Home » Alumni, Community, Engagement, UVU Administration

Civic Engagement

30 September 2011 3 Comments

Val Hale, vice president for UVU’s University Relations

You have all seen the billboards and bus ads proclaiming Utah Valley University an “engaged” university. What does that mean? One important component of engagement deals with the institution’s involvement with local communities. Essentially, we want to be both in the community and of the community.

We want to have close ties to local businesses, governments and non-profits. UVU desires to play the role of convener for local issues where different parties must be brought together to solve difficult issues.

President Matthew S. Holland has established an aggressive civic engagement program that is designed to keep the university tuned in to local issues and concerns. Beginning in September, President Holland began taking members of his Cabinet each month to visit key leaders of local communities.

The first meeting took place in Pleasant Grove and involved approximately 40 influential citizens from Pleasant Grove and Lindon. President Holland took advantage of the occasion to explain the Unique Educational Mission Initiative and talk about some of the equity funding challenges facing UVU. He concluded the event by asking about challenges facing Pleasant Grove and Lindon that UVU might be able to help solve.

Feedback from that first meeting was very favorable. Leaders were impressed that a university president would take time to visit their community and listen to their concerns. They were pleased to find out about the direction of the University. They understood more clearly that UVU is “Utah Valley’s University.”

The community visits are just one prong of a multi-pronged approach to civic engagement. The Community Relations Council has been active for seven years, bringing community members together to counsel with the President and university leaders about community issues and to serve as a sounding board for proposed university programs.

One of these new programs is the University Project, an institution-wide effort to address a single issue in our community that requires the creative and collaborative effort of faculty and students in partnership with business and civic leaders. Stay tuned for more information on this innovative new enterprise.

Another component of the Civic Engagement strategy is the Business Advisory Council that is being formed as part of the Business Engagement Strategy. These key business leaders will meet twice a year with President Holland to provide direction for UVU’s business and economic development efforts. Further, they will serve as advocates for UVU in political circles.

And, finally, an Engagement Council has been organized on campus to coordinate UVU’s off-campus efforts to engage with local entities. Luke Peterson was recently hired to oversee the Council and serve as the liaison between academics, university relations and local entities with which the University is developing partnerships. He will work closely with Val Hale, Brian Birch and Marc Archambault in planning and implementing partnering efforts with a variety of organizations, including businesses, civic organizations, local governments and humanitarian efforts.

Added together, these components make up a vibrant community engagement program that will put UVU increasingly in the Valley spotlight and will make the University more relevant and significant for our local communities.

— Val Hale

UVU University Relations
UVU Community Engagement

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  • Carl Wayman said:

    The commitment UVU makes to be an “engaged” University is true. I have had the opportunity as a senior at UVU to be engaged with our community. During the summer of 2011 I took a service learning digital media class. We were required to find a non profit and commit 20 hours. I had already worked with a government agency that helps people with developmental disabilities and thought they could use my help. The UDDC, Utah Developmental Disabilities council, needed a video to show at their 40th year celebration. From conception to finish the project went smoothly and my video was shown at their celebration with the lieutenant Governor and many other prominent members of the community in attendance. Not only did my work help me gain real world experience, I was able to promote my self and UVU as the type of student and university who are engaged in the community. As a result of my hard work I was also contacted for other videography work.

    I am just one of many students with similar success stories. Thanks to you and President Holland for making UVU a University that helps students not just with education but with real world experience.

    If your interested in seeing some of my video and photo work, all created during my time at UVU, go to http://www.RadiantVideography.com


    Carl Wayman
    UVU Senior

  • Scott Abbott said:

    Val, this feels like a strong statement about what a university is and what it might be. I especially like the outreach to citizens of Utah Valley. President Holland is uniquely able to explain our strengths and to ask for how we might serve local communities.

    In addition, our efforts reach larger communities. There are the big projects, like the engagement with China. And there are individual efforts as well.

    Leah Meyr, for instance, an Integrated Studies student with emphases in biology and environmental studies, is currently in the Seychelles Islands off the coast of Africa working with a group that is studying whale sharks, a species under some threat.

    And another IS student with emphases in business and peace and justice studies, Jessica Burnham, worked this summer in Geneva with a United Nations women’s group and just last week brought the head of an international organization promoting decent lives for girls to campus for a stirring lecture.

    A university is, at its best, a wonderful place to work.

    Scott Abbott
    Director of the Program in Integrated Studies

  • Stanley Klemetson said:

    It was the “engaged” university programs that impressed me most before I came to UVU. The university does offer significant benefits to the community, but those engaged activities also enrich the lives and educational opportunities of the faculty and students. UVU is creating a true partnership between the faculty and students at UVU and the community civic and business programs.

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