Duquesne and Community Leaders Collaborate to Enhance Engagement

Duquesne's Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research (CETR) has enlisted local community leaders as part of its new planning process to strengthen the University's relationships in and involvement with Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. The project was made possible by an anonymous grant.

Community leaders including Grant Ervin, chief resiliency officer for the City of Pittsburgh, Bill Generett, president and CEO of Urban Innovation 21 and Sunanna Chand, learning innovation strategist of Remake Learning are among those who've been tapped by CETR to collaborate with Duquesne administrators, faculty and staff to identify which of the University's significant assets and resources can be even better matched with the concerns and needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Additional community members on the committee include Rod Harris, deputy director of Community Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the Allegheny County Health Department, and Terri Baltimore, vice president of neighborhood development for the Hill House Association.

"Duquesne University has a long tradition of meaningful and sustained community involvement, flowing from our Spiritan founders' Catholic mission," said Duquesne President Ken Gormley. "We are thrilled to launch this new initiative, taking advantage of the expertise of top community leaders to widen the reach of the University's impact and service here in the local Pittsburgh community."

CETR supports community-engaged teaching, learning, and research that promote knowledge creation, civic development and community transformation. The Center supports and facilitates partnerships and activities among faculty, students and community partners with the aim of positively impacting the community.

"I have seen first-hand the power and promise of Duquesne University's successful community engagement efforts. These efforts have and continue to increase the quality of life of some of our region's most vulnerable communities," said Gennerett.  "Urban Innovation21 is just one small example of the many community-based efforts that would not have happened without the University's support. As the Pittsburgh region's economy continues to grow its economy, we must accelerate our work to make sure our most vulnerable communities are not left behind. Through this strategic planning process, I am excited to help CETR build upon the University's solid community engagement foundation."    

Representatives from Duquesne's Offices of the President, Mission and Identity, and Research, as well as the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Advancement, deans and the University's endowed chairs in mission and global competitiveness will participate in the project.

The committee will be led by a team of external consultants that includes Nancy Franklin of Franklin Solutions; Jamillia Kamara formerly of Public Allies; and Megan Good, formerly of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.

"Together, this team of consultants understands the national landscape of community engagement practices within higher education and has intimate knowledge of the assets and strengths found within Pittsburgh's communities," explained Dr. Lina Dostilio, director of CETR.

Duquesne University has a rich history of serving the region, its people and community partners through initiatives such as the Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education and its eight community clinics; the Duquesne University Pharmacy in the Hill District; and the Community-Based Health and Wellness Center for Older Adults, among others.

The University continues to be one of the nation's select institutions to receive the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's Community Engagement Classification because of its engagement with neighborhood communities through teaching, research, student volunteerism, economic development involvement, and public-serving centers and institutes.

The committee, which meets for the first time in August, will work on the planning process through June 2017.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.