In 2011, a group of faculty convened to institutionalize and expand support for community engagement as part of Goal 3 of KSU's 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. The committee, which became known 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."
Five working teams – engaged teaching, engaged scholarship, engaged service, partnerships and networks, and structures and resources – were created to move Engage KSU forward. The teams (composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners) met regularly for 18 months to plan and implement initiatives to highlight and support community engagement. The teaching team examined current community-engaged courses and drafted guidelines to designate them as such. The engaged scholarship team provided in-service training and developed videos to highlight current scholarship of engagement and assist faculty in launching new projects with community partners. The engaged service team determined barriers inhibiting staff and students from greater community engagement, with the long-term goal of reducing barriers. The partnerships and networks team conducted focus groups with current and potential community partners to learn about working more collaboratively. The structures and resources team studied aspirational models, developed the initial Engage KSU website, and proposed structures that would meet KSU's goals within the university's budget constraints.
The OCE was established in response to Engage KSU's recommendations in order to:
- Identify the various ways KSU is already connected to the community
- Recognize and celebrate existing partnerships, programs, and activities
- Establish a support system to enhance current initiatives while establishing new methods for faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, and retirees to easily connect with the community in mutually beneficial partnerships
More information on Engage KSU can be found at Engage KSU.