On October 3 and 4, Engage Dallas, in partnership with the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), Office of General Education, and Residence Life and Student Housing, hosted the first Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium.
Participants were energized by the authors of the book Place-Based Community Engagement (PBCE) in Higher Education: A Strategy to Transform Universities and Communities, Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth. In the keynote, the authors highlighted place-based community engagement as a strategy that prioritizes a campus-wide and education-centered approach in comparison to other individual or office-level (e.g., service learning pedagogy) and economic (e.g., anchor institution) strategies. They underlined the importance and impact of equal emphasis on campus and community for the development and sustainability of the Engage Dallas initiative in moving forward with the program.
During the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium, over 60 attendees were invited to a luncheon while they learned how faculty, staff, community partners, and students can connect to Engage Dallas and collectively build capacity for community engagement on the Hilltop.
Afterward, the authors met with faculty for the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium Post-Keynote Faculty Workshop. This session was designed as an opportunity for faculty to follow up with the authors and learn more about PBCE and how the model may be implemented into courses, as well as more about the Engage Dallas initiative. Opportunities for faculty participation with Engage Dallas were explored, and the importance of faculty engagement for the development and sustainability of such initiatives was emphasized during the session.
The initiatives managers for Engage Dallas, Audryanna Reed, and Lauren Anne Cove, reflected on the overall symposium.
“The PBCE Symposium was a great opportunity for students, staff, faculty, and community partners to engage in the same space to exchange ideas and establish new synergies. I am grateful for the new ideas that Erica and Kent shared, particularly related to sustaining Engage Dallas and maintaining its long-term commitment to South and West Dallas. The keynote address was challenging, inspiring, and affirming. I am excited to see how the Engage Dallas team collaborates to implement some of the critical feedback and timely suggestions we received.” – Audryanna Reed, Associate Director for High-Impact Practices, Academic Initiatives
“I appreciated that our keynote speakers, Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth, focused on the work of changing hearts and minds. I have been reflecting on the quote that Kent Koth shared from Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach: “When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.” My heart and mind were touched and challenged by the collective learning during the Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium. I look forward to exploring how the Engage Dallas team can achieve an equal impact on campus and in the Dallas community.” – Lauren Anne Cove, Associate Director for Social Change and Intercultural Engagement
So, where do we go from here? The Engage Dallas team has mapped out strategies to ensure the continuity of promoting Engage Dallas.
Offering regular faculty sessions with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) on Engage Dallas, PBCE, and launching a book club in spring 2023 are among the strategies moving forward. Co-founder of the Engage Dallas initiative and organizer of the PBCE symposium, Dr. Dustin Grabsch, shared:
“It was wonderful to bring together so many in the SMU community as well as our Engage Dallas Community partners to this first symposium. We have come a long way in a short time, but there is room for more folks at the table. Our hope is to share leadership with the community in planning further professional development experiences. Thanks again to all who attended and collaborated to make this community dialogue a success.“ – Dr. Dustin Grabsch, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success
In 2020, SMU adopted the PBCE model to launch and sustain the Engage Dallas initiative. We are honored by the opportunity to engage and learn from the authors of the book that operationalized this university-wide, and community-embedded initiative we call Engage Dallas. A special thanks to SMU staff, faculty, and community partners for attending this successful event. Our gratitude extends to Engage Dallas staff members and sponsor offices who made this event possible!
Please follow our Instagram @smu.engage.dallas to stay updated with our upcoming events. To learn more about the initiative, visit the Engage Dallas website.