Friday, March 09, 2012

What is "Outreach and Engagement" other than a very well paid position?

Joyce Beatty, The Ohio State University Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, whose salary was $326,000, won the Democratic primary race for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday March 6, so she’s left her position. So, just what is “Outreach and Engagement” that it pays so well, that one would leave it to make even more in Congress, I wondered? I looked at what other universities did with departments named this, and am still baffled and confused, but it’s definitely well paid.

After reading through the various descriptions of O & E, and particularly what's going on at Michigan State which seems to be the most active, I think it's a way to get scholarly credit for faculty who are busy with off campus activities and need credit for promotion and tenure. So O & E was created with lots of big, squishy and undefinable words. I could be wrong about this, but it is a hodge podge from library, to extension, to on-line courses, to partnerships with businesses in the community. There don't seem to be any departments of Outreach and Engagement at Harvard and Yale or Cornell, or they may have it under a different term. University of Michigan includes the word Sciences in its department. The vaguest definition seemed to be Ohio State's (at the bottom).

[Michigan State] University Outreach and Engagement (UOE) is a campus-wide resource dedicated to helping faculty and academic units construct more extensive and effective engagement with the communities of our state, nation, and world . . . It involves generating, transmitting, applying, and preserving knowledge for the direct benefit of external audiences in ways that are consistent with university and disciplinary missions.

[Oregon State University] Outreach and Engagement at Oregon State University enhances access to enrichment and problem solving through reciprocal relationships for the exchange of knowledge and resources in partnership with individuals, communities, businesses, industries, government, and educational institutions.

[University of Illinois] "The term 'public engagement' reflects the reality that so much of what we do takes the form of faculty members collaborating with communities, agencies, and organizations to address critical issues. When our faculty, staff or students become involved in a public engagement project, they are entering into a contract, in which both they and those they engage with, have much to gain through the sharing of and creating, new knowledge to the benefit of both campus and community." Chancellor Richard Herman, September 2004

[James Madison University] Outreach & Engagement serves as a catalyst by utilizing JMU resources to create mutually beneficial partnerships, advance educational opportunities, and empower individuals and our extended communities.

[University of Colorado Boulder] 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.

[University of Minnesota] As one of the very few land-grant research universities located in an urban setting in the United States, the University of Minnesota has made a priority of discovering solutions to the many complex issues facing urban communities. Reflecting that vision is the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), housed in a renovated building in North Minneapolis in the heart of a highly diverse community. A new model for university-community engagement and urban problem solving, the center is home to a dozen University programs committed to research and problem-solving in authentic and engaged partnership with individuals and organizations in Northside communities.

[University of Southern Indiana] We serve individuals of all ages through noncredit programs, on-line learning opportunities, off-campus courses, dual credit programs for high school students, the Bachelor of General Studies program, certificate programs, continuing education for various professions, and more.

[University of Idaho] Through outreach, the University of Idaho develops engaged scholarship and student learning opportunities. Outreach adds value to our teaching and research activities by helping build partnerships with stakeholders in Idaho and beyond. Engagement at the University of Idaho involves two kinds of partnerships: internally, across colleges and disciplines and externally, with stakeholders in Idaho and beyond. Outreach occurs from every college on UI’s Moscow campus, the UI Library, and from each of the University’s physical locations around the state. Our outreach infrastructure includes 42 county Extension offices, UI Boise, UI Idaho Falls, UI Coeur d’Alene, multiple research and learning facilities, and the telecommunications infrastructure that bridges physical distance.

[The Ohio State University] Mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations are central to both the definition of outreach and engagement and how the Office of Outreach and Engagement does its work. We exist to work in collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and units to enrich Ohio State’s partnerships with the community and to embed outreach and engagement into colleges and departments. We are pleased to work with the following affiliated program: Service-Learning Initiative supports the integration of outreach and engagement into teaching.


R Johnson said...

I confess that the explanations don't tell me much. I have only worked in academe since 1958, so maybe I'm not experience enough to get the explanation. I understand outreach, in a theatre program half of what you do is outreach, and I know that we engage in all kinds of stuff, but I never had a vice president that helped me much.

nancy g said...

Your assumption that she will make more money in the new position may be faulty. I know several people who left 6 figure jobs for less well paying jobs and were ultimately VERY satisfied with their choices. I think that statement speaks to your thoughts on working in a university setting.

Norma said...

Based on the description of what the position was at OSU, she certainly wasn't worth that salary, and based on what congressmen and women are worth AFTER they leave Congress is what I was referring to--like Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Hastert.

Anonymous said...

Another university with a similary division is the University of Texas. In fact, the person that heads the division attended The Ohio State University some time ago.

When I heard that they were combining Diversity and Access with O & E I thought that it was a reasonable move since another large public research I institution had done the same thing years ago. I haven't much to say about the salary of Joyce Beatty when she held the position.

Norma said...

Checked her net worth in Feb. 2014, and it's about $3.5 million.