Public Engagement


Public Engagement

What we do

One of the College’s goals is to deepen a culture of engagement for our alumni, community and state. Public engagement within CLA provides leadership for the College’s engagement efforts. This includes helping to build an infrastructure to better support existing engagement efforts, promoting opportunities within the College that expand engagement, and building connections with members of the community to people who can respond to their community’s or organization’s needs. Our community is a diverse one that includes nonprofits, arts organizations, corporations, and governmental agencies, among other organizations.

We collaborate closely with the University's Office of Public Engagement to advance the College’s engagement efforts. 

How we can help you

  • connect you with organizations within our community
  • facilitate bringing community members to campus for an event
  • promote public engagement events hosted by your unit

How you can be involved

Public engagement within CLA has many aspects, including some of the following, which provide opportunities for CLA staff and faculty to be involved.

Big Questions

We collaborate with Minnesota Public Radio News on a public discussion series called Big Questions. We hope to foster thoughtful discussion through a liberal arts lens, bringing multiple and diverse perspectives to bear on today's pressing questions. 

Big Questions topics are chosen in part to attract a student audience, but are also intended to be of interest to the larger community. Big Questions events typically take place on campus, are free and open to the public, and feature at least one CLA faculty member.

CLA Day of Service

Each year in September or October the University of Minnesota Alumni Association sponsors a Day of Service for alumni to engage in community service in the Twin Cities, as well as other places around the nation. CLA also sponsors a Day of Service project on the same day. We encourage all of our CLA community—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—to participate.

Minnesota State Fair

Each year we invite departments and centers to showcase their work to the broader Minnesota community by exhibiting at the U of M Building at the State Fair.

Service-Learning Courses

The Center for Community-Engaged Learning can work with faculty who would like to incorporate community involvement into their courses.

State History Day

We have a longstanding collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society related to State History Day. State History Day culminates in a competition hosted on campus in the spring and is preceded by a series of regional competitions that determine who gets to compete at State History Day. Faculty and staff are invited to serve as a judges serve as judges at one of the competitions.

Step-Up Interns

Through a partnership with Achieve Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, CLA units can host high school aged interns during the summer. The Step-Up Program provides work readiness training and on-the-job experience for Minneapolis youth.

Why it matters

Public engagement is strongly aligned with the University’s Land Grant mission and enables us to leverage our unique faculty expertise and other resources to address issues that are important to our community at the local, regional, state, national, and even international levels. Our public engagement efforts can be one of our defining features, one that helps us attract the best faculty and students, as well as additional private support. 

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