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The Eastern Echo Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

EMU Faculty present work promoting Engagement and Community

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The Faculty Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7 set up to present three works to the Board of Regents on how they improve engagement within the community. Overseeing the presentations and sitting in the center of the room were Provost and Executive Vice President Rhonda Longworth, and Regents Jim Webb and Rich Baird. 

Professor Jessica Alexander opened with how important EMU’s faculty engagement with the community is, followed by Dr. Celeste Hawkins and Dr. Sarah Van Zoeren’s “Making Youth Matter Mentoring” program, Director Bud Gibson’s emphasis on digital engagement, and Dr. Claudia Drossel’s Geropsychology Training presentation.

The three out of nineteen presentations requested to showcase are just snapshots of what faculty do to improve EMU and community surroundings.

In Alexander’s Faculty Engagement and Community presentation, she mentioned EMU’s hopes to enrich lives in a supportive, intellectually dynamic and diverse community. She emphasized the importance of real world awareness, institution of opportunity, and benefit the local and global communities.

“Our vision which is really to cultivate opportunities in the classroom and through faculty with your research and creativity to have community impact,” Alexander said.

The work that faculty do in and outside of the classroom also affirms the Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement. The classification highlights campuses dedicated to “improving teaching and learning and producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Hawkins and Van Zoeren highlighted their collaborative partnership with EMU and Ypsilanti Community Schools with the “Making Youth Matter Mentoring” program. They aim to create caring and supportive mentorships with EMU students with Ypsilanti youth to help promote healthy life choices.

“We came in because this is our school district, we are committed as a university to support the students in this school district,” Hawkins said.

In this program, EMU undergraduate and graduate students who are social work majors can fulfill their internship credit by participating in the program for two semesters.

Director Gibson from the Center of Digital Engagement presented his goals for the community with the use of digital tools to drive student outcomes and fund programming.

With the core resources like Ann Arbor SPARK, EMU alumni, and more, he hopes for 200 applicants to the summer clinic internship and 75 percent of intern placements move on to jobs in Southeast high-tech economy.

“The idea is, we as faculty can’t really oversee all of [future placements],” he said. “We can build a system that allows those people to continue to interact and continue to give value, and move forward in their careers.”

To conclude the meeting, Dr. Drossel presented the importance of Geropsychology Training at EMU. According to All Psychology Careers website, Geropsychology is a branch of psychology that seeks to address the concerns of older adults.

“We are reaching our goal of increase interest and appreciation,” Drossel said. “We provide the intensive training, group supervision and new trainings.”

All Board of Regents meetings on Thursday, Feb. 7 were held in Welch Hall. The next set of meetings will be held on Tuesday, April 23. For more information on the Board of Regents, visit them online at