OSE Seeks Faculty Proposals for Engaged Learning Grants

OSE Seeks Faculty Proposals for Engaged Learning Grants

By Nick PrevenasUniversity Communications
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(Photo by Norma Jean Gargasz)
(Photo by Norma Jean Gargasz)

Students won't be the only ones taking advantage of the University of Arizona's newest engagement initiative. The surrounding community stands to benefit, as well.

The Office of Student Engagement is seeking proposals from UA faculty members interested in developing ongoing engaged learning opportunities that focus on community partnerships. Selected projects will receive up to $10,000 to support activities and build program infrastructure during the 2017-18 academic year.

"These programs are built with our students in mind to help solve that chicken-or-the-egg problem of how to acquire experience that employers seek in recruiting interns and employees, if a student had not yet had the opportunity to gain that experience through employment," said Abra McAndrew, assistant vice provost for student engagement at the UA. "Through these 100% Engagement opportunities, students gain experience with authentic challenges that have relevance beyond the campus."

For the first time in the program's three-year history, the OSE is partnering with the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. A total of $45,000 will be available, with $20,000 of that going toward projects that combine a community partnership activity with a sustainability component.

The Haury Program defines sustainability in both environmental and social connotations. A sustainable project can focus on land-use change, chemical pollution, climate change, water use or biodiversity loss, while maintaining a safe, just and inclusive space for humanity.

Through the exploration of issues from a sustainability perspective, students will seek to develop potential solutions to sustainability challenges – environmentally, socially and economically – both now and for future generations.

"The community partnership and sustainability components are a new emphasis of our funding for projects this year," McAndrew said. "We want to create an environment where our students apply what they learn in the classroom toward practical, tangible support of the community around them."

In previous years, the OSE has seen an "overwhelming" response for its calls for proposals, with only one-third of the projects submitted receiving funding, according to McAndrew.

Previous projects included a collaborative program that diversified Shakespeare, an effort to examine water, health and indigenous communities in Guatemala, and an assessment of positive changes in the food system of Tucson.

Proposals must be initiated by a UA faculty or staff member and must include a letter of support from the community partner detailing that partner's role in the program.

Proposals are due March 31. Winners will be notified by May 15, and the funds will transfer in June.

For more information, visit the Engaged Learning Grant website: http://ose.arizona.edu/faculty-staff/engaged-learning-grant-funding.

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