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K-State Today

March 29, 2016

Co-director of Imagining America to present on imagining possibilities April 4

Submitted by David Procter

Tim Eatman, associate professor of education and faculty co-director of Imagining America, will be a keynote speaker at A Day of Learning: Food Security Engagement Symposium. Eatman will present "Publicly Engaged Scholarship: The Power of Imagining" at the symposium Monday, April 4. K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Staley School of Leadership Studies will host the event to share ideas on addressing food security issues in our communities and around the world.

The goal of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life is to advance public engagement and scholarship in the areas of humanities, arts and design.

Eatman said Imagining America, a consortium of about 100 colleges and universities, began as an initiative, which was part of the White House Millennium Council, William J. Clinton: Executive Order 13072 .

"Its primary goal is to raise the profile and value of the cultural disciplines and the way they intersect with community engagement," Eatman said. "And we do that by placing special emphasis on the democratic purposes of our work as publicly engaged scholars."

Eatman said it's crucial for the arts and humanities to be engaged in their communities.

"There is a power that culture has, which facilitates to knowledge making," Eatman said. "People want work that pays but also matters. The humanities helps us think about richer, deeper aspects of the human condition … that we need for people to cultivate as they develop their identity as citizens."

A liberal arts education goes well beyond the classroom. Eatman said it encourages students to think about the kind of world they want to live in.

"We have the attention of these young people to get them to think in meaningful ways about the types of citizens that they want to become," Eatman said. "The university plays an important role in helping (the students) to … curate an identity that is worthy of the purpose that has been established for their lives. It's critical."

In his keynote address, Eatman will discuss the importance of publicly engaged scholarship, as well as Imagining America's goals and priorities.

"What we've seen in academia is largely a shrinking of imaginative possibilities," Eatman said. "So Imagining America is really calling into question how we need to expand and strengthen that imaginative possibility of transforming our society."

Liberal arts engagement within the community can additionally attend to the issues of social justice, Eatman said. He sees each aspect of public engagement working together, rather than separately.

"Community engagement, diversity activism and inclusion, and student success shouldn't be traveling along parallel tracks," Eatman said. "They ought to be in equal conversation to achieve the kinds of things that we want to in academia."

"A Day of Learning: Food Security Engagement Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for faculty, students and community partners to hear about current and innovative food security ideas as well as collaboratively imagining the possibilities for addressing hunger on our campus and in our communities," said David Procter, director of the Center for Engagement and Community Development.

The symposium is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President, the College of Agriculture, Kansas State Research and Extension, the Staley School of Leadership Studies, the communications and agricultural education department, the Center for Engagement and Community Development and Cox Brothers BBQ.


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