as effective and newly developed mosquito collection and control technologies.
 
As a direct result of the various long-term collaborative relationships and partnerships with public health communities at the local, regional and statewide levels, Dr. Presley’s team has developed more efficient and effective arthropod vector collection and testing methodologies. They have also gained a greater capacity for conducting research to achieve better understanding of the environmental and anthropogenic factors that influence pathogen transmission and insecticide resistance in potential vector populations. The direct engagement with public health and emergency response communities has also led to dozens of media interviews and public service announcements related to emerging disease threats, mosquito and other arthropod transmitted diseases, as well as methods to protect against exposure to vector-borne diseases. Overall, the most significant impact has been an increased awareness and understanding of emerging and arthropod-borne zoonotic diseases in the region.
President's Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award
"Lubbock County Justice and Mental Health Collaborative" 
 
Lisa Gittner, Associate Professor of Political Sciences, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Nathaniel Wright, Assistant Professor of Political Sciences, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Jeff DennisAssistant Professor of Public Health, TTU Health Sciences Center
The Texas Criminal Justice System, without adequate equipment or personnel, increasingly provides care for individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). In Texas, 43% of inmates receive mental health treatment, and nearly 50% of the inmates in the Lubbock County Detention Center (LCDC) have a history of mental illness. Lubbock County serves as the regional hub for inmate detention in rural West Texas, serving a 250-mile radius. To address resource gaps in SMI care, Lubbock County Detention Center, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Starcare began collaborating in 2016. The partnership has expanded to twenty public and non-profit agencies including Sunrise Canyon, City of Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock Private Defenders Office, District Attorney's Office, Mental Health Court Docket, Adult Probation Office, UMC Hospital, VetStar and more. In 2017, the Justice and Mental Health Collaborative (JMHC) was formalized with the award of a “Category 1 - Collaborative Count Approaches to Reducing the Prevalence of Individuals with Serious Mental Illness in Jails” grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
 
JMHC’s goals are to build a collaborative infrastructure of criminal justice and mental health agencies for the West Texas region, develop information sharing and data analysis capacity for mental health data across agencies, and reduce individuals with SMI in the criminal justice system. The research objectives are to determine best practices for establishing community-university mental health partnerships; develop valid risk prediction and diversion success analytics; determine intervention points for individuals with mental health issues before criminal justice involvement; and develop a sustainability framework for the JMHC. The partnership has already assisted LCDC to more effectively evaluate its programs and services and document success. It has mobilized community resources for initiating and changing policies, programs, and practices surrounding serious mental illness in our local criminal justice system.
Exemplary Program Awards
"Regional Planning in Rockport" 
 
Melissa Currie, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture,  TTU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources          
Rockport, Texas, is the site of the August 25, 2017 landfall of Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm caused significant damage locally, with catastrophic rainfall totals across Houston and Southeast Texas. Many homes, businesses and crafts (boats and airplanes) across Aransas County were lost or significantly damaged. This included Rockport City Hall and Rockport-Fulton High School. “Regional Planning in Rockport” involved a university-community partnership between the 2018 Regional Planning Studio in the TTU Department of Landscape Architecture and the City of Rockport, Texas. Students acted as consultants to the City of Rockport, providing planning and design services that assisted in the city’s rebuilding process following the Hurricane. Early in the collaboration, city planner Amanda Torres expressed a desire to have a set of guidelines for low-impact development and green infrastructure that could be used by developers in current and future planning efforts. A charrette held in October 2018 with municipal and other leaders from involved community organizations provided a platform to express the community’s needs to the class. Areas prone to flooding, commercial development zones, special areas for preservation, and other important community assets were identified to highlight areas the class would focus on.
 
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and extreme flooding, are increasing not only in number, but also in magnitude or severity. They can no longer be thought of as the exception; but rather, the norm. These are community resilience issues that landscape architecture students must be prepared to tackle in their future careers. The Rockport project gave students experience in interacting with public officials, and created an enduring connection to the people and places for whom they were designing. Many students’ projects displayed a greater degree of thought, investigation, creativity, and sophistication than what was produced on previous assignments. The partnership provided students with a transformative educational experience where they applied knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems they will likely encounter in future careers as landscape architects.
"Sexism Cinema"
 
Allison Whitney, Associate Professor of Film & Media Studies, English, TTU College of Arts and Sciences
Elizabeth Sharp, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, TTU College of Human Sciences 
Dana WeiserAssistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, TTU College of Human Sciences
Don Lavigne, Associate Professor, Classics, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
Michael Borshuk, Associate Professor, English, TTU College of Arts and Sciences
Jessica Smith, PhD Candidate, English, TTU College of Arts and Sciences 
The Sexism|Cinema film series was created as a university-community partnership to explore sexism in film. It was developed in response to an incident that involved the circulation of two offensive pictures from a TTU fraternity party in September 2014. An interdisciplinary team of TTU faculty conceptualized this incident as a “paradox of catastrophe” in which a terrible situation was able to unify and stimulate activism. Recognizing the significant role that media plays in shaping cultural attitudes, beliefs, and social scripts with regard to gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, nationalities, and socio-economic class, the team decided to form the Sexism|Cinema Series in partnership with the Lubbock Alamo Drafthouse. The goal of the film series has been to examine inequities within films and the film industry at large. Faculty from Psychological Sciences; History; Theatre & Dance; English; Law; Community, Family, & Addiction Sciences; Critical Studies & Artistic Practice; Music; Art Education; Human Development & Family Studies; Classics; and Journalism & Creative Media Industries; as well as staff from the LGBTQIA office, Student Counseling, and the Center for Campus Life have served as speakers. Outside collaborations have also been fostered, including Mary Beltrán of UT-Austin and Andrea Wood of Arizona State University. Author Becky Aikman and film directors Sean Baker, Brigitta Wagner, and Julie Cohen have also participated.

Although the film series pre-dates Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, faculty have been able to capitalize on these timely conversations and discuss sexual violence, workplace sexual harassment, romance, heteronormativity, and racism through the lens of film. Many faculty members have incorporated Sexism|Cinema as part of their curriculum and extra credit opportunities. Student responses indicate that the series is challenging critical thinking about gender, sexuality, and race in an accessible and enjoyable manner. Two academic papers have been published, which reference Sexism|Cinema. Now in its 9th semester, the series has become a mainstay of both TTU and Alamo Drafthouse programming with over 1,500 students, faculty, staff, and community members attending. The partnership has fostered a space in the community where people come together, discuss, and challenge how gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and class are portrayed in movies. 
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Jan 13, 2020