Dear Friends & Colleagues:
As we embark upon 2021, I hope this new year finds you safe and well. My hope, too, is that we may return to some sense of normalcy by the summer. And let me say that I do use the word “normalcy” lightly. This past year has taught us many lessons, and I hope that the “normal” we find around the corner is not the same “normal” we left in March 2020.
I hope the warm embrace of close friends feels the same as it did many months ago, but the past 10 months have changed us—hopefully for the better. Like many of you, I’ve reflected upon lessons learned about what to work toward.
One of those lessons has been recognizing that higher education’s role in community engagement has never been more important. From critical thinking to connecting across differences to problem-solving to democratic values to workforce and economic development, community engagement is the hallmark of place-based experiences for our faculty and students. This was true in pre-pandemic life, but it must move to the forefront in the post-pandemic society.
Another lesson I was reminded of is the power of partnerships. This work cannot be done alone, and although we have had to connect via Zoom and become creative in how we operate, we did it together and are coming out stronger on the other side.
At Indiana Campus Compact, we have stayed true to our shared value of partnerships in the program and funding opportunities available to you for this spring and summer. One example is our collaboration with the Independent Colleges of Indiana and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to plan this year’s Summit. This virtual event on February 24th, 25th, and 26th will include keynotes from Dr. Zahra Ahmed and Dr. Andrew Furco, and there will be a joint community engagement awards ceremony among the three partnering organizations.
Of course, The Summit is only one example. Our hope is that you will find the right program or funding opportunity to suit your community engagement work. While all of these experiences will continue to find us connecting virtually, our goal is for you not to be alone in your work. Please remember that we are always a click—or a phone call—away.
Be safe and be well, and in partnership –
J.R. Jamison, MAEd