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Center for Engagement and Community Development

Excellence in Engagement Awardees Announced

The Center for Engagement and Community Development is proud to announce the 2015 winners of the Excellence in Engagement Award. The award was established in 2011 and recognizes Kansas State Research and Extension and campus faculty initiatives that demonstrate innovative and/or sustained efforts in university/community engagement. Dr. Briana S. Nelson Goff was awarded for her work with military families.

Dr. Goff created the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families in 2009 with a mission to provide research, outreach, training, and clinical services programs. The programs address the complex effects of wartime service on the long-term health and well being of military personnel, veterans and their families.

Since 2009 the Institute has been awarded over 10 grants totaling more than $300,000 to: collect data in a study concerning military family relocation, create two online professional development courses through the K-State Global Campus, create an internship program between Fort Riley and K-State students, and provide annual community education programs.

The breadth of Dr. Goff’s work led her to engage with the following entities: The Kansas National Guard, Fort Riley, The United States Department of Defense, The United States Department of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Purdue University, and North Carolina State University.

“I recognize it is part of the land-grant mission and encompasses all that we do at K-State in many ways, but really working in ways that has a direct impact on the people we serve, both on campus and off, is really rewarding. It is incredibly rewarding—it sometimes takes a lot of tenacity and patience, because, like in our work, things are often always changing, with different people and different situations, but it is so worth it!”

Dr. Goff realizes that engaged work is really the only way to do work and encourages other faculty who may be hesitant to do more engaged work to jump in.

You can read the full proposal here.

The Staley School of Leadership Studies was awarded for their work with food security and leadership. The Staley School of Leadership Studies faculty and staff, in partnership with community members and organizations, have worked for over 10 years to develop a comprehensive curriculum and approach to educate and engage students about the challenges of food security. This has been done through work in the community and classroom integrated service learning from direct collection of canned goods to more advanced hunger advocacy work in the local community.

The Staley School of Leadership Studies engages over 1,000 students annually. They worked with the Flint Hills Breadbasket, Harvesters, and Friendship Meals in three separate K-State courses. The courses are designed and taught by the leadership staff to get students thinking more critically about food security and their places in the food space. One of the goals is to have students engage in direct community advocacy.

Lori Kniffin from the Staley School of Leadership Studies suggests that engaging students in a service-learning component creates a more tolerant environment.

“My students have been able to understand community in a different way. Many of them come from places where they were not involved in their community and struggle to understand their role in making communities better. I think this gives them experience and context for learning.”

You can read the full proposal here.