Foundations of Community Engagement

Not sure where to start with community engagement? Staff from the WSU Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) present the basics, including how to identify and develop mutually beneficial relationships with community partners. The CCE maintains a database of 1000 community partners affiliated with Washington State University and can provide guidance in collaborating with partners to develop your community engaged research.

Relevant Links

Ben Calabretta: Thank you all for being here. We’re going to be talking about the foundations of community engagement.

Ben Calabretta: my name is Ben Calabretta, I’m the director of the Center for Civic Engagement at WSU, and I’ve been working in the field of community engagement for about 12 years in higher ed.

Ben Calabretta: Several years before that, just in the community. And one of the ways that we want to help, you know, grow community engagement and make sure that that WSU is engaging with community is by working with faculty and doing some training for faculty. And so that’s why we’re doing this workshop in partnership with the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships, and we’ll turn it over to Jessica.

Jessica Perone: I everybody, I’m Jessica Perone. I’m the Assistant Director of Engaged Learning at the Center for Civic Engagement. I’ve been at the CCE for over seven years now. But been in the field of higher ed or K-12 education and social work for the past 23 years. So I’m passionate about community engagement and really happy to be here today.

Jessica Perone: So for our agenda, we’ll be talking about the introducing our office, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the context of how we provide support to the Pullman and Global campus. We’ll review the scope of community engagement and the types and how engagement is on a continuum. We’ll review the elements of an effective partnership. Unpack a little bit about what is community engaged scholarship and how it differs from other types of research.

Jessica Perone: And then have some closing reflections and time for your feedback too.

Ben Calabretta: Okay. So at the Center for Civic Engagement, our mission is really to help the university, help to advance the university’s land-grant mission by getting students, faculty and community engaged as co-educators, co-learners, and co-leaders and really to effect positive change. That’s kind of the goal there, and what we do. We do that through advancing campus community partnerships.

Ben Calabretta: And that’s a lot of what we’re going to focus on today is the partnership aspect. But we want to help community build capacity, generate knowledge and solve problems through service, leadership and scholarship so we can all like our view whether it’s faculty, staff or students at WSU, we can all kind of be a part of that land-grant mission.

Ben Calabretta: So we provide comprehensive support for the most part, just kind of for context…context’s sake. We do…Our offices are situated within Student Affairs, but we like our our work is community engagement. And we…and we work with faculty and administrators throughout the WSU system to promote community engagement, make sure that we all know and all understand what that means for the faculty that we work with.

Ben Calabretta: We actually have an entire team of people at the CCE that work with our community partners. We have about 800 partners already affiliated with WSU through the CCE that potentially you could work with if you’re doing community engaged research and the the fields that they’re in range from anything from like environmental issues, health care. I mean really any kind of any kind of issue that you can think of.

Ben Calabretta: We also have a coordinator to coordinate service learning, not that this is what this workshop is necessarily about, but it’s another form of community engagement. So for WSU, we manage the GivePulse System, which is an online management system, and that’s where all of our community partners are located. All students, all faculty, all staff have access to the full system.

Ben Calabretta: We’ll talk a little bit more about that later. We also facilitate professional development workshops for for faculty as well as staff, to help them understand what community engagement is. And in general, we support community engagement initiatives system wide, regardless of campus, regardless of location. We try to try to help support all efforts of community engagement. So we want to talk a little bit again to provide a little more context about the we do work with students a lot.

Ben Calabretta: But really, we have students, we have faculty, and we have community. And those are kind of the three kind of main stakeholders of the work that we do. But we did want to point out that students and really anyone that participate in civic engagement activities like community engagement, it really the learning outcomes they achieve through that participation includes civic responsibility, so they understand more about their role in the community and how they’re responsible for making it a better place.

Ben Calabretta: Self-awareness and advocacy. So they learned a lot about themselves, including like what they’re passionate about and efficacy. Like what? What they’re actually capable of, like what change they can make, that they can be a part of the solution. Student success. This would relate more to getting higher grades, higher rates of graduation and things like that, and then a commitment to social justice.

Ben Calabretta: Once you start getting engaged with community, you kind of see what’s at the root of a lot of these issues that are facing our communities. And you develop more of a sense, like an intrinsic sense of commitment to help address those issues. And then finally, a little bit more about CCE. We want to make sure you all know from our perspective who we’re talking about when we say civic engagement.

Ben Calabretta: And that’s one thing I guess I’ll mention now is we’re the Center for Civic Engagement and really we use civic engagement and community engagement interchangeably. So if you hear us using those two different terms, it’s okay. Just want you to be aware of what we’re essentially talking about, the same thing. But we do have some characteristics of civic engagement at WSU that that kind of differentiates the work of community engagement and the work of maybe corporate engagement or some other type of engagement.

Ben Calabretta: And so the first one there is meeting a community identified goal. So really, that’s why we partner with the community organizations and the nonprofit organizations that we work with. We work with them to understand what they are doing and understand their goals so that we can find the best ways for WSU to work with them. Typically, it needs to benefit.

Ben Calabretta: Has an historically excluded population or served the public good. It does require a commitment of time and effort. So it’s not necessarily just donating money or something like that. It’s more about like how can you engage with others to address this? And then there are some things that it’s not. It doesn’t support or incite violence, hatred, or discrimination. It doesn’t replace or compete with an existing service on campus.

Ben Calabretta: You know, we don’t want to like try to get people to engage with people on campus that essentially replaces someone’s job. It can’t actively promote a specific faith or serve members of a religious group or political organization As a state institution. We just simply can’t promote different religions or political parties or initiatives. We want people to be engaged.

Ben Calabretta: For example, we want people to be registered to vote. But we can’t we can’t promote, like specific political parties, that kind of thing. And then it doesn’t provide a direct financial benefit to a for-profit organization. So we don’t typically partner with businesses. So that’s not we know that that is a thing and it can be a valuable experience for all those involved.

Ben Calabretta: But that’s not our work.

Jessica Perone: So next, we’ll talk about the scope of community engagement. There are well, there has been over the past year, a lot of work going into defining a community engagement, believe it or not, before. Last year, there was not an official definition. And through the pre-work of getting ready for Carnegie Classification, you had to take the time to settle on what is our definition.

Jessica Perone: And you can see that in the language of the definition that there is that is relationship based. So we define engagement as a relationship based collaboration between WSU faculty, staff and students, local, tribal, state, national and global partners for a mutually beneficial and sustained exchange of knowledge and resources. So we want it to be based on relationships so that it can be a sustainable partnership.

Jessica Perone: And through these trusted partner relationships, the partners will collaboratively enrich scholarship, enhance curriculum and think of ways to disseminate programs and practices that are equitable to both community and to academia as well.

Jessica Perone: There are a variety of ways for people to be involved in community engagement. It’s not only through research, folks can get involved in the community and in ways that meets their passions and times and needs. It can be anything from starting with community service or volunteering to getting to know what are the goals of the community, where the gaps and how can we be part of the solution.

Jessica Perone: Community engaged research is part of that. Service learning can be a type of community engagement activism, democratic engagement. These are all different types of engagement. And in the chat we’ll post a link to the full document that shows all of the variety of ways to be involved.

Ben Calabretta: It is posted. Posted.

Jessica Perone: thank you. Community engagement or civic engagement also exists on a continuum, so there is no perfect spot or one spot. This is a kind of a moving target based on the goals of the campus or university and the goals of the community that we’re working with, goals of students, etc.. So on one end of the continuum, the it could be one group is benefiting more than the other and on the other end of the continuum.

Jessica Perone: The other group has is receiving more benefits from the relationship. And we’d really like community engaged research because it is hitting right in the middle. A sweet spot of both groups having mutually beneficial results. So if you start with community service and volunteering this is really a community, the community is benefiting. We’re giving our time, our talent and our resources to a project or a group to help that group meet a goal of philanthropy and fundraising or donating money is another way that we are.

Jessica Perone: It’s really the benefit of that service is the community. And then you start moving over to the right of the continuum where there are some benefits for both groups and things that fall into that. Those categories are service learning and community engaged research. We’re very intentional for both groups to receive benefit. So a service learning the students and faculty are having an experience where they are learning more.

Jessica Perone: About course concepts and learning more about what is happening in our communities through service learning and the community is benefiting on the other side for receiving those resources and then co educating the students and faculty on what their real life experiences are on a certain topic. Same with community research for those mutually beneficial outcomes. And then we start moving over to the more of a campus beneficiary.

Jessica Perone: When we think about civic learning and in those cases it would be more of using case studies or examples to deepen the understanding of a certain issue, but not really having the connection with a community partner or anything happening in real time in our own communities.

Ben Calabretta: Okay, so now we’re going to focus on the elements of an authentic partnership, and I guess I should say that if you if any of you have questions as we go along, feel free to pop them in the chat. Or essentially you can just unmute and assess a question that’s that’s okay, too. But we want to make sure that as we go through that, that you understand what we’re talking about, even though we will have time at the end for some questions, we still want to make sure that that you know what’s going on.

Ben Calabretta: So we’re going to talk about the elements of an authentic partnership and the model that we’re kind of using here comes from the community campus partnerships for health. And the reason that we’re sharing that is just because they do a really good job at explaining what it means to be to be a partner with others on this model here on the screen.

Ben Calabretta: You know, it kind of talks to the kind of shows for different nodes in an authentic partnership, need different processes that we have. There are the quality processes in place are meaningful outcomes, are the transformative experiences, and then the guiding principles of partnership at the top. That’s where we’re going to get a little bit deeper into. And Jessica just shared that link in the in the chat.

Ben Calabretta: If you want to explore their website a little bit. And so there’s without counting, maybe 13 in total, the 13 Guiding Principles of Partnership, we realize that there is a lot of text on the screen right now we want to give you, but it’s worthwhile. So we want to give you a minute just to read through these. And then I’m going to ask as you as you read through them, if there are any that kind of jump out to you, anything that kind of makes you stop and think for a moment.

Ben Calabretta: So we will mute for about a minute, let you read it, and then we’ll ask for some some reflection on that. Okay. So when you think about community engaged research is specifically like the foundational principles of partnership to community engagement. There might be times where what is what is a principle of partnership maybe isn’t exactly what you would associate with like a research practice.

Ben Calabretta: And that’s kind of the bridge we’re trying to cross here. We want to make sure that, as you’re developing, community engaged research projects, that you’re taking into consideration these principles of partnership. So what were there any of these guiding principles? Which of these guiding principles jumped out to you? And feel free to unmute and let us know.

Conny Kirchhoff: I had a question about how formal the relationship should it typically is like, do you know, do we have a contract with partners? And then when it comes to I was thinking about that when I read the about the a partnership can dissolve that when they do need to plan you need to have a process for closure. So is partnership usually connected to a contract?

Ben Calabretta: With the work that we do at the CCE, we typically have like an agreement. It’s not necessarily a contract, but really the agreement’s just so that the partners know what expectations are on them and that we know essentially that the expectations are clear. I would say that if you applying for like funding that there is probably some kind of I don’t know if it’s a contract or some kind of agreement in place, that it’s maybe defined by a certain amount of time.

Ben Calabretta: Maybe there’s a specific goal in mind for the project. So I could see there being some definitely something in writing certain things like that. One of the one of the bullets talks about clear and open communication and sometimes like a contract or an agreement is how you do that, you know, to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Ben Calabretta: So I wouldn’t say that necessarily has to happen, but I think it’s helpful for everyone to know kind of what’s expected of them. Jessica, do you have any thoughts on that?

Jessica Perone: I just would complement exactly what you were saying to have those discussions, because the world of community based organizations and the world of academia live on two different planets, two calendars, two time frames. So that clear communication of when there will be heavy times of peak communication where things need to happen quickly and then usually there’s a stretch of time with no communication.

Jessica Perone: That doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. It just means that we’re in a lull. So explaining those differences or just talking them through and having them written down so that everyone is on the same page is really, really important.

Ben Calabretta: Okay. So you’re welcome. Thanks for the question, Conny. So Pablo in the chat mentions that it’s still kind of abstract and would like to see an example. I think one way I’m going to try to explain a little bit about the principles of partnership. So maybe typically with like a research project, there’s like a question, something an issue, something that needs to be answered and you do the research and you might and you think that there’s a need, but you’re not.

Ben Calabretta: You think that there’s a need in the community, and then you try to you try to disseminate your findings without really knowing, like, who’s going to use that information, who’s going to like, how is it going to affect the work that’s happening maybe in the field. So it’s kind of one directional and we’ll get a little bit more into that with partnership, you would develop that research question together and it does take some time to develop a relationship, to develop that trust, to like do that.

Ben Calabretta: But with with partnership, you would be working with community to essentially understand what the goals are and then like what what questions need to be answered and work together to develop the project. And I might be stepping a little bit on some slides in the future, but I’m trying to trying to make a little more concrete for you.

Jessica Perone: Yeah, that and having those understanding each other’s needs and interests and using a common language, those are all things that are really important to establishing the relationship and asking what are your goals? What are your needs? Because both those entities usually are new to each other. The whole agenda, the whole plan needs to be co-created. So the researcher may have an idea like this is really interesting concept I’d like to know more about and then communicate research.

Jessica Perone: I would start reaching out to the folks in the field, working in that area outside of academia to say is, is this a real issue that you’re facing? And they may say, yes, this is an issue and these are all the extenuating factors that are complex, complicated to it. And then you start to know more context about their world and they start to learn more about what you need to study.

Jessica Perone: And as a researcher. And and that balance of power is created. The decision making starts to be collaborative, and then you’re starting that collaborative partnership. And it just starts with an ask of what are your needs and goals? And removing the assumption that that we know by just studying a topic or a paper. We need to ask the the people that we want a partnership.

Jessica Perone: Where would you like to go with this?

Anya Sheftel: I have a quick question, actually, with what was coming from the research side. So, for example, if somebody has an instrument, right, like a survey that has been used, you know, widely but has not been used with a particular historically minoritized population, it’s unclear if the questions that are being asked in that survey are appropriate for those folks.

Anya Sheftel: Would it be community engaged research to work with that community to understand their perspectives on the instrument? That the questions are phrased and the content of the questions are reflective of their lives or would that not be a good example? Because the researcher is coming in with a preconceived like agenda of why they’re coming into the community. Does that make sense?

Jessica Perone: Yeah, that makes sense. I can start with that, that somebody has to have the idea to spark the conversation.

Jessica Perone: So saying like, Hey, I’m, I’m noticing that this tool, you know, is excluding a lot of it’s not culturally relevant to a lot of groups. So there’s your first ask and then starting to reach out to the people in those groups or working alongside those groups or providing support and then starting the co-development of what are…where we’re trying to get to this answer or we want to know more about this, but how is it relevant to different groups then the conversations are starting that shared knowledge is starting, and then as you’re working through it at the end you’ll disseminate that information both academically and in the community and it will be relevant to both groups.

Anya Sheftel: So that that’s a great example of a of a way to get started by asking the question that you’re noticing. This is not relevant. Are they noticing that too? And how can we improve it together? Awesome. Thanks, Jessica.

Jessica Perone: Thanks.

Ben Calabretta: Any other thoughts on these guiding principles or questions? wait, go back now. So so you might look at those guiding principles that might be triggering some questions. And maybe it’s hard to comprehend because there’s a lot there. But we kind of have this little assessment that you might want to think about. How do you like are you ready for this?

Ben Calabretta: Are you ready to engage with community? You know, do you possess are you willing to learn those skills necessary to build long term relationships? And it’s okay, Like we do an assessment, You know, it’s not like get pass fail. It’s more just like kind of gauging your own readiness to be to get into this type of work. Are you willing to be a mentor or inspire others to do you have the ability to share, share controls, to lead and be led?

Ben Calabretta: Do you want to make community concerns the focus of your research, your project, or your program? As a researcher, are you able to supplement your scientific skills with humility? And you have a commitment to self evaluate, ensure an equal power distribution exists and develop mutually respectful partnerships. So that kind of gets to what Anya was asking about. Like you might have a great tool or you have a tool

Ben Calabretta: that’s been used for years, but are you willing to kind of ask the question that might alter what you’re doing? Because you are working with partners? So just some questions to think about for yourself as you as you get more involved with community engaged scholarship. One more thing before I turn it back over to Jessica. So I mentioned GivePulse earlier, GivePulse is our online management system that you all have access to.

Ben Calabretta: Anyone with a email can get on there. It’s a it’s one tool that we have for you to go in and browse like the different type of partnerships that we already have established. So you’re not necessarily constricted to using partners that are in GivePulse, but it’s a good place to kind of start where you can do some searching.

Ben Calabretta: Like I mentioned, it’s available to all of you. One thing we do want to say, though, is like, if you are interested in getting deeper into this, GivePulse is a nice tool, but really we are here at CCE to support you. So if you have an idea and you just need some some leads on partners to to get started with, we’d probably just rather have you come and talk to us or set up a meeting so that we can talk to you about the best way to pursue that.

Jessica Perone: Okay. Next, we’re going to talk more and unpack a little bit more about community engaged scholarship, what it is and definitions and what it’s not. Ben mentioned earlier that we use the word civic engagement and community engagement kind of interchangeably, but with some definitions cannot be used interchangeably and they have real different meanings behind them. And one of the words is outreach.

Jessica Perone: So outreach and academia usually is associated with dissemination of information to public audiences. It has a one way direction it is going. You are taking information that you know and facts that you have and you are sharing them with the community maybe for their benefit, but it is just a one way, one way directional use of communication. Service is also a word that we hear and use a lot and academia and service in definition and by straight out of the faculty manual, it means offering one’s expertise and effort to the institution.

Jessica Perone: So this could be university service committees and task forces, college service to your particular college. You could be involved in tenure and promotion, curriculum, program assessment, undergraduate programs. Those are all service related activities, but for your department or college. And then departmental service could be advising or recruitment, but still a very academic focus. So by saying that you do service this, you meaning generally and you the general, you is very academic faced…facing there’s not there’s no the word community off campus is not in any of these definitions.

Jessica Perone: So with community engaged scholarship, we are in collaboration with community partners throughout the whole process. From the very beginning of asking the question and talking about each other’s goals all the way through disseminating information that’s appropriate for academic and public audiences. So we’re taking our goals. Groups are taking their understanding, their life experience, their research, and they’re putting that together to inform each other of maybe where they want to go or what questions they’re going to ask, what what are their limitations and what are their strengths.

Jessica Perone: And together they’re generating new scholarship or new information That’s very holistic and based on the experience, research, knowledge of both parties. And the whole time, this is a collaborative effort and there is a handout in the chat that is very informative to compare the different research approaches. So traditional research, community engaged research, and then sometimes you may hear the word community-based participatory research.

Jessica Perone: So they, although they have similarities, they are all three distinct forms. So that is a great resource for you in and if we had more time we would go through it. But it’s a resource for you that you can use in the chat. So there are a lot of efforts in the WSU system and in the strategic plan that recognize community engaged research and that demonstrate that this is a supported form of resource…research and the support is growing over time.

Jessica Perone: So in the in the strategic plan, there are two goals that specifically mention this. The first goal of research, innovation and creativity talks about using risk and bold thinking to serve the needs of the communities. This could also say, serve the goals of the communities to be a little bit more strength based. But where we’re looking at needs and using our creative activity to meet those needs and objectives of that would be addressing community needs and global challenges and partnering with the community and that the university serves.

Jessica Perone: So again, relating back to that land-grant mission of the university being present to serve the goals of the community. And the second goal that this is mentioned is goal three Outreach, Extension Service and Engagement, where the university will be a leader in advancing the quality of life, economic development, sustainability and equity through meaningful engagement in discovery, education and service with partners throughout the state.

Jessica Perone: So that meaningful word is very important, meaningful meaning that there’s mutually beneficial components for everybody involved. It’s not one way and that some of the objectives are to increase those WSU priorities with the needs and challenges and opportunities of the state of Washington. So the meaning that they are those those two groups are talking and aligning the goals and a strategy to meet these objectives would be to provide training for WSU personnel, including new hires to learn about the land grant mission and history.

Jessica Perone: So this is an example of what we’re doing right now. The university is offering more training and professional development and sharing best practices in community engagement, and not just making the assumption that everybody knows what this means because everyone has a different background, life experience and training. So so we all can get on the same page and develop some shared visions and shared goals the university has committed to these trainings and professional developments to get that started in a formal way.

Jessica Perone: And a third example of how this is big gaining more support from the university is documented, well-documented in a memo that was put out in 2021 of how to document community engagement in activity and insight through the tenure and promotion process, or just through the annual review process. There’s four four areas that are clearly outlined in this memo, which will be in the chat for you to see the full document.

Jessica Perone: But the two to highlight here are that community engagement is highlighted as something to include in the activity insight and how that is being applied. The other one is inclusion, diversity and equity and access. And we know that community engagement promotes equity because we’re working with people from a variety of backgrounds, ethnic groups, strengths and abilities that are coming together.

Jessica Perone: That community engagement fosters an appreciation of cultural diversity because we’re working with people different from each other and appreciating the strengths that everybody is bringing to this endeavor and that communication also is promoting that positive shift in campus and community culture and bringing those two groups together for some shared visions, creating new relationship based on reciprocity. So both groups are walking away with benefits and takeaways.

Jessica Perone: It’s not just one group informing the other. Okay, so that was a lot of information and we’d love to have a questions or feedback. So if you have any questions, comments, if we could explain anything in more detail, we’re happy to do so. So we’d like to open up the mic to you all for some more, more feedback.

Jessica Perone: Is anybody in the in the room exploring any community engaged research options or involved in anything already that we could learn more about?

Conny Kirchhoff: I have a PLA project that I…that is community engagement and I do have some questions about, but I don’t want to monopolize the meeting so I can also reach out later on with my questions.

Ben Calabretta: It’s possible that others would learn from your question too, because if there’s something that you’re after going through some of that information, if there’s something that you’re kind of wondering about now, it’s possible that other people are having that same thought. So.

Conny Kirchhoff: Okay.

Ben Calabretta: As long as it’s not so specific that that we can’t answer it. We’re definitely open to a question.

Conny Kirchhoff: I’m…I work in psychology department and I’m also the associate director of the WSU Psychology Clinic, which is a training clinic for our Ph.D. students. And we offer therapy and assessment services to community members and also some students. And I was approached by somebody from WSU Skagit County to help with like farmer mental health. Fairly…I mean, there’s like a growing crisis or like there is a strong need for mental health services and they have created a voucher program at WSU Skagit where they can…farmers can get six sessions for free and they can use our services to kind of like…

Conny Kirchhoff: We can provide telehealth services for free for six sessions for them. So this program is great, wonderful. However, there is a lot of difficulties to get farmers in to use this program. And so really like a project of the PLA, we like trying to find, first of all, people on the ground to the extension offices and also other avenues to get in touch with farmers.

Conny Kirchhoff: And then also kind of like, you know, creating…materials to decrease stigma around mental health and really meeting them where they are like getting a better sense how maybe to pitch mental health services for them. So that’s like basically the first step. And then once we have established a good pipeline, there is a component where then students who take on these services and they would be trained specifically on this group that has very specific mental health needs.

Conny Kirchhoff: So there’s a learning component that’s a second step. And so that’s my project that’s coming, although I came today because I thought, okay, there’s a lot of community engagement, I’m not quite sure how to set that up. And what I’ve maybe have to consider it around, like, for example, do do I need to be more formalized with contracts and things like that?

Conny Kirchhoff: Another question I had, and I was a little late to that to this meeting. I’m sorry about that. It would be like, is there any kind financial support for maybe like, let’s say, creating materials in regards to brochures or videos or radio spots or maybe traveling or, you know, the West Side or other areas to go meet with farmers?

Conny Kirchhoff: That would be another question that I would have made sure this is the right place to ask that.

Ben Calabretta: I do know that the Office of Research Advancement in Partnerships who is kind of sponsoring this…this session is opening up a Community Engaged Research Seed Grant program, and I think proposals are being accepted as we speak. So that’s I think that starts to get at the funding question because it’s kind of showing that WSU values this type of work.

Ben Calabretta: And we want to make sure that people have the resources they need to do it. So that answers that. I think with the partnering with extension, that’s a great that’s a great first step because they’re in the community. I would it sounds like you’re going through the process of like trying to develop the project to figure out the best practices to make this work right.

Ben Calabretta: They must know why the need exists. This came from somewhere. So like, who are they even talking to? Is there like a farmers or a farmers association or something? Is there local organizations that can that are already interacting with farmers in that area? That’s kind of like how I would approach it, but you may already be doing that.

Conny Kirchhoff: And then I to get in touch with the extension network, I really don’t have. Yeah, I’ve reached out to a couple people that I know that I’m not involved in that at all. That’s not my area at all, so.

Jessica Perone: Something to consider that’s for the community engagement part. It sounds like there’s a lot of outreach being done with creating fliers and contracts and letting people know this service exists for free.

Jessica Perone: But the community engaged piece would be the relationship development piece because the culture of farming and the culture of the folks that we’re reaching out to are it is not in their life experience to seek out mental health services or to acknowledge that this may be something that you could potentially consider. So as you’re trying to reach out to that that culture, spending time in those areas and meeting, meeting them face to face and building the relationships, you’re right with transportation, to get to a clinic is a barrier.

Jessica Perone: So not only taking the funds to go meet them, but also thinking of ways to make it convenient and accessible for them to feel comfortable with seeking the mental health services. So under so we you know, you know how the clinic runs and you know how to do that piece really well. But it’s understanding that culture of how to build the relationship, build the trust, and then say, okay, I’m going to give this a try to collaborate together.

Jessica Perone: So I think that’s a even a bigger hurdle than doing the therapy, but getting them to feel like this is good for me and I trust these, that these folks have my best interest.

Conny Kirchhoff: Yeah, services can be provided over telehealth. That’s one of the good things that came out of it. But yes, getting in touch and being. Yeah, yeah.

Jessica Perone: Okay. Todd, do you have you have your hand raised?

G. Todd Vanek: Thank you. And sorry to take us out to such a great subject because that’s near and dear to my heart and especially in this area. Mine’s very technical in nature. But first let me say thank you for your presentation. You guys did an amazing job with your presentation and balance and transitions and everything. As an educator, it’s nice to be in a in a workshop or a presentation where it’s nice and smooth and everything goes well.

G. Todd Vanek: So thank you for that. Thank you. So my challenge I work in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. I am not an engineer, I’m an educator, and community engagement is one of the things that I love and try to engage or try to participate in. But a lot of times I think engineers struggle in the sense of highly technical, you know, their research is highly technical and here we sit in Pullman, and if you’re not an electrical engineering and partner with Schweitzer, you’re kind of left with what what do you have as far as community partnerships, especially when it’s highly technical?

G. Todd Vanek: So what are ways to get engineers, especially young early career faculty who move here to Pullman to engage in, you know, in community endeavors and then take advantage of things like this research, you know, this this funding. But to me, that first step is how do we get engaged and excited and interested in that community connection? Any ideas from anybody?

Ben Calabretta: I mean, this is this is a challenge that we’ve heard a lot, especially with the highly like you say, the highly technical, like it might not seem like a fit for like community engagement, but they’re that we don’t have them off the top of our head. But there are different organizations or municipalities, governments that that probably could use that type of partnership, probably could use expertise from Voiland simply because of the expertise, but like also a different perspective.

Ben Calabretta: And I’m guessing that this type of work wouldn’t necessarily need to happen in Pullman, but it could either be done from a distance know. So I think Jessica had something just because about say something.

Jessica Perone: Oh, I can relate to this question because of recently working with a couple of capstone mechanical engineering courses and learning what is mechanical engineering, and then translating that so that we can explain that to community partners so they can think of how this could be a beneficial or beneficial service or gap that they’re experiencing. And I found that going through that exercise with faculty and the students of what does this look like in real life?

Jessica Perone: What is mechanical engineering, what is structural engineering, and how can we explain this to the community so they can relate to it? And after this, this is the second semester we’re doing this, but through those translations and as people start understanding, when we’re explaining people meaning community members of like, yes. So you mean you could create this hinge to make this more accessible is like, yes, that is it.

Jessica Perone: So I would even suggest just to start there of translating for, suggesting to faculty what does this translate to for in the broader sense, for broader impacts, broader community knowledge? Because once someone can feel like they can understand it and connect to that technicality, then they see that the doors open for conversation because everybody feels like, I get that.

Jessica Perone: Not that like extremely smart, technically advanced faculty is speaking at a person, but you can more speak with the people about about that really great expertise that you have and that you want to share it with somebody else. So translate.

G. Todd Vanek: has just made. Yeah, and this made me realize we have this school of architecture in our college as well, and they do that very well. That’s their whole engagement with community and, and so that when you mentioned the capstone projects, I remember some of the capstone projects that the architecture students have done with the city. And so yeah, it’s finding that connection and I like that because I think that’s educational from the faculty standpoint as well about how to translate our impact to the community, not 35 years from now when my invention gets implemented.

G. Todd Vanek: But right now what can I do to, to impact community?

Ben Calabretta: Yeah, it’s valuable for the for everyone involved because there’s that barrier for the community partners as well because they don’t know like your your students maybe or the faculty don’t know, how they can work with community. Community doesn’t know how they can work with engineering, you know. So it’s like how do you kind of even the fields so everyone can just talk and figure it out.

G. Todd Vanek: Well, and being from a small rural community even smaller than the municipalities, cities, county governments, those kind of things I think is important because their resources are limited to begin with. So if they can take advantage of having a partnership where they can get some, you know, advantage out of that, I think would be beneficial. So thank you.

G. Todd Vanek: That that’s that’s awesome. That helps.

Jessica Perone: Another thing to consider suggesting is consider a service learning component in the course because that forces everybody involved to translate to a new audience, whether you’re working with youth or adults on a mutually beneficial project as a starting point, and then everybody can get a little bit more used to that translating piece. And like science fairs, STEAM nights, STEM, building things with youth.

Jessica Perone: There’s lots of ways service learning can be in any any class.

G. Todd Vanek: Thank you.

Ben Calabretta: Thanks. I’m going to pop our emails in the chat. So if like, as you can see, like we’re happy to like, brainstorm these types of ideas or questions that you have and more than willing to follow up with you all. So feel free to just send us an email if you want to chat for a bit.

Ben Calabretta: We might not have the perfect answer when we talk, but that’s part of the process is kind of figuring out where things fit. We did want to save us a couple of minutes to make an announcement and a little bit, but are there any additions, any other questions in the next couple of minutes? Okay. Well, from our end, from the CCE’s end we wanted to say thank you for for attending and participating.

Ben Calabretta: And like I mentioned, feel free to reach out with any questions. We’re happy to we’re happy to talk with you more.

Jessica Perone: Yes. Thank you, everyone.

Emily Brashear: I am going to snag some time as everybody is still here. We have a quick announcement from our office in the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships. We are hosting a Grant Writing Fundamentals for Community Engaged Research course. It’s four weeks. It’s designed for faculty in all the disciplines involved in community engaged research. It consists of one and a half hour sessions, and they vary to another screen or press, and they are from 11 a.m. to 12:30 on Tuesdays between February 27th and March 26, we are going to skip spring break for that.

Emily Brashear: But the sessions, inclusive of a lecture, in-class discussion, take home assignments and in-class sharing and feedback on the take home assignments you’ll be provided with planning and visioning looks at tool sorry and copies of the lecture slides. So it’s limited to 15 faculty members system wide. So it doesn’t matter what campus you’re on or where you’re at. And so applications are online.

Emily Brashear: And Will will slide that into the chat. They’re due November 3rd. It’s a fairly simple application, so you don’t have to take a whole lot of time in it, but it’s a really good course. So if you guys are interested in just learning a little bit more, I would highly recommend that that program that we’re offering, we don’t offer a lot of the new one kind of piggybacks a few others.

Emily Brashear: So jump on that if you have the time. Again, 11 to 1230 starting February 20…screen now. But anyway, all the information is in the chat, so check that out.

Ben Calabretta: All right. Thanks, everyone.

Jessica Perone: Let’s have a great day. Thanks. You, too. Bye, everybody.