A Presidential Engagement Professorship and three other initiatives represent the newest activities related to the Engaged University designation awarded to NIU last year by the Carnegie Foundation.
The Engagement Professorship joins two other presidential awards for senior NIU faculty: the Presidential Research Professorship and the Presidential Teaching Professorship.
Other Fall 2010 engagement activities include an application to the Carnegie Foundation for Engaged University recognition in “Curricular Engagement,” service learning initiatives and the ENGAGE! website.
The Presidential Engagement Professorship will recognize professors for their commitment to community partnerships, demonstrated excellence in service that benefits both partners and the university, and national or international acclaim for the results of their engagement efforts. Nominations for the newest faculty award are due by Monday, Oct. 18, to the office of Anne Kaplan, vice-president for Administration and University Outreach.
NIU President John G. Peters called the Engagement Professorship a welcome addition to existing faculty recognition.
“NIU faculty members have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of life in local communities and to the vitality of the region as a whole,” Peters said. “This award will recognize those efforts and put the spotlight on NIU’s integral role in the ongoing development of this global region.”
Engagement Professors will each receive awards similar to those for other presidential honors, including a $2,000 salary increment, four grants of $5,000 per year for engagement initiatives and a course release for work related to engagement.
Involvement of students will play a role in the awards. Members of the selection committee will place a special emphasis on recognizing faculty members who have included students in projects of direct benefit to local, national and international communities. Students may nominate faculty members with whom they have worked on external projects.
A second Fall 2010 engagement initiative involves an application for a second Carnegie designation.
Last year, NIU received the Engaged University designation for Outreach and Partnerships. In September, NIU submitted an application to Carnegie for recognition in Curricular Engagement, a designation which focuses on the ways that instructional activities enrich students’ education by hands-on applications of critical thinking, communications, and creativity to real-world problems.
“The energetic implementation of strategic planning recommendations, especially by the Curricular Innovations Task Force, should position NIU for this second Carnegie recognition,” Provost Ray Alden said. “A wide range of curricular engagement activities are available to NIU students. Department chairs and faculty members worked with us over the summer to assemble the application.”
Carnegie’s definition of curricular engagement emphasizes service learning. Starting next year, service learning courses will carry a special designator in the NIU course listings, so that students are able to identify courses that include hands-on, off-campus learning activities.
Finally, ENGAGE! was launched at the end of August.
This new system helps to connect NIU faculty and students with community needs. Developed as an outgrowth of the Carnegie Engagement application, this new site provides a central location for students seeking volunteer and service learning opportunities, faculty members looking for partners and community members looking for experts and resources at NIU.