Based on recommendations from its new strategic plan, the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning is beginning the 2021 calendar year with a new name—the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE).
“We are excited to move forward with our name change,” said Center Director Dr. Katy Strzepek, Ph.D. ’18. “We believe that our new name is a better fit for the work and purpose of the center.”
The center was formally established in 2017 to support the University’s core value of civic engagement. Community engagement and service learning, as referenced in the Center’s original name, are only two of the many forms of civic engagement.
“Our new name will reflect the broader range of civic engagement activities we support and encourage across the University,” said Strzepek. “Not only was our original name difficult for many individuals to remember, but it also excluded other important aspects of civic engagement such as philanthropy, advocacy, and political engagement. Simply put, our new name ties directly to the University’s core value we support and encompasses the broader range of civic engagement efforts we encourage.”
Harriett Steinbach, M.S. ’05, assistant director at CCE, led staff members through the creation of a draft of the center’s new strategic plan prior to Strzepek joining the team in early February 2020. “It is important for all organizations and departments to have a strategic plan to guide in decision-making, annual planning, and resource allocation,” Steinbach said. “It was especially important for CCE because we are tasked with supporting and advancing the University’s core value of civic engagement which extends far beyond the direct work of our staff.”
In creating the draft plan, CESL staff reviewed a wide variety of university documents, including the University’s strategic plan, each college’s strategic plan, the Division of Student Affairs’ strategic plan, University civic engagement documents, and reports prepared between 2014 and 2017. CCE staff also reviewed several documents from external organizations to note best practices and trends in civic engagement within higher education.
Literature and data review took place in the summer and fall of 2019. Key stakeholders, including community partners, provided input through an online, open-ended survey in September. CCE staff then took all of that information into consideration when drafting the strategic plan in late fall and winter.
Staff gathered University-wide feedback on the draft plan early in 2020. The draft was revised as appropriate, and the new strategic plan officially went into effect with the new fiscal year on July 1, 2020.
New advisory board established
Another important outcome from CCE’s strategic planning process is the creation of the new Civic Engagement Advisory Board. The creation of the board was also a recommendation from the Carnegie Foundation in response to the University’s application for and receipt of the Foundation’s Elective Community Engagement Classification.
“The Advisory Board was created to further advance and institutionalize Illinois State University’s commitment to civic engagement,” said Strzepek. “The board works to develop cross-departmental and interdisciplinary collaborations that will help to elevate curricular and co-curricular civic and community engagement initiatives at Illinois State. The board will recommend policies, procedures, and practices that support the center and the campus. Board members will also work to nurture partnerships with the local community with the primary goal of facilitating reciprocal and mutually beneficial opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the community.”
The inaugural Advisory Board is composed of individuals from a range of university schools, divisions, and departments. Some Advisory Board members were also part of the task force that completed the application for the Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Community Engagement Classification in 2019.
Advisory Board members are:
- Dr. James Applegate, visiting professor, Center for the Study of Education Policy
- Dr. Becky Beucher, assistant professor, School of Teaching and Learning,
- Beverly Beyer, senior associate director, Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development
- Dr. Kirsten Clerkin, instructional assistant professor, Mennonite College of Nursing
- Dr. Yojanna Cuenca-Carlino, assistant vice president for Academic Administration, Division of Academic Affairs
- Joshua Crockett, senior, political science
- Dr. Bekky Darner; director; Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology
- Cheryl Fogler; assistant director; Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis
- Dr. Jennifer Friberg; interim director; Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
- Liz German, CEO/president, YWCA of McLean County
- Dr. Joseph Goodman, associate professor, Department of Management and Quantitative Methods
- Dr. Lynne Haeffele, director, Center for the Study of Education Policy
- Dr. Doris Houston, interim assistant to the president for Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the President
- Dr. Elahe Javadi, associate professor, School of Information Technology
- Chad Kahl, associate dean for Public Services and Technology, Milner Library
- Dr. Lance Lippert, professor, School of Communication
- Dr. Danielle Miller-Schuster, assistant vice president, Division of Student Affairs
- Dr. Christa Platt, director, Multicultural Center
- Elisabeth Reed, director, Office of Sustainability
- Dr. Ryan Smith, director, University Assessment Services
- Janet Tulley, assistant dean, Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts
- Dr. Maria Luisa Zamudio, executive director, National Center for Urban Education
Based in part on recommendations from the Carnegie Foundation application, the Advisory Board will have three primary focus areas for the coming year. These areas including defining service and civic engagement for Illinois State, integrating civic engagement in the General Education curriculum, and incorporating civic engagement into faculty Appointment, Salary, Promotion, and Tenure (ASPT) processes.
In addition to the new Civic Engagement Advisory Board, CCE staff will also regularly consult with their Community Consulting Board, composed of individuals from community partner organizations, and their Civic Engagement Ambassadors, civic engagement advocates from departments across campus.
“I am grateful to work with wonderful civic engagement champions from across the campus and community,” said Strzepek, “and I’m looking forward to our collaborations over the next year.”