In spring 2011, Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) President established a renewed commitment to community engagement. To move this initiative forward he asked a group of faculty and staff led by then Faculty Executive Assistant to the President, Jorge Perez, to explore what an "engaged university" might entail. The group, later to be recognized as Engage KSU, was charged with "promoting collaboration between Kennesaw State and its larger communities ... for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity."
Perez led the group until he completed his term as the Faculty Executive Assistant to the President in Spring 2012. In fall 2012, Dr. Maureen McCarthy became the Faculty Executive Assistant to the President and assumed leadership of the Engage KSU team. Under her leadership the group conducted a major survey to gauge the depth and breadth of KSU’s off-campus connections, finalized a communication plan for Engage KSU, developed an internal website for the project, identified the need, conducted a search and ultimately hired KSU’s first Executive Director of Community Engagement.
In August of 2013, Brian M. Wooten, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Student Leadership, became the first Executive Director of the new Office of Community Engagement. The Office of Community Engagement was established:
- To identify the various ways KSU is already connected to the community
- To recognize and celebrate existing partnerships, programs, & activities
- To establish a support system that will enhance current initiatives while establishing new methods for faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, & retirees to easily connect with the community in mutually beneficial partnerships.
In April 2014, the OCE completed its application for the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Elective Classification. To learn more about this classification and view a full version of the application, please see Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
During the fall of 2014, the OCE began its Strategic Planning process which will help to define the direction of the office in the years to come.