St. Cloud State University Civic Action Plan

Executive Summary

Building an Engaged University

St. Cloud State University has a long-standing commitment to working with on- and off-campus constituents to address issues impacting our campus, community, and world. Our new strategic plan, “Building the 21st Century Engaged University” reflects our commitment to engaging students, engaging campus, and engaging communities as key to student success, program competitiveness, and our future sustainability. It is a recognition that our future success depends upon our ability to engage with our communities in meaningful ways, building an environment of synergistic successes and achievements for community and university.

Becoming an engaged university requires us to value reciprocal relationships that support the learning outcomes we expect for our students, while effectively responding to our constituents and the local, regional and global communities we serve.

Engaging with our communities provides rich learning laboratories for students, faculty and staff. These laboratories enhance student progress and development through experiential and applied learning, and create opportunities for scholarship and creative activities. The knowledge and understanding gained through these reciprocal relationships expands our ability to seek and apply innovative strategies to solve problems, to apply existing and new knowledge in service to and in collaboration with various communities.

As our commitment to become “the 21st Century Engaged University” becomes more visible, there will be a deeper understanding and familiarity with St. Cloud State University, a rich appreciation for the contributions and value of the university to the region and community, and enhanced pride and ownership in the educational enterprise, outreach, partnerships and service embedded in the institution. Successful implementation also will mean that St. Cloud State University has played a critical role in the ongoing health and vitality of our region and has become essential to its success.

Implementation Strategies

Objective 1: Prepare Students for Life, Work & Citizenship

SCSU Strategic Plan Alignment: This  objective provides opportunities to bring Our Husky Compact to life on our campus, with engagement being central to the personal and professional development of our students.

  • Embed civic action and public engagement experiences and learning opportunities across the curriculum and in every program as expressed through alignment with Our Husky Compact.
  • Promote the importance of community engagement to our students as an integral part of their personal and professional development.
  • Provide support to faculty and staff to develop community engagement opportunities for students through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
  • Develop and implement assessment methods to better understand student learning and the development and improvement of curricular and co-curricular experiences.
  • Communicate our commitment to public engagement as part of an SCSU education (via Our Husky Compact) through our recruitment materials, Huskies First Four and Reimagining the First Year efforts.

Objective 2: Build Partnerships for Change

SCSU Strategic Plan Alignment: “Deepening Reciprocal Partnerships” creates learning experiences and a programmatic portfolio that is relevant and responsive to the needs of our students and communities. What is our commitment as an anchor institution to addressing the social and economic needs of our community? How do we make this explicit in all aspects of the university through curriculum, research, and service?

  • Develop a clear entry portal for the external community for community engagement at St. Cloud State University for fostering effective external partnerships.
  • Develop a capacity to continuously assess the quality of our external partnerships.
  • Actively participate in community and regional planning activities and initiatives.
  • Annually recognize and celebrate community and university accomplishments and partnerships.

Objective 3: Harness our Capacity to Serve the Public Good

SCSU Strategic Plan Alignment: As a public university, we have responsibility to be Stewards of Place, a phrase the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU) uses to describe the unique role state college and universities play in the lives of their communities and regions. Our responsibility in the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the regions we serve is what defines us as an institution and will make us integral to the future success of the state of Minnesota and its residents.

  • Promote all forms of engaged scholarship through hiring, tenure and promotion practices. Align faculty and staff roles, positional responsibilities, recognition and rewards accordingly.
  • Cultivate an environment that supports the work of faculty and staff that supports the economic and social well-being of our region and the quality of life of its residents, especially as it relates to the Greater St. Cloud Community Pillars (http://www.greaterstcloud.com/community-pillars)
    • Community Engagement
    • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
    • Housing
    • Infrastructure
    • Economy
    • Safety
    • Education
    • Wellness
    • Green
  • Create a methodology to measure and communicate our on-going impact in our community. (See Outcomes and Measures in next section).

Objective 4: Create Infrastructure to Drive Community Engagement

SCSU Strategic Plan Alignment: We must create the capacity within the institution to be effectively and consistently engaged with community, increasing the capability of our organizational culture and continuously improving our systems and policies in order to facilitate faculty, staff, and student involvement in civic action and public engagement.

  • Promote the importance of community engagement to St. Cloud State University faculty and staff as part of expanding understanding and commitment to our Strategic Plan – “Building a 21st Century Engaged University.”
  • Create communication pathways to ensure user-friendly, efficient, equal access to campus and community-based shared resources and initiatives.
  • Develop and maintain electronic inventory for on- and off-campus partnerships, facilities, resources and projects.
  • Create a university clearinghouse for civic action and public engagement efforts as a resource for development of partnerships and to measure impact.
  • Develop a Community Advisory Council to the SCSU President.
  • Identify an organizational structure that has responsibility for facilitating the overall university community engagement work.

Outcomes and Measures

It is important that the outcomes and measures developed for St. Cloud State University’s Civic Action and Public Engagement Plan tightly align with our new Strategic Plan “Building a 21st Century Engaged University”.  Following is a cross-walk of the relevant measures from our Strategic Plan and the Objectives of St. Cloud State University’s Civic Action and Public Engagement Plan.

Civic Action Plan & Public Engagement Plan Objective: Prepare Students for Citizenship
Strategic Action Plan Measure:
Student Learning as Measured through Our Husky Compact:

  • Engage as a Member of a Diverse and Multicultural World
  • Act with Personal Integrity and Civic Responsibility

Quality of Field-based Learning Experiences (student)
SCSU student voter participation
SCSU student volunteer hours

Civic Action Plan & Public Engagement Plan Objective: Build Partnerships for Change
Strategic Action Plan Measure:
Quality of Field-based Learning Experiences (partner)
Reciprocal Partnership Satisfaction (qualitative and quantitative)
Transfer Institution

  • Partnership Satisfaction
  • % of programs with seamless transfer

International Partner Institutions

  • Partnership Satisfaction

# of strategic institutional partners as defined by measurement rubric

Civic Action Plan & Public Engagement Plan Objective: Harness our Capacity to Serve the Public Good
Strategic Action Plan Measure:
St. Cloud State Economic Impact
Cultural and Social Impact (measured in partnership with the St. Cloud Community Pillars)

  • Community Engagement: All people feel ownership in and connected to the broader community
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation: All people have opportunities to engage in and take advantage of cultural, entertainment, recreational and well-being activities
  • Housing: All people have affordable access to transportation and communication
  • Economy: All people benefit from an increase in employment, wages and business vitality
  • Safety: Everyone feels secure and free from crime
  • Education: All people have access to lifelong educational opportunities
  • Wellness: The community will create sustainable environments to encourage healthy choices and to support mental and physical well-being
  • Green: The entire community grows in an environmentally sustainable manner with respect to our land, water and air resources

Equity and Inclusiveness
Poverty

Civic Action Plan & Public Engagement Plan Objective: Create Infrastructure to Drive Community Engagement
Strategic Action Plan Measure:

  • % of students with an active experiential learning experience
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