By Gretchen Minekime November 15, 2022
Scott Battle, Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement
On Nov. 1, Scott Battle was appointed CU Boulder’s dean of Continuing Education and vice provost for Outreach and Engagement and Summer Session. Battle strongly supports the university’s long-standing commitment to serving Colorado communities and the world through public and community-engaged scholarship. He recently sat down with Office for Outreach and Engagement staff to share his perspective on the mutually beneficial work that CU Boulder faculty and staff members conduct in partnership with communities external to the university.
What value do you place on outreach and engagement work?
An important part of CU Boulder’s core mission is to further the public good, and the work of the Office for Outreach and Engagement is a critical part of this effort. Here at CU Boulder, we define outreach and engagement as “the ways faculty, staff, and students collaborate with external groups in mutually beneficial partnerships that are grounded in scholarship and consistent with our role and mission as a comprehensive, public research university.” Reflecting on the various components of this definition, one can see why such exciting and meaningful outcomes arise from this work.
Community-engaged scholarship connects us to our mission and history–and fosters innovation that enhances lives and knowledge. However, this type of work is about outcomes and the process. Working together to address issues means partners must build trust, respect and effective lines of communication in order to work together over time. Easier said than done, but some of the best lessons come from the process. Publicly-engaged work requires curiosity imbued with flexibility.
Why is the Office for Outreach and Engagement in the Division of Continuing Education?
The unit that eventually became Continuing Education began in 1912; the Department of University Extension, as it was called, was established to make CU (only the Boulder campus existed at that time) accessible to people around Colorado. So, outreach and engagement was an institutional priority as early as 1912, eventually leading to significant expansion of the university’s reach. I’m proud that Continuing Education holds so much of the university’s history and has stewarded how we serve all the citizens of our state–whether through community-engaged research, educating students at various stages of their lives, or innovating the delivery of online education. Our division is an essential bridge to the public and what they seek from higher education. Continuing Education is proud to be the home of the Office for Outreach and Engagement, which through our support, along with that of the Offices of the Chancellor and the Provost, helps make this kind of work possible for our faculty, staff and students.
What can the Office for Outreach and Engagement offer campus?
The Office for Outreach and Engagement offers a wide range of support for community-engaged scholarship and outreach activities, including funding for projects, professional development workshops, and fellowships for faculty members, graduate students and staff members. The communications staff is there to help you tell your story, whether or not the office funds your outreach and engagement work. There’s also a website dedicated to listing CU Boulder’s outreach and engagement projects and events. It’s a great database that shares collaborations (currently over 200 ) between our campus and local, state, national and global partners. This office is about supporting connections that have the potential to enhance and advance a wide range of community-based work. I encourage everyone to visit the website and contact one of the staff today. Sometimes I think this office and its services might be among the best-kept secrets on campus. Given the importance of its work, I hope we can change that.