The community is our classroom - Scripps Howard Center for Civic


The community is our classroom - Scripps Howard Center for Civic
The community
is our classroom
stew·ard·ship (stü ‘ ərd ship) noun
1. The office and obligations of a steward; 2.
The conducting or supervising of something;
3. The careful and responsible management
of something entrusted to one’s care,
especially with respect to the principles or
needs of a community.
“The university embraces its regional
stewardship role as reflected in
its significant contribution to the
intellectual, social, economic, cultural
and civic vitality of the region and the
“Northern Kentucky University is the commonwealth’s only regional university
located in a major metropolitan area. The university values its role as an integral
part of the metropolitan region and recognizes the region as a powerful source of
knowledge and experience that can strengthen, enhance and enrich every aspect
of the university. Regional stewardship informs every dimension of the university’s
-Northern Kentucky University mission statement
Norse mascot Victor E. Viking is
a regular at sporting events, of
course. But you’ll also find him
at fundraisers, volunteer events
and other activities where NKU
students, faculty and staff are
giving back to the community.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
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is built into
the mission
It begins with a mission
statement that commits
NKU to regional
stewardship. That, in turn,
establishes a climate and
expectation of service
that takes many forms.
Students, faculty and staff
all embrace this mission
and work toward its
No single class, program
or initiative tells the whole
story. But together, they
underscore a commitment.
Some activities happen
outside the academic
structure. Perhaps a
sorority, fraternity or other
student organization
volunteers at a nonprofit.
Thousands of volunteer
hours are recorded by our
students every year.
Other examples are part of
NKU’s academic structure.
Service learning classes
and applied research lead
the pack in this category.
Still other examples are
more individualized,
with members of the
NKU family serving on
community boards and
Add them all together and
the sum of the parts is an
inspiring whole.
Students mend a fence at Spring
into Service, an annual volunteer
blitz during which students
tackle numerous community
improvement projects on a
Saturday morning in spring.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
101 examples
and counting
What is public engagement? For NKU, it is how we extend
the university beyond the campus boundaries for the mutual
benefit of our students and our community. learning still
occurs in a classroom, but deeper learning occurs when the
community is our classroom − when students learn by doing.
In this report, you’ll find essays on how NKU puts this idea into
practice along with 101 examples that bring our definition of
public engagement to life.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 3
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
a statue of a young abe lincoln stands on the grounds of NKU, a reminder that america’s brightest minds understood the importance of service and citizenship.
Breadth and depth
define engagement
NKU has made a
point of putting
an institutional
infrastructure in
place to support
regional stewardship,
with time, talent and
money dedicated
to strengthening
m p lE
here was a time, in the
not-so-distant past, when
universities were islands,
separated from the people and
life in the towns and cities that
surrounded them. Today, higher
education institutions are increasingly community partners where
students and faculty help solve
real-world problems and delve
into important local issues using
university resources and talent.
George Mehaffy has observed the
transition with an especially keen
interest. A key responsibility for
him at the American Association
of State Colleges and Universities,
where he is vice president for academic leadership and change, is to
monitor this trend and to support
its growth.
“Traditionally universities were
quite separate from the community, quite literally up on hills,” Dr.
Mehaffy said.
“Many were religious in nature
and not connected to daily life, but
were places to contemplate and
think. In the modern era, public
universities take their public
obligation seriously. They want
to serve their students, their community and their region.”
NKU has long been on AASCU’s
radar not only as a university
with a stated commitment to
public engagement – but also as a
university with a strategy to build
an institutional infrastructure to
translate the idea into action.
“It’s very rare in higher education
for people who have developed
the theory of a particular strategy
to be the same people who are in
a leadership position to carry it
out. NKU is an unusual example
of a leadership team that has
Film is a how-to guide to volunteering
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by Feoshia Henderson
The documentary “Humanity, I
Love You” debuted in December
with a campus screening. It is
the work of seniors Stephanie
Mathena and Kelsey Robinson,
who produced it as their capstone
project. The documentary follows
eight volunteers as they work
to rebuild a New Orleans home
that was severely damaged by
Hurricane Katrina. The project took
a full academic year and countless
hours to complete. Mathena and
Robinson are showing the film to
community groups in the hope
that it inspires viewers to help
the needy in New Orleans and to
volunteer closer to home as well.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 5
“i like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
i like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”
-Abraham Lincoln
Embedding public engagement
across the university is not automatic. Even with strategies and
procedures aligned, professors
must be persuaded every bit as
much as players must be persuaded to believe in a playbook.
Today, the Center for Integrative
Natural Science and Mathematics
(CINSAM) is a campus leader in
public engagement, but Gail Wells,
NKU’s vice president for academic
affairs and provost, remembers the
early days.
“Some scientists and
mathematicians wanted to
focus purely on research and
did not see the value of public
h NKU is a repeat honoree
on the President’s Higher
Education Community Service
Honor Roll. The Honor Roll
highlights colleges and
universities committed to
“solving community problems
and placing more students
on a lifelong path of civic
h In 2005, NKU was
selected as one of
13 universities to
advise the Carnegie
Foundation for
the Advancement
of Teaching on the
development of an elective
classification system based on
community engagement.
engagement. This soon changed
as several high-performing
faculty became involved in such
efforts as improving science
and mathematics education in
the P-12 schools, water quality
initiatives, brownfield work,
wetlands restoration, etc.,” Dr.
Wells said.
“It became clear that public
engagement can be rigorous, academically demanding and applied
research at its best, with high positive impact for our community.
The faculty and students working
on these projects had rich learning
experiences and provided great
benefit to the community. These
efforts have attracted millions of
dollars in funding, and they have
been cited as national models of
public engagement.”
That national notice is frequent at
academic conferences, in scholarly
h In 2006, NKU became one of
only 76 institutions nationwide
to receive such recognition by
the Carnegie Foundation, and
one of only 66 recognized for
both “curricular engagement”
and “outreach and partnerships.”
h Vice President Academic
Affairs and Provost Dr. Gail Wells
received the 2010 William
M. Plater Award for
Leadership in Civic
Engagement by the
American Association
of State Colleges and
Universities. The award
recognizes “the critical
role of the chief academic
officer in advancing the civic
mission of the campus.”
journals and on lists that recognize colleges and universities for
their public engagement work.
“NKU has been a leader and has
a continued interest in sharing knowledge as part of that
leadership,” said Maureen Curley,
president of the National Campus
The compact, a coalition of 1,100
colleges and universities united
around public engagement, has
an especially strong presence in
Kentucky, providing training,
grant support and networking for
22 member colleges and universities. Its statewide office is on the
NKU campus and NKU provides
administrative support. Curley
credits NKU President James C.
Votruba, who has served on both
the state and national boards, with
raising the compact’s status in
“That shows a huge commitment
to look beyond the school to see
the value of networking with colleges across the state,” Curley said.
NKU’s reputation for public
engagement has a direct benefit as a recruiting tool for top
faculty. Though a young university
(founded in 1968) and midsized
(2011 enrollment is 13,517 undergraduates and 1,615 graduate
students), NKU routinely attracts
professors who want to be part of
a place that has staked a claim on
campus/community collaboration.
The end result is an even stronger
commitment, as more champions
of public engagement join the
NKU ranks.
Daryl Harris, an associate professor of theater, joined the faculty
in 2003 in part because of NKU’s
Mayerson Student Philanthropy
Project, a program that incorporates grant-giving into 10 to 15
courses each year. He has built the
Mayerson components into some
of his theater classes, awarding,
for example, $1,000 to the Kincaid
Regional Theatre Company in
2010. Before awarding funds,
students must get to know the
applicants through interviews and
site visits.
“It’s a learning tool for students,”
Dr. Harris said.
“You have an exchange with
people off campus and learn some
life lessons that you cannot learn
in the classroom. It also exposes
others to what we offer at NKU
and the potential of a university
education that some might not get
Contest rewards writing excellence
their families, teachers and friends
to an awards ceremony, and their
submissions are published in a
chapbook (a pocket-sized booklet)
that is displayed in local public and
school libraries.
Northern Kentucky high school
students, the contest awards cash
prizes ($100 for first place, $75 for
second and $50 for third) to the
top entries in the poetry, fiction
and personal essay categories.
Winning writers are invited with
The Northern Kentucky Area High
School Creative Writing Contest is
an outreach program sponsored
by the Department of English that
seeks to foster a greater interest in
the literary arts and to recognize
student achievement. Open to all
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NKU’s framework begins with a
mission statement that calls for
“excellence in outreach and public
engagement.” The university’s
core values (listed on every faculty
and staff business card) include
“public engagement that advances
the progress of the region and
commonwealth.” Documents
for accreditation as well for the
strategic plan mention engagement prominently. Job postings
call on applicants to be committed
to community service. The faculty
handbook values service for promotion, retention and tenure –a
provision that gives professors the
go-ahead to invest time and effort
in teaching and scholarship that
connect NKU to the community.
Add to those the university’s home
page, where a news blog features
at least one example per week of
NKU’s public engagement
Known in the nation
developed a framework that they
not only are able to write about
but are also actually able to put
into practice,” Dr. Mehaffy said.
2012 Public Engagement Report
Putting an
on P-12
an area of emphasis for NKU’s
public engagement is elementary
and secondary education.
hen it comes to
collaboration with
primary and secondary education, Northern Kentucky
University’s public engagement
is an intended consequence. “We
will,” NKU’s strategic plan asserts,
“deepen our regional commitment
to P-12 education.”
By name, those four NKU examples are the Museum Without
Walls, Upward Bound, KYOTE
and the Early Childhood Education Database. What they represent
is an array of P-12 collaborations
between NKU and the school
districts in the university’s service
In practice, that means when a
challenge rises from within the
P-12 arena, NKU is a ready partner
in fashioning a solution.
“Of all of the institutions I have
seen in Kentucky and elsewhere,
I think we have the best working
relationships with our districts,”
said Dr. Mark Wasicsko, dean of
NKU’s College Education and Human Services.
• Problem: Limited time, money
and transportation keep many
elementary and secondary teachers
from taking their students on field
trips to local museums. Solution:
Create virtual field trips online
that bring the museum to the
• Problem: Young people in
families without a parent or sibling
who has attended college lack role
models and see higher education
as beyond their reach. Solution:
Provide a program to support
college preparation for high school
students who might otherwise
miss the opportunity for higher
• Problem: Many high school
seniors lack the math skills to succeed in college. Solution: Intervene
quickly with testing to benchmark
the students’ standing, a curriculum to advance their learning, follow-up testing to confirm
progress and, finally, guaranteed
placement in a college math class
for those whose skills improve.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Geared to gifted and talented students in grades K-8, the ExploreMore! Enrichment Program
offers a broad range of courses in science, art, math and more.
m p lE
The inventory includes support for
afterschool programming; professional development; online portals
for curricular resources; databases
for tracking regional progress;
summer camps with academic
missions; college credit courses
available to qualifying high school
students; and some two dozen
centers that have P-12 support as
at least one of their goals.
Among the targets of NKU’s P-12
public engagement are students
not on track for college – with the
goal of getting them on track, as
Upward Bound does. Doors open.
The impossible seems possible.
“I’ve seen sophomores who didn’t
think they’d be able to write a
research paper and present it
publicly, realizing that they could,
and even using some of that
research in their entry level col-
Doctoral students work in stewardship teams
En ag
• Problem: Schools and agencies working in early childhood
development collect a lot of data
but don’t store the results in one
place. Solution: Build a passwordprotected, online database that
stakeholders can access from any
computer to find numbers and
analysis crucial to continuous
The emphasis on P-12 is inescapably evident in any review of public engagement at NKU. The list
of efforts is long and diverse, with
many directed toward the STEM
disciplines of science, technology,
engineering and mathematics.
But the arts are well-represented,
too, with history fairs, creative
writing workshops and a music
prep program that features choirs
and orchestras for elementary and
secondary students.
Service is built into the curriculum
for students seeking a doctoral
degree in educational leadership.
That’s part of an NKU strategy to
assure that public engagement
is valued by graduates who have
or will have classrooms of their
own in our region’s primary and
secondary schools. How the
graduate students meet the
service requirement is where their
creativity comes into play. One
group of students partnered with
a community agency, the Brighton
Center, that serves inner-city
families in Newport. The students
created the Artistic Expression
Program, a monthly event giving
at-risk young adults an opportunity
to express themselves through art. Northern Kentucky University | Page 7
“We’ll nurture young P-12 talent and support the
strengthening of P-12 education. We’ll prepare collegiate talent in
fields important to the region and state.”
-Dr. James C. Votruba, NKU president
lege classes years later,” said Eric
Brose, Upward Bound’s director.
“I’ve seen secondary students
who didn’t think they’d be able to
spend weeks away from home in
the summer but finding that they
could, and that they could create a
supportive and ambitious academic world for themselves.”
The School-Based
Scholars program
allows high school
students to take
NKU college classes
prior to high school
graduation. These
students are at
Dixie Heights High
School in Crestview
Hills, where some
of the classes are
professionals at NKU supporting initiatives like Success by
6, our region would not have a
kindergarten readiness definition
and therefore I doubt the state
would have one,” Williams said.
“The state modeled Northern
Kentucky’s definition, and NKU
faculty served on the committee
that drafted the state definition.”
Much of the effort is geared
toward drawing students who will be the
first in their families
to attend college – a
a priority
social reality in both
h NKU completed
the urban and rural
a strategic planning
parts of the region
process in 2007 that
served by NKU.
set goals through
Informed by research
that shows such efh Among the goals:
forts must start early
Collaborate with
to succeed, one of
P-12 educators to
NKU’s most frequent
enhance student
focus areas is early
performance and
prepare our region’s
childhood education.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
• Financial aid: The Promise
Program covers tuition, fees and
books for students who are recent
graduates from Covington and
Newport. Its goal is to remove any
financial barriers for academically
prepared students.
While many programs involve
the use of NKU resources on
behalf of community partners,
the metaphor that most defines
NKU’s P-12 collaborations is a
two-way street. NKU gives, but it
also receives. Schools, for example,
provide countless opportunities
for NKU’s education majors by
being in the classroom for practicums and student teaching.
No one sees the mutual advantage
more than Dean of Education
“There has never been a request
from me for assistance from a
local district that has not been received with positivism and sincere
interest to help,” Dr. Wasicsko said.
“I have tried to reciprocate at any
Summer camps bring young learners to campus
on activities to explore planets
and constellations. They gain an
understanding of spectroscopy
and use of the scientific method.
And as camp wraps up, they try out
their newfound knowledge in an
astronomy game show.
Camp, Math and Statistics Camp,
and Ohio River Ecology and
Applied Research Camp. Each
is designed to include active
learning. At Astronomy Camp,
for example, students in grades
6 through 8 engage in hands-
NKU has developed a series of
summer camps for elementary and
secondary students. These include
Astronomy Camp, Emerging
Technology Camp, English
Language Learners Camp, Fun with
Science Camp, Java Computing
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part of the Urban District Preparedness Program.
Another notable
collaboration is the
Strive Partnership,
a comprehensive
effort to work toward
academic success for
every child in the
region’s three urban
school districts: Cincinnati, Covington
and Newport. Strive’s
approach is at both
ends of the P-12
scale, with programs
students for college.
targeted toward
“All of the work done
kindergarten on one
by NKU is impresend and programs
sive, but I have to
smoothing the transition from
say I believe the work of the early
high school to higher ed on the
childhood faculty has transformed
how providers, educators, and
Among the Strive initiatives with
community partners in the early
direct ties to NKU:
childhood world work together
and support early learners,”
• College readiness: NKU develsaid Kara Clark Williams, vice
oped the implementation and
president for strategic initiatives at
evaluation plans for the Newport/
Vision 2015, a regional planning
Covington Collaborative, which
agency that identifies educaprovides essential teacher training
tion and economic development
in college readiness assessments.
among its focus areas.
• Teacher recruitment: NKU is
She specifically cites NKU’s work
one of several partners drawing
on Success by 6, a national proon best-practice approaches from
gram supported by United Way.
other cities to prepare and place
top teachers in urban settings as
“Without the early childhood
NKU biology student Rebecca Ortwein,
left, instructs high school students from
the Greater Cincinnati region in fish
identification while aboard a boat on
the Ohio River, where they attended
NKU’s Fun with Science Camp for
English language learners.
NKU photo
Service learning
is a win-win
For students, lessons come to life with real-world applications. For community
partners, the ‘deliverables’ include websites, photos, marketing plans and more.
by claire Higgins
t’s easy enough to put a drop
of river water on a slide, slip
it under a microscope and
instruct students to look closely to
see what they can identify.
With a textbook nearby to show
what’s what, the students might
see something that looks like
a hairy, oblong pill swimming
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These days, she’s taking that approach a step further. First, she
teaches her Northern Kentucky
University students the skills they
need in the field. Next, she asks
them to teach high school students
those same skills. They do it
aboard a boat on the Ohio River.
Biology has been taught this way
for generations. It works well
enough. But Miriam Kannan’s
approach is a little different. She’d
rather take her students to the field
and let them collect water samples, “We’re using the river as a hook
to draw students to the STEM
then break out the microscopes
disciplines,” Dr. Kannan said,
and Petri dishes on the spot.
using the popular acronym for
science, technology, engineering
and mathematics. “We do physics,
we do chemistry, we do biology –
showing them that science is fun.”
The classes are part of a weeklong summer camp for English
language learners called Fun with
Science and operated by NKU’s
Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics (CINSAM),
Nursing students prep for demographic shift
En ag
among other hairy, oblong pills. If
so, they’ve spotted trouble: E. coli,
a bacterial indicator of sewage.
The Hispanic population is
growing dramatically in most
Kentucky counties. Aware of the
trend, NKU’s College of Health
Professions joined with the
Kentucky Institute for International
Studies (a consortium of colleges
and universities) to send nursing
students to Mexico to observe
and work at clinics and hospitals.
Eleven NKU students went to
Mérida, Yucatán, for five weeks in
2011, the program’s fourth summer
trip. The students live with local
families and eat local food. “I am
convinced that this experience
will help to improve the health of
Hispanic clients in this region,” said
NKU Professor Adele Dean, who
works with the program.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 9
“What they are learning has so
much more meaning when they
can see the value of it to their
community rather than just the dry
learning from a book. and it sticks
with them longer.”
Biology Professor
Miriam Kannan was
NKU’s 2011 Frank
Sinton Milburn
Outstanding Professor
of the Year, an award
given for her research
and her public
-Dr. Miriam Kannan, NKU professor of biology
NKU photo
The camp is part of a larger NKU
initiative, the Ohio River STEM
Institute, designed to use the river
as a classroom for high school
and college students. Scratch the
surface of the institute’s programming and you’ll quickly find
a pedagogy known as service
learning that began to find its
way into higher education in the
1970s. NKU was an early adaptor,
and Dr. Kannan is a committed
h This definition, derived from peer-reviewed research on service
learning, was adopted by NKU in January 2006 in order to set a
standard for what is and isn’t service learning at NKU. Establishing
a definition sent a message that the university values service as an
academic component of the classroom.
Every academic year, NKU teaches
more than 100 service learning
classes with about 2,000 students
enrolled. These are not classes in
which students simply volunteer.
Their service experience must,
by NKU’s parameters, “directly
and explicitly link to the course
learning objectives.” For the science camp, NKU students enroll
in a class taught by Dr. Kannan, a
biologist at NKU for more than 30
years with a national reputation
for her research. By the time camp
rolls around, the NKU students
h Service learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational
experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service
activity that meets a community need and (b) reflect upon their
service activity as a means of gaining a deeper understanding
of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, an
enhanced sense of civic responsibility, and/or a greater interest in
and understanding of community life.
are ready to teach what they’ve
learned. Information gathered by
the camps’ students about water
quality is shared with another
community partner, ORSANCO,
an interstate commission that
monitors Ohio River pollution.
Eventually, the data will be posted
online for site called “River on the
Web,” or ROW.
Although the variety of classes
taught as service learning varies,
certain principles don’t. Service
learning involves collaboration
between classes and community
partners, with benefit to both. The
classes get the opportunity for applied learning; the partners get deliverables. Web design classes have
designed websites for nonprofits.
Photography classes have provided
a portfolio of images for brochures
and other marketing materials.
Public history classes have created
museum exhibits. The list goes on.
NKU also encourages professors
who teach service learning classes
to make presentations at academic
conferences and to write for academic journals, which are compiling an increasing body of evidence
that service learning is one of the
most effective ways to teach.
For those who wonder why a university should bother with service
learning, Dr. Kannan has a ready
answer: “What they are learning
has so much more meaning when
they can see the value of it to their
community rather than just the
dry learning from a book. And it
sticks with them longer.”
The service doesn’t replace lec-
tures, textbooks, homework, tests
or other traditional learning tools;
it is, instead, an added tool, and
in many professors’ estimation,
a power tool at that. As another
NKU professor, Missy Jones,
puts it: “Service learning makes
connections between theory and
She builds service learning into
her special education class, EDS
364, Characteristics of Learning
and Behavior Disorders. During
the semester, learning disabled
students from local high schools
visit NKU to explore life on a
college campus. The visitors are
mentored by Dr. Jones’s students,
who guide them through activities
of self-discovery and goal setting.
Many would not have thought
of college as an option; but in
the four years that Dr. Jones has
taught the class, four students have
decided to enroll at NKU.
As is typical for service learning,
Dr. Jones requires a reflection
paper. “Students have to think
about what this means for them in
their profession, as people, what
changes are going to happen as a
result of this, even commit to this.
It’s almost a contract to themselves.” Dr. Jones said.
Clown school PR campaign was serious business
to pass along the clowning arts.
He was less qualified to design a
PR strategy. Enter Dr. De Blasio’s
students – who found a little mojo
of their own by applying classroom
learning to a real-world challenge.
big-top skills while also teaching
self-confidence and creativity to
kids who would find their mojo
through the circus arts. With a
college degree in drama and a
higher hilarity degree from clown
college, Miller was plenty qualified
Professor Greg De Blasio’s public
relations class picks a client
each semester and creates a PR
plan. A recent client was Circus
Mojo, a storefront school located
in Ludlow. Former clown Paul
Miller started the school to teach
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Defining service learning at NKU
which works with the region’s
primary and secondary schools to
advance the teaching of math and
science. Another NKU partner, the
Office of Latino Student Affairs, is
deeply involved, too, as is the Center for Applied Informatics, which
designs web components.
2012 Public Engagement Report
The community
giving board of
Toyota motor
Engineering and
North america
listens closely
as NKU students
recommended how
to allocate $60,000
to nonprofits
seeking Toyota
Aly Durrett/NKU
Student philanthropy changes
lives in and out of class
after more than a
decade as part of the
university’s course
offerings, NKU’s highly
regarded ‘mayerson’
classes are marquee
examples of service
learning. Students have
distributed thousands
of dollars to dozens
of nonprofits. along
the way, they’ve
learned lasting lessons
about community
m p lE
n Julie Olberding’s fall semester class at Northern Kentucky
University, she gave her graduate students an unusual goal: help
Toyota Motor Engineering and
Manufacturing North America
allocate money. Quite a bit of
money, actually.
The class, part of the university’s
growing Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project, analyzed grant
applications received by Toyota
and advised the company on how
to distribute more than $60,000.
Although the company’s board
had the final say in distribution,
many of the students’ recommen-
dations were approved – sometimes with changes to the amount
the nonprofit would receive based
on Toyota’s available resources.
asked, ‘Can I volunteer for Jobs
for Cincinnati Grads? I went there
and I’m amazed by the work they
do,’ ” Dr. Olberding
said. “It’s wonderful. Students go
through, and they
This story was originally
find a match and an
published in December 2011
organization that
in Soapbox Cincinnati, an
fits their interests.”
online news magazine focusing
Since starting the
program more
than a decade ago,
NKU has found
that when students
on creativity and innovation
take a class and
At a recent awards
in Cincinnati and Northern
participate in givKentucky. It is reprinted here
ceremony, Dr.
with permission.
ing, they are more
Olberding said, four
likely to continue
executive directors
the behavior. They
of nonprofits which
tend to donate, to volunteer and
were receiving Mayerson Awards
even to serve on nonprofit boards. were former project students. “It
“This semester, before class ended, was really inspiring,” she said.
one student raised a hand and
Working with Toyota was part
Magnets celebrate Norse Pride and a cause
En ag
by taylor Dungjen
They are starting to show up on
bumpers around town: fourby-six inch ovals that proclaim
Norse Pride. The magnets were
the brainchild Joe Graf, an NKU
graduate student in the Master of
Public Administration program,
which prepares students for jobs
with nonprofits and government
service. The magnets are $5 each,
with proceeds going into a student
philanthropy funding pool. Off the
bat, the magnets accounted for
$700. Order a magnet by calling
(859) 572-1448. Or mail $5.50
(includes shipping and handling)
along with your name and address
to the NKU Scripps Howard Center
for Civic Engagement, Founders
Hall 536, Highland Heights, KY
Northern Kentucky University | Page 11
“i learned there are a lot of nonprofit organizations out
there that want to help people in our community live better lives.”
-Student in ENG 344, a Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project class
Measurable impacts
h Total direct investment since the Mayerson
Student Philanthropy Project’s inception
h Nonprofit programs to receive funding
from NKU classes over the past 11 years
h Students who have taken student
philanthropy classes at NKU
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
at the end of each semester, student philanthropy classes award checks to the nonprofits they’ve selected. The ceremony is always a time for hugs and smiles.
“One thing that is amazing about
it to me is to see the change in
individuals and how they see their
ability to make an impact on the
world,” Dr. Olberding said.
“NKU students are middle
income mostly, lower income,
sometimes first-generation college
students, and so they’ve said on
evaluations, ‘I didn’t think I could
make a difference. I’m one person.
I’m not a millionaire, but this
program has made me realize every little bit helps and my little bit
can help change a person’s life.’ ”
UPDATE: NKU has nine Mayerson Student
Philanthropy Project Classes for the Spring
2012 semester. They are in six disciplines:
social work, history, Spanish, communication,
English and organizational leadership. NKU
adds student philanthropy to at least one new
discipline each year.
Learning to give
has a lasting impact
Do the lessons of student philanthropy last after graduation? In a
word, yes.
Political Science Professor Julie
Olberding found that 86 percent
of the alumni of Northern
Kentucky University’s student
philanthropy classes had recently
made charitable contributions,
71 percent reported volunteering
and 15 percent served on nonprofit boards − higher percentages than national averages for
those behaviors.
Her research, titled “Does Student
Philanthropy Work? A Study of
Long-term Effects of the ‘Learning by Giving’ Approach,” will be
published in an upcoming issue
of Innovative Higher Education,
a peer-reviewed journal that
focuses on innovations and new
ideas in higher education.
Dr. Olberding, who teaches student philanthropy classes at the
graduate level, collected quantitative and qualitative data that let
her see that the overall impact on
alumni was a positive one.
“The experience empowers individuals who may have thought
that the world’s problems were
too big and beyond them,” Dr.
Olberding said. “But once they
engage locally and see they can
make a difference, then they want
to do more.”
Student letters raised money for nonprofits
doubling the pool. The classes
awarded the money to the Literacy
Network of Greater Cincinnati, the
Mathis Foundation for Children,
the Music Resource Center and
New Beginnings Family Services.
raised the money? Writing letters
to family and friends to seek small
donations, students raised $1,500
during the Spring 2011 semester.
The Fall 2011 class raised $1,525.
The Scripps Howard Foundation
in Cincinnati matched that –
For most student philanthropy
classes, outside donors give NKU
the money that the classes in turn
award to nonprofits. Jeff Fox, who
teaches CMST 340: Strategies
of Persuasion, wanted to try a
different way. What if his students
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There have been other classes
in which the students have been
tasked with raising the funds for
the giving. The class starts with no
money and has to devise a fundraising campaign. One class did
letter writing, bringing in about
$1,500. The Scripps Howard
center then matched it with funds
from outside donors.
of “indirect giving,” meaning
the students couldn’t directly
give money to an organization.
Students in other classes, however,
have participated in direct giving.
The class can span any discipline
and typically includes $2,000
provided by a third-party donor
which can be given to one program or split equally between two.
Students “investigate a need and
determine what nonprofits meet
the need,” said Mark Neikirk, director of NKU’s Scripps Howard
Center for Civic Engagement,
where the student philanthropy
program is headquartered.
2012 Public Engagement Report
It’s a holiday tradition at NKU for the president to read to children at the W. Frank Steely Library. The little ones are from the nearby Early
Childhood Center. With President Votruba is Provost Gail Wells.
When NKU hired Dr. James C. Votruba as its fourth president, he already
had established a reputation as a leader in the national movement to
elevate public engagement in higher education. Now, as he prepares
to retire and step back into the classroom where his devotion to public
engagement was first nurtured, he reflects on why campus-community
collaborations are indispensable.
From your first day at
NKU, you made public
engagement a signature strategy of your presidency. Why?
American public higher
education has always been
deeply invested in advancing
national and community progress. Before coming to NKU, I
was involved in leading Michigan State University’s efforts to
support Michigan’s progress in
the areas of economic development, P-12 education enhancement, improved healthcare
delivery and a host of other
public priorities.
What this taught me is that, if
a university invests itself in the
hopes and aspirations of the
larger public whom we serve,
benefits will accrue to both
the public and the university
itself. This principle has been
demonstrated over and over
again over the past fifteen years
as NKU has become a full
partner in advancing regional
progress and, in return, we have
received enormous public affirmation and support.
What would you say to
someone who sees public
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
With the proceeds
from his book, the
President did more
than just talk about
h Published in 2010 by
Jossey-Bass, “Becoming
an Engaged Campus”
is a how-to book for
colleges looking to
institutionalize public
engagement. Its
authors were NKU
President James
Votruba, Provost Gail Wells and
Special Projects Director Carole
Beere – three nationally recognized
champions of public engagement.
Not only did their book elevate
NKU’s profile as a campus where
public engagement is valued, it also
is providing a revenue stream for
student philanthropy classes. All
proceeds from sales were directed
to the classes. The first check was
for $1,461.08. Over the next year,
students will invest the money
in local nonprofits they select for
maximum impact.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 13
-Dr. Gail Wells, NKU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
engagement in the classroom as an “extra”
that interferes with rigor and detracts from
core content?
Public engagement should complement the core teaching mission of
a campus like NKU. This occurs through
involving faculty and students in real-world
problem solving which not only benefits
the public but deepens faculty and student
understanding of the world.
In order for public engagement to contribute to a student’s education, it must have a
reflective as well as action component. Public
engagement involves analyzing complex
problems, determining appropriate solutions,
and then working with partners to implement thoughtful strategies. This process is
applicable to problem solving in any setting.
We have hundreds of undergraduate students
who each year become involved in community-based problem solving and, in the process,
deepen their understanding of themselves
and their field of study.
How unique is Northern in placing an
emphasis on public engagement?
Many universities across the nation
are involved in public engagement.
However, in most cases this work exists on
the periphery rather than as part of the core
university mission. What distinguished NKU
both in 1997 and today is our treatment of
public engagement as a core element of our
academic mission.
This means that every college and every
department is involved in this work. In addition, we have made sure that the campus
is organizationally aligned to support public
engagement work. We describe this as weaving public engagement into the fabric of the
campus at every level. Today, NKU stands
as a national model for this work and the
creation of an organizational environment
that supports it.
Many argue that we must teach differently to a generation that grew up
texting, Googling and gaming. Is there a
role for public engagement in crossing that
“digital divide” to reach a generation of
high-tech multitaskers?
Students today expect to learn anything, anytime, anyplace. They are active learners who want the freedom to create
learning communities of likeminded people,
sometimes using technology that allows such
communities to be virtual.
Public engagement involves active learning. It involves collaborative effort. And it
often is enriched through the application of
technology to connect people to each other
and to knowledge resources that would
otherwise not be accessible. Today, information technology enriches every aspect of our
lives and every dimension of our educational
mission, including public engagement.
Is there a story or instance that stands
out for you from your time at NKU
when you saw public engagement do exactly
what you hoped it would do?
This is a difficult question to answer.
Over the past fifteen years, there have
been hundreds of public engagement efforts
that have had a significant impact on both
our students and our community. However,
let me highlight three efforts that I believe
represent the strength and diversity of our
engagement efforts.
The first is our Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project which involves hundreds of
undergraduate students in studying and then
making investments in community nonprofit
organizations. Over the past ten years, this
project has demonstrated what a powerful
pedagogic tool student philanthropy can be.
The second is our Kentucky Center for
Mathematics which is making a significant
and measurable impact on P-12 mathematics
performance through the application of best
teaching practices in school settings throughout Kentucky’s 120 counties.
The third is the College of Informatic’s Center for Applied Informatics which involves
faculty and undergraduate students in the
application of information technology to
advance economic competitiveness.
As NKU’s vice president for academic affairs and
provost, Dr. Gail Wells is the university’s chief
academic officer. She offers her insights on the
return on investment for students, faculty and
the community.
h “Students report significant benefits from
taking part in service learning, engaged research
in the community and volunteerism. Such
learning engages student’s minds and hearts, and
they are often willing to spend increased time on
task because they are quite motivated by such
learning opportunities. The learning is deeper
when students are actively engaged and can see
firsthand the results of their work.
h “The research indicates that student
engagement is positively associated with
persistence in college, development of leadership
skills, commitment to diversity, development of
critical thinking skills, and a greater likelihood of
becoming active citizens after graduation. Many
students discover that community engagement
activities are beneficial as they pursue
employment or applications for further study.”
h “Faculty are eager to provide better learning
experiences for their students and discover that
involving their classes in public engagement
profoundly enriches the learning environment. Engagement with the community often
influences the curriculum and helps faculty
keep the curriculum current, provides powerful
examples for use in the classroom, involves
the students in active, real-world learning
experiences and energizes both faculty and
students. h “Public engagement also generates new
research, publication and grant opportunities. In addition, engagement often results in a sense
of satisfaction and the knowledge that through
their expertise they and their students have
made a real difference in their community.”
h “The community benefits by having access to
faculty and student expertise as together they
work for the common good. It is sometimes
possible to attract grants or other external
funding when communities and universities
partner. Perhaps, most importantly, communities
benefit when universities produce graduates
who genuinely care about their communities
and are prepared to be good citizens committed
to working collaboratively to meet the needs of
their region.”
Young researcher learned public health by doing it
undergraduate research fellowship
awarded jointly by NKU’s Honors
Program and the Scripps Howard
Center for Civic Engagement. The
fellowships – launched in 2010 –
encourage students to engage in
community-valued applied research.
Head Start staff and parents, leading
to incomplete medical forms. She
developed training for parents that
emphasized the importance of being
involved in their children’s activities
and healthcare. Sams’ research and
field work were supported by an
Meryl Sams, a 2011 graduate from
Lakeside Park, worked in Newport
with Head Start, a program focused
on improving the health and
education of low-income children.
Sams, a nursing major, found a
communication breakdown between
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their public engagement work.”
engagement’s R.O.I.
“Students are often transformed by
“nKu graduates
excel in their
chosen fields,
whether business
or biology, English
or engineering,
nursing or new
media. but they
also excel at
citizenship. that’s
on purpose.”
-Mark Neikirk, executive director, Scripps Howard Center for
Civic Engagement
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear greets students at a Northern Kentucky Forum, held at the NKU Student Union,
where he answered questions during a town-hall style event.
Center connects
campus, community
programming is rooted in parallel themes: citizenship and stewardship
early all of the 30-plus
centers and institutes at
Northern Kentucky University have public engagement as
part of their missions. But for one,
the Scripps Howard Center for
Civic Engagement, it’s the central
With every program or project,
the center is looking for a way
to strengthen the commitment
among NKU’s students to being
good citizens and good community stewards.
“On the stewardship side, that
may mean serving on a nonprofit
board, donating to community
needs or leading a volunteer effort. On the citizenship side, it
means knowing what’s going on
in Frankfort, Washington and the
world – and how to have an effective voice in public affairs.”
“The goal is straightforward: that
when our students graduate, they
The center was launched in 2003
with a gift from the Scripps How-
ard Foundation in Cincinnati. As
the charitable affiliate of the E.W.
Scripps Company, the newspaper and television corporation
whose motto is “Give light and the
people will find their own way,”
the foundation had a particular
interest in civic affairs and the
idea that a democracy, to work
well, requires engaged, educated
“So we started a conversation
about what we wanted our
involvement to be and what such
a project would look like, and
from those discussions came
the Scripps Howard Center for
Civic Engagement,” recalled Judith
Clabes, the retired president and
CEO of the foundation.
In the early days, hosting speakers
on public policy and coordinating
voter registration drives led the
center’s agenda – customary programming for a center with “civic
engagement” in its name. While
those remain, the center’s programming today has evolved into
a wider set of offerings to bolster
stewardship and citizenship:
• Stewardship: The center is often
the starting point when a nonprofit is looking to connect with
Turning a wetland into a learning lab
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leave here with a sense of responsibility to the place where they
live, and the skills to act on that
calling,” said Mark Neikirk, the
center’s executive director.
On 100 acres owned by the Sisters
of Divine Providence in Melbourne,
NKU’s biological sciences faculty
and students are working with
partners to turn a rare wetland
into a living lab for ecological
study. The St. Anne Wetlands
Research and Education Center
includes a 3,500-foot, self-guided
trail, complete with interpretive
kiosks. The NKU team conducts
research at the site and has
designed teaching tools for P-12
and higher education, including
a website. Other partners include
NKU’s Center for Applied Ecology,
the Campbell County Conservation
District, LaFarge Industries, the
Boy Scouts, Thomas More College,
Xavier University and the Kentucky
Cooperative Extension Service.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 15
Alongside the stewardship and
citizenship efforts, the center is
playing a role in expanding what
President James C. Votruba has
described as NKU’s “public intellectual” obligation. That role is
best expressed by two efforts, the
Northern Kentucky Forum and
the [email protected] Lecture series, both of
which rely strongly on community
The Northern Kentucky Forum,
launched in October 2008, is a
joint venture with Legacy and Vision 2015. Legacy is an association
of young leaders (40 and under)
in Northern Kentucky. Vision
2015 is a community agency that
sets and monitors goals for the
region in such areas as education
and economic development.
“The Forum’s mission is to encourage civil, substantive dialogue
– something our democracy
especially needs right now,” said
Tara Ford of Vision 2015.
Ford, a Forum board member and
past chair, calls it “an important and growing resource for
Theater professor
mark Hardy
delivered his [email protected]
Six lecture at
the Carnegie in
Covington, where
he was directing
“Carousel.” He
talked about the
challenges of
presenting the 1945
play with its difficult
themes, including
spouse abuse.
Visit us and speak out
h The Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement is on Facebook,
where each week the center posts a question drawn from the
headlines. Public comment is invited. The same question is posted
on a whiteboard at NKU’s Steely Library, and students are invited to
comment in writing. A sample of the students’ comments is posted
online at
Northern Kentuckians to become
better informed on current events
and public policy.” Healthcare,
local government structure,
education reform, community
inclusion and government regulation of business have all been
Forum topics. The Forum also
has hosted town hall meetings,
including one with Kentucky Gov.
Steve Beshear and another with
Carolyn Washburn, the new editor
of The Cincinnati Enquirer. An
annual Forum event is a teach-in
on how to have a voice in the state
legislature, with how-to guides
and experts available to answer
While the Forum is designed as
an external activity – open to
the public and often held offcampus – it also has important
internal connections to public
engagement: Some NKU faculty
members serve on the Forum’s
board, others have been panelists
at Forum events and many invite
their students to attend, sometimes incorporating Forum topics
into classroom assignments.
Like the Forum, [email protected] is a
community partnership. The
Behringer-Crawford Museum in
Covington, Carnegie Visual &
Performing Arts Center, also in
Covington, and the Mercantile
Library, in downtown Cincinnati,
partner with the Center for Civic
Engagement to present six lectures
– each costing $6 and beginning at
6 p.m. Again, the general public is
the target audience but admission
is waived for students.
The lectures feature NKU faculty
NKU Photo
members discussing their research
and interests. In season one, for
example, history professor and
author James Ramage relayed the
story of how a rawboned frontier
lawyer’s speeches propelled him to
national attention and made him
a presidential contender. Abe Lincoln, Ramage told his audience,
was unspectacular at best and
ridiculed often – until he began to
speak and people began to listen.
Season two – the current season
– features lectures on presidential
politics, World War II espionage,
medieval manuscripts, nanoparticles, 100-year-old AfricanAmerican recipes and the science
of cycling.
What’s happening at NKU reflects
a new vision for civic learning in
higher education that is described
in a January 2012 report by the
Association of American Colleges
and Universities, “A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future.” What AAC&U
imagines is teaching traditional
civics and history but adding
instruction in how to be an active
participant in public life.
The report points out that the
United States ranked 139th in
voter participation of 172 world
democracies in 2007. Its call to
action is for a “newly broadened
schema of civic learning (that)
expands the historical definition
of civics that stressed familiarity
with the various branches of government and acquaintance with
the basic information about U.S.
history. This knowledge is still essential but no longer sufficient.”
Study examines the region’s nonprofits
jointly by two NKU offices, the
Center for Economic Analysis and
Development and the Office of
Regional Stewardship, the study
also identifies opportunities for
collaborations among similar
Midwestern cities. The study,
released in March 2011, finds
that not all nonprofits are created
equal, they don’t all compete for
the same donor dollars and there
are some stark differences between
our region and others. Produced
“Holding Our Community
Together: The Nonprofits of
Greater Cincinnati” provides a new
perspective on nonprofits in the
tri-state, dividing organizations
into 12 categories and comparing
them with nonprofits in five other
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• Citizenship: One of the center’s
newer initiatives is Democracy
Square Live, a series of faculty-facilitated public policy and current
event dialogues for students held
about every two weeks during
the school year. The topics have
included the economy, evolution, immigration, new media,
presidential politics and Middle
East relations. The center also has
boosted programming around
state and national elections,
including an online mock election
that asks students not only to
vote but to identify key issues that
influence their votes.
NKU, as it was with The Point,
a Covington-based agency that
provides opportunities for people
with special needs. The center
matched The Point with Professor David Raska and his class, the
Principles of Marketing (MKT
305). Dr. Raska’s students created
a marketing plan for the S.S. Bean
Company, a social enterprise operated by The Point that involves
packaging and selling soup mixes.
Future marketing classes will
follow-up, building added components to market the soups.
2012 Public Engagement Report
Partnership grants underwrite projects
designed to address community needs.
by greg Paeth
n her role as the chair of
Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Advanced Nursing Studies, Marilyn
Schleyer is absolutely convinced
of two things: the burgeoning
demand for nurses and the vital
importance of convincing middle
school students that nursing is a
rewarding profession.
“A large part of what makes
this program work is the help
from our nursing students who
plan and execute the activities
of the various events. They are
able to share their experiences
as college students on the career
See grants on page 17
Faculty, students team up on research
that is as inspiring as it is practical.
hemistry Professor Heather Bullen’s
community lecture on
nanoparticle research was nearly
She was on the last few slides of
her PowerPoint, a tutorial on
tiny particles that are upend-
As she directed her laser pointer
to each young face, she relayed a
succession of post-graduate success stories: Pat has a job in Silicon Valley designing programs
for the iPhone. Shannon is in
medical school. Heather is a lead
scientist at Lexmark in Lexington
and Thomas at Pilot Chemical in
With those ideas in mind, Dr.
Schleyer and her colleagues have
been working with about 50
schools in the region to expose
middle school students to nursing careers.
“All of the research shows that
if you want to influence young
people about careers you have
to start at the middle school
level,” said Dr. Schleyer, adding
that sixth grade seems to be the
optimum year for making these
lasting impressions.
Pathways to a Nursing Degree
began in 2006 when NKU and St.
Elizabeth Healthcare partnered
initially to interest high school
students in nursing careers.
Later, the middle school component was added so that the
message might be delivered even
Though faculty coordinated,
Pathways also has a strong component of student involvement –
something typical of the NKU
approach to public engagement.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Kristi Haik, associate professor of biology, and Heather Bullen, associate
professor of chemistry, collaborate with students and each other on research
projects that benefit the community.
Grants support service, research
Of the nearly $14 million in grants received each year at NKU, almost 40
percent support either service or research. Much of NKU’s research is
applied research, with faculty and students examining questions the
community identifies as important.
21% ($2,854,400)
35% ($4,929,819)
Student support
4% ($505,987)
17% ($2,378,653)
23% ($3,213,625)
NKU Office Grants, Research and Contracts; data is for FY2010-11.
m p lE
Once through the list, Dr. Bullen turned to the audience at
Covington’s Behringer-Crawford
Museum and added one more bit
of biography: “All of these students are first-generation college
students. No one in their family
had ever gone to college before.”
Although not a research university by definition, Northern
Kentucky University has an abundance of faculty members who
are active researchers and often
include students in their work.
“One of the most effective
ways to teach our students is by
involving them in undergraduate
research,” Dr. Bullen explained.
“In our labs, students are getting
graduate-level experience, which
has prepared them for whatever
career path they choose.”
See Research on page 17
Learning filmmaking while capturing history
En ag
ing what we thought we knew
about things too small to see
without a microscope. Her final
slide looked much different. It
looked more like a page from a
college yearbook. These, Dr. Bullen explained, are students who
worked in her lab.
After the Kentucky River’s Middle
Fork was dammed in 1960 to create
Buckhorn Lake, a popular state
park soon opened. Lost to time
was Bowlingtown, a mountain
community near present-day
Hazard and dating back to
when Daniel Boone led settlers
there. “The Lost Community of
Bowlingtown” is the working title of
a film by NKU students and faculty
capturing the history and impact
with archival photos, interviews
and on-location video. Scheduled
for festival and internet release
in 2012, the documentary is a
collaboration of NKU faculty, classes
and the student-run NorseMedia,
which also produces radio,
television and web programming
for community benefit.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 17
continued from page 16
days and at camp,” said Professor
Adele Dean, who with colleague
Judi Frerick launched Pathways
and now co-coordinates it with
Professor Erin Robinson.
What Pathways represents is one
of an array of campus-community collaborations underwritten
in part by NKU’s UniversityCommunity Partnership Grants
(UCPG), which funded the Pathways launch and then its expansion to middle schools.
Since 2002, about $1 million in
grants has been invested in community projects, ranging from
supporting a regional conference
for gifted children to a study of
invasive plants on local farms.
Most of the projects include a
research component, and that
work, said Associate Provost for
Research, Graduate Studies and
Regional Stewardship Jan Hillard,
has “resulted in significant,
substantive changes in the com-
munity.” A 2007 grant for $55,421,
for example, was instrumental in
creating a pilot program for the
mental health court in Boone,
Kenton and Campbell counties.
“This program illustrates the ideal
of being a bridge builder between
the university and the community,” said Dr. Hillard, whose office
oversees the grant award process.
2011 GRaNTS
nKu awarded $40,000 in university-community Partnership grants in 2011.
h $14,500 to Dr. Jonathan Cullick, English,
to expand Bookfest, a program already in
25 middle schools. Bookfest encourages
reading and writing in grades 5-8. Students
read selected books during the school year
and attend a workshop at NKU to discuss the
books and meet authors.
h $15,000 to a faculty team led by Dr.
Jimmie Manning, communication, to
look at social diversity in our region.
Data gathered will update the biennual
report, Bridges Progress Report on
Human Relations in Cincinnati.
h Three mini-awards of $3,500 each to support
service learning: Dr. John Rockaway, geology,
for work relating to research at Big Bone Lick
State Park; Jennifer Smith of Steely Library for
work on Whiz Kids Book Links; and Dr. Holly
Riffe, social work, for work with military veterans
and their families.
A prime example is Melissa Toms,
who is researching detection
methods for synthetic cannabinoids – that is, fake pot. “My
research on these substances has
provided me with an insight to
the dangers of their use. The fact
that these products are easily purchased just a few minutes north
of Kenton County in Cincinnati
makes them a significant threat to
the community,” Toms wrote in a
proposal seeking a fellowship to
underwrite her work. She’s working on a quick, reliable saliva test
that police can use in the field.
This kind of community-oriented
approach to research is typical
at NKU, whether the work is by
students, faculty or both working
together. In the College of Education and Human Services, faculty
members have worked with the
United Way and other partners to
The campus-community connection is encouraged at NKU
because the goals of scholarship
and public engagement dovetail
when the university’s research
capacity is applied to community
needs. Imagine, President James
C. Votruba offered by way of example, a faculty member working
with a high school to implement
and evaluate dropout prevention measures. “Imagine as well
that this faculty member involves
both undergraduate and graduate
students to give them a real-world
experience in addressing the dropout prevention challenge,” he said.
“Such an initiative is simultaneously applied research, teaching
and public engagement.”
In NKU’s Master of Public Administration program, students
routinely undertake community
research, finding nonprofits, local
governments and others who can
put the research to use. Welcome
House of Northern Kentucky, an
agency working with the homeless, called a press conference in
June 2011 to spotlight an example
of such work. Lisa Desmarais, an
MPA student, initiated a study
evaluating the public cost of supporting the chronically homeless.
She partnered with Boone County
Human Services to conduct the
“Typically the costs range between
$35,000 and $150,000 per year
to service a chronically homeless
person,” Desmarais said in an
interview on WNKU.
“If you took a look at different
models of care for this particular population, we can generally
provide housing and support
services anywhere from $13,000
to $25,000 per year if we do things
The study tracked 37 chronically
homeless people and found a public expenditure of nearly $1 million. More than half of that went
to medical care that is inefficiently
and ineffectively delivered from
emergency rooms rather than
primary care doctors. The study
found programs in other cities
where homeless costs were more
effectively managed, including
one in Columbus, where a focus
on “housing first” gets people off
the streets and into a permanent
home or apartment.
“We found that there are some
excellent best practices right in
our backyard,” Desmarais said.
Joining the battle against human trafficking
volunteer handbook, a survey and
a database. MPA student Jenny
Brady is working with Crossover
to research social enterprises
that help sex trade survivors
in India, Cambodia and other
and self-sufficient individuals.
Some students in Dr. Olberding’s
Volunteer Management (PAD 622)
class worked with the Crossover
Foundation, a nonprofit created
and supported by Crossroads
Church in Cincinnati, to design a
Professor Julie Olberding, the
director of NKU’s Master of Public
Administration program, and
her students are supporting
volunteer efforts to transition
victims of sex trafficking
in India into healed, educated
En ag
m p lE
continued from page 16
improve preschool and primary
education. A multi-year research
project by NKU’s nursing faculty
has provided crucial strategies to
reduce children’s exposure to lead
in Northern Kentucky. And a team
of faculty and students in the
Department of Communication
is examining social relations in
Greater Cincinnati and will report
its findings to Bridges for a Just
Community, a regional nonprofit
that promotes inclusion.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Heads take on bizarre looks during Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Cuts for the Cure, an annual fundraiser for alzheimer’s association in which the high bidder gets to play barber.
They make giving fun
nKu students
know how to
give back to the
community. they
also know how to
have a good time
doing it.
by greg Paeth
his is what public engagement sometimes looks like:
Amateur barbers shaving
heads, leaving random patches
of hair atop strikingly ridiculous
bald spots in shapes too odd
to describe. This is what public
engagement sometimes sounds
like: A gathering crowd, chanting,
“Mullet! Mullet! Mullet!”
It’s called Cuts for the Cure and
the willing victims are members of
m p lE
En ag
the Northern Kentucky University
chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon
Come March, they grow their hair
out, then submit to the whims of
their fellow students by agreeing
to have their hair butchered by the
highest bidder. The money goes to
the Alzheimer’s Association, which
has been a TKE philanthropy
across the country for 10 years.
Senior Austin Green, TKE vice
president, said Cuts for the Cure
raises a couple of thousand dollars
at NKU for a project that was first
conceived to recognize former
president Ronald Reagan, a TKE
fraternity brother who suffered
from the incurable disease.
As unusual as the haircuts might
be at Cuts for the Cure, there is
nothing unusual about the community service the event reflects.
In any given academic year, barely
a week passes without some example of a fraternity, sorority, club or
Cold water but warmer hearts
NKU’s Leadership Mentors recruit
divers and raise money for the
Polar Bear Plunge, a February
fundraiser for the Special Olympics
in Bellevue. Dressed for summer
but taking the plunge in winter,
participants cannon ball and belly
flop into a near-freezing pool of
water in payment of the pledges
they’ve gathered. The Leadership
Mentors have raised thousands
of dollars over the years including
more than $6,000 in 2011. For the
mentors, public engagement is
year-around commitment. They
are NKU students with advanced
leadership skills who work with
other NKU students and area high
school students to mentor them
for future leadership roles.
Northern Kentucky University | Page 19
“We have 200 student organizations, and all of them do
something in the area of service.... i mean, every group has their niche
for something they’ve taken on as their project.”
-Betty Mulkey, director of Student Life
Much of the public engagement
at NKU is on the academic side,
where classes collaborate with
community partners for service
learning and applied research.
But the co-curricular, or nonacademic side, provides a robust
• The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity
raised $2,025 for youth AIDS
awareness during its inaugural
Youth AIDS Week last fall with
a Dine to Donate event at an
Applebee’s, team penny wars in
the Student Union and a dodgeball tournament with Theta Phi
Alpha, a sorority.
• Hundreds of students turn out
each fall for Service on Saturday
in the fall and again for Spring
into Service in March, two events
that dispatch teams of student
volunteers to preselected community locations where volunteer
projects await. Trails are mulched,
See Student on page 20
TKE members
were good sports,
knowing their hair
will grow back for
the 2012 Cuts for
the Cure.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
by greg Paeth
hen Northern
Kentucky University
baseball players visited
patients at Cincinnati Children’s
Hospital, they spent time in the
playroom with kids too sick to be
home with siblings and friends –
lifting spirits. Back on campus,
the team launched its annual toy
drive to benefit the hospital.
The golf team dropped by the
Newport Independent School
District’s Preschool Village, reading stories and working puzzles.
They came first for Halloween,
bringing along the ingredients for
caramel apples. They returned for
Christmas to make ornaments
with the kids and brought hats
and mittens for all 38 students.
Although college athletes aren’t
required by the NCAA to volunteer on or off campus, the NCAA
“strongly encourages” universities
and their athletes to play positive
and prominent roles that drive
home the point that “there are
some good people stories out
there and one of them is that
athletes are more than just jocks,”
NKU Athletics Director Scott
Eaton said.
Eaton said virtually all NKU
athletes participate in public
engagement projects. One of the
biggest projects is Adopt-A-Class,
a program started in 2010 and
continuing since. Student athletes
for military personnel and their
families to relax as they travel to
and from assignments. The lounge
is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
and has Internet, refreshments and
other amenities.
Other barriers fall as well. On
their last visit, the golf team left
signed Norse basketballs. Why,
one boy asked, did they leave balls
for the girls? Girls don’t play basketball. “So we talk about that,”
Neikirk said.
En ag
is dedicated to helping veterans
navigate college. Fill the Boot is a
campaign for donations to support
a military lounge at the Cincinnati/
Northern Kentucky International
Airport. The lounge is a quiet place
The gifts are appreciated – and
needed. The princess and
superhero winter hats were
worn immediately and every day
afterward. But more importantly,
the children bonded with their
golf buddies and began to see life
possibilities that were unclear
before. They are children who live
in some of Northern Kentucky’s
poorest neighborhoods, where
college often seems distant reality.
Now, Neikirk said, when college
is mentioned her kids have a
better grasp of what it is and that
it is something they, like the golf
buddies, can also do one day.
Help Fill the Boot is a partnership
of two NKU students groups,
Phi Alpha Theta and VETS. Phi
Alpha Theta is the history honor
society while VETS (Veterans for
Education and Transition Support)
“When they come, the kids feel
very special,” said Kate Neikirk,
one of the teachers whose class
the golf team visits. “We call them
our golf buddies.”
Fill the boot, help a soldier
work throughout the year with
fourth, fifth and sixth graders in
Newport, tutoring and joining
special events to drive home the
importance of a college education. The program included
special guest status at a Norse
basketball game and an Olympic
Day visit to NKU. The preschool
visits also are part of the AdoptA-Class initiative.
“We have about 200 student
organizations, and all of them do
something in the area of service.
They don’t always necessarily
report that service to our office,”
Mulkey said. “Every group has
its niche for something they have
taken on as their project.”
• NKU’s Greek community
partnered with Hoxworth Blood
Center to host an on-campus
blood drive. The drive took place
Nov. 21 in the University Center
Ballroom. A hundred people
rolled up a sleeve and withstood
the needle, supplying enough
blood and plasma to save about
300 lives.
athletes team up
off the court, too
m p lE
It adds up – although putting a
number on what it adds up to
be is educated guesswork. One
report showed that students had
contributed at least 5,000 hours
to community projects, but Betty
Mulkey, NKU’s director of the Office of Student Life, is absolutely
confident the figure represented
only a fraction of the real total
complement of services to the
community as well. Consider
these examples:
other student organization raising
money, collecting used clothing
or canned goods, or volunteering
at a shelter, a food pantry or some
other nonprofit.
2012 Public Engagement Report
continued from page 18
flower gardens put to bed for
the winter or vegetable gardens
prepped for the summer, baseball
dugouts painted, furniture moved
– whatever is needed at the site.
“You name it, they’ve done it all
over the place,” said Tiffany Mayse,
the Student Life staff member who
coordinates Service on Saturday.
Service on Saturday now coincides
with NKU’s annual family weekend, when parents are invited to
spend a couple of days on campus.
The hours donated have grown
exponentially because many of the
parents volunteer to help during
their visit, Mayse said. About 600
students and many parents work
with 25 community partners,
including parks, senior citizen
homes, museums and hospitals.
Many of those same agencies
return to campus for an annual
volunteer fair, where they provide
information about their missions
and encourage students to get
beyond,” Waple said.
Among the usual list of service
recipients on Service on Saturday
and Spring into Service is NKU’s
“hometown” – Highland Heights.
“They say we’ve saved them at
least 800 man hours of time with
the things that we’ve done, and
they have been very gracious. They
actually gave our office the Good
Neighbor Award,” Mayse said.
Dustin Robinson, the 2011-2012
president of the Student Government Association, is SGA’s former
secretary for student involvement.
“We always tell the students about
paying forward, and many of them
have already done some kind of
civic engagement work before they
get here.”
Dean of Students Jeffrey N. Waple
stressed that community engagement is critical to the university as
it prepares students for life beyond
the campus.
“Until you go out and see what
other people experience, you can’t
really grasp it,” said Robinson,
referring to some of the work that
he’s done for the less fortunate
when he volunteered to work with
the Brighton Center in Newport
and the Housing Opportunities of
Northern Kentucky, two nonprofits that work with low-income
“They’re not only students, but
they’re also citizens of the community – of Highland Heights and
Although his role with student
government requires him to focus
on being an advocate for the
interests of students, Robinson
still finds time to get to work on
projects that aren’t on campus.
“Involved students care, and getting involved makes the college
experience so much better,” said
Dannie Moore, NKU’s director of
African-American Student Affairs,
agrees and is making community
engagement a top priority for
his office after starting here last
summer. He reflects on his own
experience as a college student
and his time spent volunteering
with a church group in Atlanta.
The experience provided for him a
stark illustration of homelessness
and how it impacts children.
“It’s important to give the students the opportunity to give back
to the community and enhance
their college experience,” Moore
Student Steve Weatherbee braces for impact at Eggerator,
held to generate pre-event publicity for alpha Tau
omega’s annual Basketball marathon, a fundraiser for the
St. Elizabeth Foundation and breast health research.
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Sororities combine volunteering, learning
m p lE
En ag
NKU’s Panhellenic Council has
made a commitment to facilitate
women’s participation in service
opportunities. In May, the council
sponsored two students, Kerissa
Hicks and Maddie Mann, for
a service trip to New Orleans,
where they and other Greek
student leaders from around the
country volunteered with Habitat
for Humanity. In December,
the council sponsored two
other NKU students, Cassandra
Juniet and Ashley Overbey, for
a similar trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala.,
to join the relief effort after that
city’s devastating tornado. Both
trips were designed as “immersion
experiences” – meaning they
combined service with learning
about values and leadership.
A modern, metropolitan university
h 15,748 students
h 12,390 full-time equivalent enrollments
h Students from 109 Kentucky counties and 42 states
h Moderate admissions selectivity
h 70% Kentuckians, 30% non-resident
h 8,401 students from Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties
h 509 international students from 52 countries
h 84% white, 6% black, 1% Hispanic, 8% other
h 86% undergraduate, 10% graduate, 4% law
h 14% of undergraduates live on campus
h 2,838 degrees and certificates conferred in 2010-11
h 49,825 alumni across 50 states and 53 countries
h 86% of undergraduates commute
h 32% of all students attend part time
h 87% of undergraduates work (36% work 30 hours a week or more)
h Average class size: 24
h Student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1
h $214 million budget (FY 2011-12)
h Average age: 24
h 70 bachelor’s programs
h 49 master’s programs/certificates
h $68 million in endowment funds
h $7.5 million in grants and contracts expenditures
h 2,043 faculty and staff
h 2 professional doctorates
h 1 juris doctor
Source: Office of Institutional Research (2010-11 data unless otherwise noted)
h Transitioning to NCAA Division I Athletics in fall 2012
Timothy D. Sofranko/NKU
Celebrating public engagement role models
m p lE
the 2011 awards, NKU President
James C. Votruba remarked:
“Lincoln understood, much as NKU
and tonight’s Lincoln recipients do,
the imperative for Americans to be
stewards of place.”
government, and Joseph W. Gross,
the retired chief executive officer
of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, under
whose leadership St. Elizabeth
was named by Modern Healthcare
magazine as one of the 100 top
hospitals in America. In presenting
Each spring, NKU presents
the Lincoln Awards to honor
community leaders who exemplify
outstanding citizenship. The 2011
winners were banker and business
owner Rodney “Biz” Cain, who also
served a cabinet secretary in state
En ag
2012 Public Engagement Report
These examples range from one-day
volunteer events to student research projects.
Most are from calendar year 2011, although
some are ongoing projects that began in past
years and continue today.
19. Resources for
The W. Frank Steely Library provides visitors
with free public access to grant directories,
books on nonprofit management, and the
databases of the Foundation Directory
Online Professional and Foundation Grants
to Individuals Online. The fully searchable
databases include detailed profiles of
all active U.S. foundations as well as an
extensive file of recent grants awarded by
the nation’s top funders. Steely also hosts
workshops for nonprofits throughout the
year, including one in 2011 on the basics of
seeking grants.
20. Charity begins at
Since its founding in 1995, the NKU
Benevolent Society has supported
university employees and contractors
who are experiencing a health crisis or
other emergency and need money or
other assistance. Seven faculty and staff
members appointed by the president and
two permanent ex officio members oversee
multiple fundraising events and also
welcome the donation of sick-time hours
from healthy colleagues. A March chili
cook-off and a December soup-and-dessert
contest are among the society’s annual
21. Community website
for nonprofits
NKU’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic
Engagement assists in the administration
and oversight of, an online,
one-stop shop for matching donors and
nonprofits in Northern Kentucky. Anyone
looking to donate time, talent or treasure
While it is impossible to capture every instance of public engagement at an
institution where public engagement is just part of the air, the 101 examples in this
report underscore an institutional commitment as Northern Kentucky University
has aligned itself to value this work not as a passing fad but as a sustained strategy.
The first 18 of our 101 examples appear in the preceding pages, highlighted in
Norse Gold boxes. Here are the remaining examples, divided into three categories:
general public engagement, service learning classes, and centers and institutes.
can go to and find an
opportunity. The Kentucky Enquirer, Vision
2015, Children Inc. and Legacy are “Helps”
partners. Launched in 2008, the site has
224 member organizations and 2,200
registered volunteers.
22. Earth Day, a
springtime tradition
Every April since 2004, Environmentally
Concerned Organization of Students
(ECOS) and other NKU partners have
produced awareness events for Earth Day,
with an invitation to the community to
attend. Activities in 2011 included a panel
discussion with environmental activists;
campus workshops for middle and high
school students; and presentations on
sustainable agriculture, community
gardens and building green. Earth Day is
only one expression of NKU’s commitment
to environmental stewardship. President
Votruba has signed the American
College and University Presidents
Climate Commitment. The signatories
believe colleges and universities must
exercise leadership by modeling good
environmental practices and by educating
students to value protection of the planet.
23. Frankfort comes to
During sessions of the Kentucky General
Assembly, NKU hosts the Northern
Kentucky Legislative Caucus on campus
for town hall meetings with the public.
The Saturday morning forums give state
lawmakers from the region an opportunity
hear what their constituents are thinking
and brings attendees up to date on what’s
happening in Frankfort.
24. Honoring veterans
on 11-11-11
Each year on Veterans Day, the community
is invited to campus for special ceremonies.
For 2011, NKU joined a nationwide
grassroots effort to honor American service
men and women who made the ultimate
sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan during
the past decade. On Veterans Day, Friday,
Nov. 11, NKU began its Remembrance
Day Roll Call at 6:30 a.m. Volunteers took
turns reading 6,314 names of the fallen.
“The reading of individual names is very
poignant because it emphasizes the
significance of each and every life lost,” said
Doug Winford, president of VETS, a student
organization supporting veterans who are
attending NKU.
25. Spotlighting
American politics
The NKU Alumni Lecture Series brings two
leading voices from American politics to
campus each fall for a public debate. For
one evening, a Republican and a Democrat
share center stage and offer insight into
Beltway politics. The 2011 lecture was the
12th in the series and featured two former
presidential press secretaries: Dana Perino,
who served George W. Bush, and Robert
Gibbs, who served Barack Obama. Past
speakers have included Jeb Bush, Howard
Dean, Mike Huckabee, Harold Ford Jr., Karl
Rove, Dee Dee Myers, Pat Buchanan, Tom
Daschle, Bob Dole, George McGovern,
Newt Gingrich, Mario Cuomo, George Will
and George Stephanopoulos.
26. A closer look at local
Two NKU Professors, Paul Tenkotte and
Thomas Lambert, provided research for the
Kenton County Governance Study Group,
which is collecting educational material
for a report to the community on local
government. The professors examined the
history of municipal government structures
in Kenton County. An honors anthropology
class (ANT 100H) taught by Douglas Hume
also collaborated with the study group.
Students conducted field surveys to
evaluate resident’s knowledge of municipal
and county government. They found that
residents have a cursory knowledge of
government structure at the local level
but a deeper understanding of state and
federal government structure.
27. Highlighting STEM
In June 2011, NKU hosted the conference
“STEM Opportunities and Needs in
Kentucky: Making the Connection Between
Education and Industry.” The conference,
presented by the Kentucky Girls STEM
Collaborative of which NKU is a member,
featured as its keynote speaker Kentucky
native Nancy Holliday, the general
manager at Microsoft Corp. The STEM
Collaborative brings together organizations
and programs committed to informing
and motivating girls to pursue educational
choices in science, technology, engineering
and mathematics to build a strong, diverse
workforce in Kentucky.
28. Amplifying the
citizen’s voice
Master of Public Administration student
Drew Tilow conducted a pilot study on
the various ways that local governments
engage citizens and presented his findings
at the Northern Kentucky City/County
Managers Association. “The role of public
administrators in engaging citizens is
twofold. The first step it to keep them
informed through any avenue that is
available, whether it is public hearing,
newspaper articles, online newsletters or
email messages,” Tilow said. “The second
step to engaging citizens in government
is to involve them in the decision-making
process and even in the delivery of public
services.” MPA students routinely partner
with government and nonprofit agencies
to research public policy and community
need questions.
29. Earthquake relief
NKU’s Executive Leadership and
Organizational Change program sponsored
a relief concert benefiting victims of
Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Held
in the Student Union ballroom in May
2011, the concert featured Japanese
choral and drums musical performances,
crafts and games, and it raised $1,200
that was donated to the International
Red Cross. ELOC is a master’s of science
program to helps leaders and professionals
develop skills to transform their current
organizations into more effective ones.
30. Running in circles,
For the Nearly Naked Mile, NKU students
“dressed” strategically if minimally and
Timothy Sofranko/NKU
NKU’s annual Veterans Day event honors those who have served. In 2011, the names of 6,314 who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts were read in
a roll call. See Example No. 24.
then ran on the Albright Health Center’s
indoor track. Each student team paid $5
to sponsor a runner, with proceeds going
to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The event,
part of Homecoming Week, had 100
runners and raised $500 in 2011.
31. Philip Glass lecture
Square Live! dialogue, sponsored by
the Scripps Howard Center for Civic
Engagement. DSL dialogues are held
several times a semester, covering a wide
range of topics: new media, the Arab
Spring, the 150th anniversary of the
Civil War, labor relations, the economy,
gubernatorial politics and more.
Over the course of every academic year,
NKU invites prominent figures to campus
for lectures open to the public. One such
example from the 2011 academic year
was a campus visit by composer Philip
Glass, who spoke at Greaves Concert Hall
in September. The Department of Music
sponsored the lecture. Glass was in town
for a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
performance of his Concerto Fantasy for
Two Timpanists and Orchestra. As part of
his visit, he agreed to appear at NKU to
discuss his writing.
34. Canned goods drive
for a food pantry
32. A history of
government regulation
35. Showing off show
History Professor Jeffrey Williams provided
a history of the tug-of-war between
government and business as part of the
introduction to a public debate on pros and
cons of regulation. The Northern Kentucky
Forum (NKU is a partner) hosted the event.
Dr. Williams also serves on the Forum’s
board of directors. The Forum holds about
10 public policy discussions each year,
drawing 50 to 300 people at each even.
NKU faculty members often help plan the
forums and participate as panelists.
33. A closer look at
the Israeli-Palestinian
It’s been in the headlines all of our lives,
but understanding what it’s like to live
in the crossfire of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict became much clearer in November
2011 when residents and activists from
the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh came
to campus for a moderated dialogue with
students and the community. About 175
people attended, hearing challenging
information about how protestors and
authorities routinely clash and how
justice is, in the view of some, unequally
delivered. The event was a Democracy
On Nov. 9, 2011, Norse Code Radio hosted
a can drive for the Henry Hosea House, a
Newport nonprofit that offers free meals
to area citizens. Donors’ names were read
on the air. Norse Code is NKU’s online
student-run radio station. The station
routinely profiles examples of studentdriven public engagement on campus, as
do other student media outlets, including
the newspaper, The Northerner.
The Broadway Chorus Tour Troupe performs
standards from the American songbook
in a program called “One Hundred Years of
Broadway” for community and university
events. Freshman sopranos, altos, tenors
and basses/baritones makes up the troupe.
Local primary and secondary schools are
among the tour troupe’s regular stops.
36. A taste of the real
Practicums, work studies, co-ops and
internships take NKU students into the
community to work with nonprofits
and other partners, in paid and unpaid
positions. Federal work study students, for
example, tutor at the Greater Cincinnati
YMCA and Brighton Center, a community
agency in Newport. One of NKU’s strongest
partnerships is with the Scripps Howard
Foundation in Cincinnati, which funds
public relations internships at area
nonprofits. For Spring 2012, NKU students
were placed at 11 agencies: the American
Lung Association, Bethany House Services,
Behringer-Crawford Museum, Catalytic
Development Funding Corp., Center
for Great Neighborhoods of Covington,
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Family
Nurturing Center, Greater Cincinnati Health
Council, Historic Southwest Ohio, Jobs for
Cincinnati Graduates and Redwood.
37. Honoring
NKU hosted the Behringer-Crawford
Museum’s inaugural Two-Headed Calf
Awards in March 2011, celebrating community contributions to the arts, culture
and history. The awards are named for a
well-known novelty item at the Covington
museum, and the award description notes
that community contributions (like the
calf with two heads) typically are plural
not singular. The award winners included
two people with direct NKU ties: historian
Jim Claypool, a professor emeritus, and
philanthropist Alice Sparks, a former NKU
regent. NKU art student Daniel Calderon
designed the Two-Headed Calf Award that
was presented to Claypool and Sparks.
38. A message to girls:
Good health matters
The ongoing “Healthy Girl Project”
examines girls’ health in our region and
what we as a community can do to improve
it. Led by Communication Professor Sara
Drabik, NKU students interviewed young
girls and other community members in
Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky urban
neighborhoods to produce a video and
toolkit used by United Way and others to
help girls lead healthier lives. The toolkit
was created through collaborations with
NKU, Harmony Gardens and multiple
community partners to start conversations
about girls’ health. The film challenges girls
to avoid health pitfalls that society presents
and ends with a simple challenge: What
can you do?
39. Emergency services
WNKU reached out to 104 county
emergency management agencies over the
summer of 2011, reinforcing the idea that
the campus FM station is available in times
of emergency. Stephanie Lang, a senior
English major, coordinated the outreach.
WNKU is a frequent community partner. In
another example, the station joined with
People Working Cooperatively and the City
of Middletown to present Prepare Affair on
Nov. 12, 2011. Prepare Affair is a one-day
event during which volunteers help elderly
homeowners prepare their homes for
40. Constitution Day
Constitution Day is celebrated nationally
each year on Sept. 15. NKU marked the
occasion in 2011 with a week of activities
spotlighting the Constitution, including a
panel discussion open to the public, “The
Constitution’s Greatest Challenge: The
Civil War.” Three professors, John Bickers
(law), Debra Meyers (history and women’s
studies) and Paul Tenkotte (history)
discussed some of the challenging
constitutional issues that arose during the
Civil War and how those issues continue
to impact our government, liberties and
obligations as citizens 150 years later.
41. Marking Fort
Mitchell’s centennial
The Center for Public History is producing a
book, “A Home of Our Own: The Suburb of
Fort Mitchell,” as a follow-up to the center’s
exhibit at the Behringer-Crawford Museum
in Covington marking Fort Mitchell’s
centennial. History faculty and students did
the research and the writing for the exhibit
and book.
42. Humanities
education at local
NKU worked with the Kentucky Humanities
Council and the Scripps Howard
Foundation to introduce the council’s
Chautauqua Series to elementary and
secondary schools in Northern Kentucky.
The series featured actors portraying
historical characters, such as Daniel Boone,
Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln. NKU used
its extensive networking with local public
schools to raise awareness of the series.
The Scripps Howard Foundation provided
funding to bring in the actors to interested
2012 Public Engagement Report
43. Community concert
The Music Preparatory Department
presented a free concert in April 2011
at St. John’s United Church of Christ
in Newport. The Music Prep program
features students from local primary and
secondary schools performing on stringed
instruments and in choral ensembles. The
St. John’s concert was one of several free
public performances over the course of
the year. With arts funding often tight for
primary and secondary schools, the Music
Prep program offer music education and
performance opportunities to students
from public and private schools across
Northern Kentucky. In 2011, the choirs
were invited to perform in the nation’s
capital for its Memorial Day parade
and related ceremonies, including at a
Kennedy Center concert.
44. Merry Christmas,
The Freshman Service Leadership
Committee (FSLC) has, for more than a
decade, hosted an annual Christmas party
for the residents of the Northern Kentucky
Children’s Home, providing a gift to each
child from their wish lists. And then, each
January, FSLC conducts the Homecoming
Canned Food Drive for Brighton Center in
Newport, collecting an average of 4,000
canned goods that replenish the center’s
pantry after the holiday rush.
45. Latino history
The Office of Latino Student Affairs, in
conjunction with the English Department
and the World Languages and Literatures
Department, celebrated Cesar Chavez’s
birthday in spring 2011 with a screening
and discussion of “common Man,
Uncommon Vision: The Cesar Chavez
Story” to illustrate the struggle led by
Chavez to improve the plight of migrant
farm workers. Latino Student Affairs also
held a writing contest for students at
Boone County High School. Students were
asked to write about topics related to
Cesar Chavez, immigration and the Latino
46. Evaluating the death
Michael J.Z. Mannheimer, a Chase College
of Law professor, co-chaired the Kentucky
Death Penalty Assessment Team for
the American Bar Association, which
recommended in December 2011 that the
commonwealth suspend executions until
it can address fairness and accuracy issues
associated with capital cases. The panel
cited Kentucky’s high rate of conviction
reversals and inadequate protections
for mentally disabled people facing the
death penalty as areas needing reform.
The assessment team was established by
a 2001 American Bar Association project
designed to collect and monitor domestic
and international death penalty data.
Kentucky’s review, initiated in 2009, was
the project’s ninth state-level assessment.
47. Continuing
education for adults
Using feedback from businesses and
other employers, NKU has created a series
of noncredit, continuing education and
professional development courses that
cater to workers across the professional
spectrum. Offerings include Effective
Presentations; Grammar and Punctuation
for Busy Professionals; Leading for High
Performance; Foundational Skills; and
Effective Interpersonal Communication.
48. Faculty and staff
NKU employees give their time and
talent to area nonprofits, serving on
boards and volunteering at nonprofits.
For example, Mei Mei Burr, director of
First-Year Programs, volunteers with her
daughter at Milestones, an equestrian
achievement program in Independence. A
former school psychologist, Dr. Burr works
with a wide range of children who ride at
Milestones. 49. An emphasis for the
Honors Program
The NKU Honors Program hosted a civic
engagement workshop for students and
local nonprofits. Over dinner at the Honors
House, the group brainstormed about
possible capstone projects that could
benefit the community. Students and
the nonprofit representatives were able
to make connections between research
ideas and service to the community.
The Honors Program is making public
engagement a priority for students. A
newly launched initiative will incorporate
the American Democracy Project’s Seven
Revolutions into some honors classes.
Seven Revolutions explore policy options
for pressing international issues, including
climate change, technology and security.
50. Improv for the
NKU’s This Side Up Improvisation Troupe
travels to various community venues to
perform spontaneous skits and sketches
for audiences of all ages, with topics
developed through audience suggestions
and interaction. Led by Ken Jones, the Lois
and Richard Rosenthal Endowed Chair in
Theater, the team also participates in a
two-semester class experimenting with
new improvisational forms and acting
methods. folk knowledge of invasive plants among
farmers in Boone, Campbell and Kenton
counties. The results will be published
on the Internet ( and are
intended to assist the conservation districts
in constructing education programs about
invasive plants.
52. ARTE 281: Concepts
in Art Education
• TaughtbyLisaJameson
Students in this class learned about
teaching with the museum objects at the
Taft Museum of Art. They then developed
and taught a unit to local elementary
students, teaching some of it at the
museum. Later, the NKU students went to
Moyer Elementary School in Fort Thomas
to work with fourth graders for a hands-on
studio lesson.
53. ATG 425: Advanced
Graphic Design
• TaughtbyJulieMader-Meersman
Fifteen students created visual design
proposals for 15 separate nonprofit
agencies, including logos, symbol systems,
visual brand and standard guides and
complementary literature as well as
promotion, awareness and advertising
campaigns. The proposals were created
under guidelines from the international
Sappi “Ideas that Matter” grant
54. EDS 360: Students
with Exceptionalities in
the Schools
• TaughtbyStephenWalker
Students were required to volunteer 10
hours at a school or social service agency
serving children and adults with disabilities.
The students provided assistance,
for example, in delivering physical or
occupational therapy, recreational therapy,
art therapy or music therapy. Another
section of EDS 360, taught by Steve Crites,
had a similar learning component.
55. EDU 390: Elementary
• TaughtbyLynneSmith
As the future teachers in this class learned
more about to how teach students to read
and write, they put their knowledge to
work to create learning center activities for
Cumberland Elementary School in Harlan
56. EDU 391: Middle
Grades Practicum
• TaughtbyShawnFaulkner
Working in cooperation with Children Inc.,
students in this class served as readers and
scribes for students with special needs at
Kenton County middle schools during state
57. HIS 607: Museum
• TaughtbyBrianHackett
Students designed an exhibit about the
tragic 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club
fire for the Fort Thomas Military and
Community History Museum. Students also
raised funds to support the exhibit.
58. INF 286: Intro to
Web Development
• TaughtbyAlinaCampan
Students designed home page options
for the Women’s Crisis Center of Northern
Kentucky using concepts and techniques
learned in class. The class divided into teams,
with each team producing a design so that
the Women’s Crisis Center received several
design options from which to choose.
Service learning, as distinguished from
volunteer engagement, connects service to
what’s being taught in a class. Students have
the opportunity to apply what they learn in
real-world settings. As is typical of service
learning, most of the community partners
are either schools or nonprofits. NKU offers
more than 100 service learning courses per
academic year. Here is a sample.
51. ANT 325: Applied
• TaughtbyDouglasHume
This three-semester project is scheduled
to conclude in 2012. Classes are working
with the Boone, Campbell and Kenton
County conservation districts to evaluate
Timothy Sofranko/NKU
Eye clinics at City Heights, a low-income housing complex, are part of the services
Advocacy Center for the Underserved. See Example No. 95.
by the Nurse advocacy
Northern Kentucky University | Page 25
59. JOU 321: Publication
• TaughtbyBradfordScharlott
Students first learning design and
publication skills for journalism and
journalism-related fields then applied what
they learned to create posters for local
social service groups.
60. LAW 995: Nonprofit
• TaughtbyPhillipSparkes
Teams of students conducted “legal
compliance checkups” for preselected
nonprofits and made suggestions for
improved alignment with laws, regulations
and best practices.
61. MGT 205: Business
Management Principles
• TaughtbyDanielKent
Working in teams, students designed
fundraising initiatives for Henry Hosea
House, a Newport nonprofit that offers
free meals to area citizens. The teams set
fundraising goals, developed strategies to
achieve them, and organized people and
resources to carry out the strategies.
62. MKT 305: Principles
of Marketing
• TaughtbyDavidRaska
Students in this class designed a marketing
plan, complete with web components,
for the S.S. Bean Company, a social
entrepreneurship initiative of The Point,
a Covington nonprofit that provides
opportunities to people with special needs.
The bean company packages soup mixes
for sale at local grocery stores.
63. PSY 333: Abnormal
• TaughtbyRachelClark
Students volunteered at community
mental health agencies, schools and
psychiatric hospitals for at least 20 hours,
mentoring children with emotional or
learning disabilities.
64. SPI 304: Advanced
Spanish Composition &
• TaughtbyKajsaLarson
Students partnered with the Santa Maria
Community Center in Cincinnati on various
projects, including providing arts and crafts
instruction for children whose parents
were at the center for English language
65. Student Philanthropy
Project Classes
NKU’s nationally recognized Mayerson
Student Philanthropy Project classes
involve deep engagement with the
nonprofit community. A grant selection
process is built into the curriculum of
these classes, beginning with determining
community needs that will be addressed
and then identifying nonprofits that best
address those needs. In the end, students
award small grants, typically $1,000 to
$2,500. There were 10 classes during 2011.
Together, they made direct investments
totaling $20,000. They also had a hand
in the distribution of another $60,480
through a partnership with Toyota Motor
Engineering & Manufacturing North
NKU’s centers and institutes represent
the university’s continuing institutional
commitment to public engagement. The
public is encouraged to contact these centers
directly to learn more about their mission and
services. Some centers provide their services
at no charge; others are fee-based.
66. African American
Student Affairs
• Contact: DannieMoore
• Phone: 859-572-6684
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
This office works to create a support system
for academic excellence and to enrich
African American cultural experiences at
NKU. Through collaborative relationships
across campus and throughout the region,
the office offers educational, professional
and social resources designed to meet
the needs of students and members of
the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
67. Alternative Dispute
Resolution Center
also provides a venue for undergraduate
students at NKU to gain valuable
experience with real-world problems. The
center can provide statistical consulting
(for example, advice on data collection,
survey design and appropriate sampling
methods) and mathematical consulting (for
example, conduct numerical simulations in
support of the decision-making process).
70. Career Development
Center (CDC)
• Contact: BillFroude
• Phone: 859-572-5680
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center is the university’s liaison to
area corporations and organizations,
bringing them on campus for job fairs and
on-campus interviewing. The CDC also
coordinates NKU’s Cooperative Education
(co-op) program. Co-op integrates
classroom learning with paid, real-life
work experience in a related field. Co-op
students work in business, government
and nonprofits. Employers may post
full-time and co-op/internship positions
directly into the Norse Recruiting online
database via the CDC website. Employers
may also contact the CDC for assistance in
developing a campus recruiting strategy.
71. Center for Applied
• Contact: MichaelCarrell
• Phone: 859-572-5165
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center can provide a peaceful way
to resolve conflicts and disputes through
mediation and arbitration services.
Disputes are facilitated by a neutral third
party. The goal is to make a positive
contribution to the community by
providing effective conflict resolution
utilizing the center’s professional mediators
and arbitrators. Fees are minimal.
• Contact: ScottFennell
• Phone: 859-448-8949
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center partners with government
agencies, nonprofits and private
landowners to improve environmental
stewardship in the region while providing
professional training and work experience
to NKU student interns. The center
implements programs and projects,
conducts applied research, and educates
stakeholders in practical and sustainable
solutions to restore, protect and utilize the
regions’ environmental resources.
68. Applied
Anthropology Group
72. Center for Applied
Informatics (CAI)
• Contact: DouglasHume
• Phone: 859-572-5702
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
This group investigates cultural
connections between humans and the
environment with special consideration to
issues of conservation. The group generally
takes on projects as service learning
engagements, involving students from one
or more anthropology classes at NKU. Key
to the students’ method of data collection
is the ethnographic interview in which data
are collected and qualitatively analyzed
to design survey instruments for further
analysis by quantitative methods.
69. Burkardt Consulting
• Contact: DavidAgard
• Phone: 859- 572-1325
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center provides assistance with
projects, studies and experiments that
deal with mathematics or statistics. It
• Contact: TimFerguson
• Phone: 859-572-7610
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
CAI is housed within NKU’s College
of Informatics and provides students
with extensive access to internships,
cooperatives and experimental learning
in a real-world environment. Student
employees within CAI work with the
center’s professional staff to develop
websites, mobile applications and other
technology solutions. CAI, for example,
built a mobile application for the Freestore
Foodbank in Cincinnati that includes a
“Take Action” option to provide users with
opportunities to volunteer, donate to or
advocate for the food bank.
73. Center for
Economic Analysis and
Development (CEAD)
Contact: JanetHarrah
Phone: 859-392-2413
Email: [email protected]
CEAD’s mission is to conduct high-quality,
objective research on issues related to
the region’s current and future economic
well-being. CEAD publishes a free
quarterly newsletter, Northern Kentucky/
Greater Cincinnati by the Numbers, with
information, research and analysis on the
economic and demographic trends of
the region. The center also collaborated
with community partners to produce a
regional indicators report, released in 2010
and updated in 2011, with a website that
benchmarks Greater Cincinnati against
similar metropolitan regions.
74. Center for Educator
• Contact: SusanCook
• Phone: 859-322-6067
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center partners with school districts
to offer high-quality professional
development, develop sound teacher
recruitment and retention programs, align
the secondary and postsecondary curricula,
encourage teachers to aspire to National
Board Certification, implement procedures
to measure teacher excellence, and foster
the growth of the Future Educators of
America’s middle and secondary school
75. Center for
Contact: SteveKerlin
Phone: 859-572-1545
Email: [email protected]
Website: environmentaleducation.nku.
The center provides professional
development for pre-service and in-service
teachers through courses, curriculum
training and workshops. As part of P-12
outreach, the center leads environmental
education field trips, assists schools in
the Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools
program, and loans resources and
activity trunks to teachers. The center
also collaborates with Wildlife Conservation
Kentucky to promote conservation of
natural lands. Center staff lead guided
canoe trips on local streams and can also
be found leading community education
lessons at events like Great Outdoor
Weekend and Paddlefest.
76. Center for Economic
Contact: NancyLang
Phone: 859-572-5155
Email: [email protected]
The center was established to improve
the quality and quantity of economic
instruction at all grade levels and to
promote financial and economic literacy in
the community. The center actively serves
the eight-county NKU service area through
an extensive schedule of professional
development programs for K-12 teachers,
graduate credit courses, curriculum
consultation with teachers and schools,
research activities and an extensive
lending library.
2012 Public Engagement Report
77. Chase Children’s Law 81. Early Childhood
Center Clinic
Contact: AmyHalbrook
Phone: 859-431-3313
Email: [email protected]
The clinic serves children with critical
legal needs. In partnership with the
Children’s Law Center in Covington, the
clinic is staffed by trained and supervised
NKU students who represent child and
adolescent clients in matters of child
protection, high-conflict custody, school
and other issues. Students also participate
in research, policy development and
community education related to children’s
• Contact:KristiHaik
• Phone: 859-572-5381
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The Center for Integrative Natural Science
and Mathematics works to enhance the
teaching, learning and application of
science and math at NKU and in Northern
Kentucky schools through interdisciplinary
collaboration. One of its key goals it to
prepare teachers for science and math
by offering integrative science and
mathematics coursework for prospective
teachers at all levels and by developing
programs of outreach and continuing
education for current teachers.
79. Center for Public
Contact: PaulTenkotte
Phone: 859-572-6186
Email: [email protected]
The center supports the civic engagement
and community outreach activities of
the faculty and students of the NKU
Department of History and Geography.
The center has worked with cities and
community museums to gather historical
information, preserve artifacts and create
exhibits. Students work on projects
that provide a glimpse into the real
work of museums and cultural heritage
organizations such as local historical
societies, archives and libraries.
80. Community
• Contact: MelindaSpong
• Phone: 859- 572-5600
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center offers classes and workshops for
people who want to learn for professional
growth and personal enrichment. The
department’s P-12 outreach program
annually introduces NKU and college life
to thousands of area students through
group visits, arts performances and its
signature NKU Spirit Day event. Community
Connections also manages the university’s
NKU Connections public events calendar
for university-sponsored public events.
• Contact: MelanieCaldwell
• Phone: 859-572-6338
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center provides early care and
education for children ages 1 to 14 years
of NKU students, staff, faculty, alumni and
members of the surrounding community.
It also serves as a job training and teacher
mentoring site for NKU students and is
available for research by faculty, staff and
community members. The center is STAR
rated through the state of Kentucky and
accredited by the National Association for
the Education of Young Children. 82. Educational
• Contact: VictoriaBerling
• Phone: 859- 392-2400
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
This office works to expand access to
high education and continuing education
via nontraditional learning formats and
at locations throughout the Northern
Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region.
Initiatives include adult-specific programs,
online programs, courses taught at high
schools and corporations, and the NKU
Grant County Center.
83. Educational Talent
• Contact: LisaBrinkman
• Phone: 859-448-8940
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
ETS is a federally funded program that
identifies and assists individuals from
disadvantaged backgrounds who have the
potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career
and financial counseling to its participants
and encourages them to graduate high
school and continue on to the postsecondary institution of their choice. In
addition to monthly meetings at area
schools, ETS offers field trips, college tours
and a summer residential camp.
84. Fifth Third Bank
• Contact: EileenWeisenbachKeller
• Phone: 859-572-5931
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The institute offers undergraduate
academic and outreach programs in
entrepreneurship, including use of student
teams to address entrepreneurial issues for
local companies. About 150 students major
in entrepreneurship at NKU.
variety of general education courses and
complete an associate degree in integrative
studies at the center before transitioning
to NKU’s main campus. Adult students
may also complete their Bachelor of Art in
organizational leadership through PACE at
Grant County.
86. Haile Digital
• Contact: DanSpence
• Phone: 859-572-5309
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The planetarium is a campus resource used
by the Department of Physics and Geology
for classes. All introductory astronomy
classes are taught in the facility, and other
NKU classes are able to schedule times for
special presentations. The planetarium
also is a community resource, dedicated to
outreach programs with local schools and
community organizations. The planetarium
hosts thousands of adult visitors and P-12
students each year.
87. Institute for Talent
Development and Gifted
• Contact: KimberlyClayton-Code
• Phone: 859-572-6685
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The institute provides learning
opportunities for gifted and talented
students in the region. Programs include
ExploreMore! for students in grades K-8,
which offers hands-on courses matched
to students’ interests and abilities; the
Men’s Leadership Summit and the Young
Women L.E.A.D. Leadership Conference for
high schools students; and collaboration
with the Northern Kentucky Association
for Gifted Children to host the Dreamfest
Conference, which brings together more
than 800 students in a daylong event
focused on developing students specific
gifts and talents. Annually, the institute’s
programs reach more than 2,000 students.
88. Intellectual Property
Advisory Center
• Contact: JohnSchlipp
• Phone: 859-572-5457
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
When is it OK to use copyrighted material?
What is the fair use doctrine? How is a
patent obtained? How is it protected?
NKU’s newest center – scheduled to open
in fall 2012 at the W. Frank Steely Library –
will be a campus and community resource
for answering such questions. The center
will have staff as well as guidebooks and
other references on intellectual property.
89. Latino Student
85. Grant County Center Affairs
• Contact: LeoCalderon
Contact: BetsyJohn-Jennings
Phone: 859-824-3600
Email: [email protected]
The Center is dedicated to increasing
access to education for residents of Grant,
Gallatin, Own, Pendleton and southern
Boone counties. Students may take a
• Phone: 859-572-5821
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
This office coordinates academic,
cultural and social activities on campus
for Latino students and in partnership
with other campus units. The office
also has developed strong partnerships
with Latino/a organizations in Kentucky
and Ohio and serves as a consultant to
businesses, K-12 educators and public
service agencies.
90. Local Government
Law Center
• Contact: PhillipSparkes
• Phone: 859-572-7577
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center provides technical assistance,
research services and support to local
governments, their attorneys, and their
elected and appointed officials. The center
also promotes the study and development
of state and local government law through
teaching, scholarship and continuing
education. It also serves as an information
clearinghouse about local government
through its newsletters and community
outreach efforts.
91. Kentucky Campus
• Contact:GayleHilleke
• Phone: 859-572-7614
• Email: hille[email protected]
• Website:
NKU is the host campus for the Kentucky
Campus Compact, a statewide coalition
of public and private universities and
colleges committed to public engagement.
The compact offices and some of its
administrative support are provided
by NKU. The mission of the compact is
“to promote the civic purpose of higher
education. Members are committed to
integrating service learning as a valued
component of effective teaching and
learning, meeting institutional civic
responsibilities to help address the needs
of the commonwealth, and fostering the
development of relevant collaborative
partnerships between and among
92. Kentucky Center for
• Contact: KirstenFleming
• Phone: 859-572-7690
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The statewide center is housed at NKU.
Its goal is to improve the teaching and
learning of mathematics at all levels
across the commonwealth. The center
organizes annual conferences; offers
professional development for P-16 and
adult educators; makes resources available
for educators, parents and students;
sponsors mathematics education research;
implements and supports programs
to develop the science, technology,
engineering and mathematics pipeline;
and advises state-level educational bodies
on trends and issues in mathematics
93. Marketing Research
Partnership Program
• Contact: AronLevin
• Phone: 859-572-6409
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
MRPP seeks to create excitement and
provide opportunities for students to learn
from market research professionals in the
Northern Kentucky University | Page 27
Work and Leadership and provides field
work for students from Chase College of
Law and the NKU Criminal Justice program.
NKU partners with community mental
health, criminal justice, addiction and other
social service agencies to operate and
support the center.
100. Training Resource
• Contact: KathyHoward
• Phone: 859-572-5572
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center hosts training for foster and
adoptive parents. The trainings are
planned by a committee that includes
representatives of public and private foster
care agencies as well as foster and adoptive
parents. The topics are selected to enhance
the awareness of the parents and provide
skills to improve outcomes for children
who have experienced abuse and neglect.
Training topics have included managing
grief and loss issues and working with
children diagnosed with attachment
disorder. The center also facilitates training
for the Department for Community Based
Services as well as community partners.
Timothy Sofranko/NKU
Sen. Katie
to a talks
at a townathall
the Northern
to a constituent
a town
hall featuring
meeting featuring
the Northern
See Example
See Example
Greater Cincinnati area. Students in the
MRPP interact with and network with the
MRPP’s corporate partners, which include
some of the world’s most successful
marketing research supplier companies.
In addition, via service learning courses,
students provide marketing research
consultation services to nonprofits and
small businesses in the region.
94. NKU METS Center
for Corporate Learning
• Contact: LindaBickel
• Phone: 859-647-6387
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
METS is a conference center near the
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
Airport. It is equipped with advanced
technology, an auditorium, banquet
space, classrooms, and food and beverage
service within a comfortable and inviting
atmosphere. METS is within walking
distance of leading, national brand hotels.
METS values its role as an integral part
of the metropolitan region and seeks
to position the region to compete in a
global, knowledge-based economy. One
example of METS public engagement
is a partnership since 2010 to provide a
technologically enhanced, collaborative
learning environment for more than 160
Northern Kentucky P-12 educators on a
monthly basis.
95. Nurse Advocacy
Center for the
• Contact: CindyFoster
• Phone: 859-572-5242
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center focuses its outreach on
Northern Kentucky’s uninsured and
underinsured, working at emergency
shelters, churches and other places where
those in need can be found. At the City
Heights public housing neighborhood
in Covington, for example, the nursing
faculty work side by side with students
to help residents find access to health
insurance, primary care and needed
medications. Nursing students also offer
a summer health fair, foot care clinics and
flu vaccination clinics. In addition, the
NKU team works with residents on income
stability. A new addition to the center
is a computer lab created with surplus
equipment from NKU. Residents are able to
use the lab for résumé creation, online job
applications and social service applications.
96. Scripps Howard
Center for Civic
• Contact: MarkNeikirk
• Phone: 859-572-1448
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center serves campus and community
through citizenship and stewardship
initiatives. The office hosts NKU’s [email protected]
Series, featuring community lectures by
NKU professors; cosponsors the Northern
Kentucky Forum, which conducts town
hall meetings on public policy issues;
and supports service learning classes
that partner with area nonprofits. The
center also is the home of NKU’s Mayerson
Student Philanthropy Project, which
incorporates grant-giving into college
97. Small Business &
Nonprofit Law Clinic
Contact: SherryPorter
Phone: 859-572-7577
Email: [email protected]
The clinic provides free legal services
to entrepreneurs, small businesses and
nonprofit entities in the local community.
Law students staff the clinic under the
supervision of a full-time clinic director
and licensed attorney. Students interact
directly with clients to provide legal
advice on business-law issues including
entity formation, intellectual property and
98. Small Business
Development Center
• Contact: CarolCornell
• Phone: 859-442-4281
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
The center provides consulting and training
to small-business owners and prospective
small-business owners. Services include
free confidential consulting as well as free
or modestly priced classroom seminars and
workshops. The center and its consultants
are qualified to help develop a business
plan, understand cash flow and financial
projections, engage in market planning
and research, pursue financing options,
provide ongoing business analytics and
assist with buy/sell activities.
99. Training and
Development Center
Contact: DavidWilkerson
Phone: 859-760-5099
Email: [email protected]
TDC in Newport houses a unique
community-based service and training
program developed by NKU that provides
low-cost mental health and social services
to underserved residents of Northern
Kentucky. TDC is a high-quality training site
for graduate and undergraduate students
from the Department of Counseling, Social
101. W. Frank Steely
Library: Government
• Contact: ArneAlmquist
• Phone: 859-572-5457
• Email: [email protected]
• Website:
Government documents are housed on
the third floor of Steely Library and are
available for public perusal at no charge.
Most government documents circulate
in accord with Steely Library circulation
policies. Access to this depository
collection is available during library hours.
Document data and information retrieval
is available as part of the reference service
provided at the third-floor public service
desk or by phone at (859) 572-5459.
..and one more
example: UpTech
Are the 101 examples listed in this report
the only examples of public engagement
at Northern Kentucky University? Not at
all. The inventory grows by the day, as
the announcement in January 2012 of
UpTech underscores.
UpTech is a community consortium
designed as a super accelerator of hightech startups. Applicants will compete
for 50 slots, with each winning idea
awarded $100,000 plus accounting, legal
and marketing counsel.
For NKU, UpTech will offer internships
as well as research opportunities for
students and faculty, and NKU’s College
of Informatics will align its courses to
prepare graduates to join the high-tech
workforce required to support an
informatics industry cluster.
Want to read more examples of NKU’s
campus-community collaborations? Go
2012 Public Engagement Report
Publication date: February 2012
abOut tHiS REPORt
This report is designed to give the community a sense of NKU’s commitment to public engagement across
the spectrum of the university’s units. Just as this commitment is valued deeply at NKU, it is also valued
in Kentucky. The state Council on Postsecondary Education’s Strategic Agenda for 2011-2015 includes
among its values “a postsecondary experience that prepares individuals to be informed, competent,
knowledgeable, and engaged citizens and leaders” and “engagement with business, industry and other
community partners to improve economic vitality and quality of life.” NKU is committed to those values,
and it is the intent of this report to show the breadth and depth of that commitment.
Scripps Howard Center
for Civic Engagement
536 Founders Hall
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099
[email protected]
(859) 572-1448
Copyright 2012.
Northern Kentucky University
OuR PRODuctiOn tEam
This report was produced by Northern Kentucky University’s Scripps Howard
Center for Civic Engagement. Executive Director Mark Neikirk led the production
team. Bob Driehaus of Cincinnati National News & Features Ltd. assisted with
editing and production. Ryan Ostrander of Ryan Ostrander Design & Illustration
of Cincinnati designed the report. Other contributors included writers Feoshia
Henderson, Claire Higgins and Greg Paeth.
Additional copies of this report are
available upon request. Contact the
Scripps Howard Center for Civic
Do you have a question about
public engagement at NKU?
Email us as [email protected]
“to move forward, colleges and universities need to deeply
embed public engagement in the fabric of their institutions…. if higher
education is to sustain a commitment to engagement, then something has to
change: public engagement has to be institutionalized.”
From Becoming an engaged campus: a practical guide for institutionalizing puBlic engagement
by James C. Votruba, Carole A. Beere and Gail W. Wells of Northern Kentucky University
This publication was prepared by Northern Kentucky University and printed with state funds (KRS 57.375). It is Northern Kentucky University’s policy to ensure equal employment opportunity for all persons and to take
the necessary actions needed to recruit, employ, train, promote, and retain qualified faculty and staff, including members of protected groups. Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is
defined as age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic, or veteran status, is prohibited. 15194
cit·i·zen·ship (sit ə zən ship) noun
1. The position or status of being a citizen of
a particular place; 2. The duties, rights and
privileges of such status; 3. The qualities that
a person is expected to have as a responsible
member of a community.
The definitions of “citizenship” and “stewardship” are based on material from www., and The Webster’s New World College Dictionary.