The Community Engagement Working Group charged with reporting on Brown's contributions to Providence and the surrounding region has shared with me a set of recommendations for strengthening Brown's ongoing positive impact on our local communities.
For two and a half centuries, the health and vitality of Brown and that of Providence and Rhode Island have been deeply intertwined. And at the heart of any successful relationship between a university and the people and organizations in its host community is a commitment to productive engagement and partnership.
It was in that spirit that the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan, which aims to make Brown more fully diverse and inclusive, called for the creation of a working group to evaluate and report on the University's contributions to communities in Providence and throughout Rhode Island.
In the 2016-17 academic year, the Office of Government and Community Relations convened the Community Engagement Working Group, which is composed of key staff members from public-facing departments and centers across campus. The group created, distributed and analyzed results from a survey that sought to collect information about all of Brown's community engagement activities.
Our students, faculty and staff reported more than 460 activities through the survey, a testament to the exceptional commitment of the entire Brown community to ensuring the University's positive impact on the surrounding region. The majority of the activities fall into the broad category of education, reaffirming Brown's dedication to its core academic mission.
Aside from cataloguing Brown's positive community connections, the survey results also shed light on ways we can better support these existing efforts and strengthen our local partnerships. In particular, the results revealed the opportunity to more strategically coordinate disparate engagement efforts across the University, both to serve partners more effectively and to further Brown's educational mission.
Those findings and others are detailed more fully in the group's Report on Activities, available here:
The report concludes with two key recommendations: (1) that Brown develop a more strategic approach to education outreach, with an aligned mission, a statement of best practices, regular evaluation and a central point of contact at Brown for schools; and (2) that the University expand central resources to support community engagement throughout Brown, including establishing an engagement coordinator for the graduate and medical schools and establishing an initiative to promote community engagement stories.
This summer, we will convene a series of discussions between Brown's senior leadership team and members of the Community Engagement Working Group to fully evaluate the recommendations and determine a path forward. The members of the group have taken a critical first step in enhancing our partnerships locally, and I am grateful for their dedication.
I know I speak for all of us when I say that Brown remains deeply committed to investing in the success of our local community. I'm confident that together we can build upon our solid foundation of community engagement and further strengthen our partnerships across the vibrant city and state we call home.