Purdue earns top institutional engaged leadership award

Purdue earns top institutional leadership award for engagement; described as a “stunning example of an institution that has, at the senior most level, acknowledged, recognized, and championed community engagement.”

At the 2022 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) annual conference, Purdue University was honored with the Ryan, Moser, Reilly Award for Excellence in Community Engagement Institutional Leadership. The award honors a broad commitment to community engagement, community engaged learning, and community engaged research across the institutions that are selected.

Purdue received the award on Sept. 22 at the University of Georgia in Athens and is, notably, the first award recipient external to the three founding universities. Steve Abel, Associate Provost of Engagement and Rod Williams, Assistant Provost for Engagement, represented Purdue University at the ESC conference. Abel said about the selection of Purdue for this honor, “It means the world to us. This is a tribute to everyone who has led engagement efforts for the past 21 years since our office was created. It’s a tribute to former Purdue President Martin Jischke and his vision for engagement at our university, to those who have directed our office, and above all, to the staff that enable us to have the depth and breadth of programming that’s deserving of recognition like this.”

When asked what led to the selection of Purdue for this recognition, Ryan Schmiesing, ESC Awards Committee chair and Senior Vice Provost of External Engagement at The Ohio State University, said Purdue is a “stunning example of an institution that has, at the senior most level, acknowledged, recognized, and championed community engagement.” Schmiesing said this is evident in the programs, organizational structure, and partnerships of Purdue, both across the institution and within the Office of Engagement and the Office of the Provost, and he feels this work is in Purdue’s DNA as a land grant institution.

Abel said he cannot think of engagement without thinking of the myriad programs in and around the Office of Engagement at Purdue. He cited the Office’s service-learning initiatives, the Purdue Center for Regional Development, and the newly announced Event Design Center as several standouts.

Abel and Schmiesing both described the critical importance of recognitions like the Ryan, Moser, Reilly Award in supporting those dedicated to engagement work. Schmiesing said that when an institution recognizes engagement work in any capacity, they reinforce the value of that work, validate its impact, and inspire future engagement and service-learning.

Abel shared what’s next for engagement at Purdue: an engagement network for Purdue faculty, staff, and students, and a scholarship of engagement graduate student certification. “We are building on our heritage,” said Abel, “with the expectation of leading the development of the next generation of engaged scholars.”

To learn more about the Purdue Office of Engagement, visit purdue.edu/engagement or contact engagement@purdue.edu.

A call for Engaged Scholarship Consortium proposals and nominations will open in early 2023. Visit engagementscholarship.org for updates.

The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization, is composed of higher education member institutions, a mix of state-public and private institutions. Their goal is to work collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship and designed to help build community capacity.

The Purdue University Office of Engagement connects the university with communities and individuals in partnerships to make the world a more equitable, resilient and prosperous place for all, at home and across the globe. The Office fosters reciprocal relationships with external partners, leveraging university resources in teaching, research and engagement to solve societal challenges.

Source: Kayla Vasilko