The Vice Provost Awards for Excellence celebration showcases exceptional outreach and engagement projects. The Vice Provost Awards for Excellence were created in 2007 by Scott Reed, Vice Provost of University Outreach and Engagement, to encourage and reward efforts to create and nurture healthy communities, a healthy planet, and a healthy economy. These awards celebrate the co-creation of problem-solving action that addresses the needs and priorities of a specific community, county, region, state, or beyond.
The 2019 awards were held on May 2 in the Memorial Union Ballroom.
2019 Award-winning Outreach and Engagement Projects
Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic is Oregon’s first – and only – interdisciplinary, student-run clinic for the underserved. It is led by students in the College of Pharmacy in partnership with Transitions Projects, Inc., a Portland Metro area organization that provides services, resources and tools to help individuals transition from homelessness to housing. Understanding the needs of the community is one of the first places to start engagement work. An initial survey determined the population in need. The clinic’s Quality Improvement team continues to collect feedback. See awards program for complete description.
Forest fire is increasingly a part of our lives. To protect communities vulnerable to fire was the impetus for the creation of the Citizen Fire Academy. The academy trains citizens with an interest in learning about wildfire preparedness and sharing their knowledge with others to create fire-adapted communities. Partnerships were essential for determining the information that local residents needed to encourage firewise communities and fuels reduction, as well as program implementation. See awards program for complete description.
What started as a casual conversation has evolved into an annual series of collaborative experiments in collective education, the largest of which is the Corvallis Maker Fair, which has drawn thousands of attendees and hundreds of volunteers since its inception. The leadership team of The CO• draws people from multiple colleges and from the community. This effort exemplifies the often cross-disciplinary nature of outreach and engagement work. It also exemplifies hands-on learning that reaches across the age spectrum and bridges on- and off-campus entities and high tech, low tech and no tech makers. See awards program for complete description.
The Environmental Leadership for Youth program has a reach far beyond the youth participating in the four multi-day training workshops. Connecting youth from underserved communities with Willamette Valley watershed councils is creating positive impacts that will reverberate for years into the future. The staff of watershed councils are better prepared to work with more diverse clientele, and youth from communities that historically have limited knowledge of water, watersheds, environmental issues and ecosystem services hone their leadership skills and scientific knowledge, as well as increasing their interest in careers related to natural resources and the environment. See awards program for complete description.
Feed the Future Aqua Lab exemplifies co-creation and collaborative research, a foundational element of outreach and engagement. The AquaFish Innovation Lab in the College of Agricultural Sciences made an impact felt around the world. It helped the world’s poor by improving aquatic food systems for nutritional and income benefits. By sharing local and expert knowledge, they addressed the competing needs of farmers, underserved populations, government, universities, NGOs, and private companies. See awards program for complete description.
This project utilized engaged scholarship to the max to help the fishing industry create an ocean condition forecasting tool used for safety and economic decisions. Commercial fishermen were instrumental in assessing challenges, identifying practical approaches, encouraging the participation of other fishermen, and serving as sounding boards for OSU and Oregon Sea Grant researchers. See awards program for complete description.
“It takes a village” is an apt description of what it takes to move a less than thriving community to one that exudes vitality. Blue Zones are communities where people live long lives with few chronic health conditions. Four Oregon regions have been working on becoming Blue Zones Demonstration communities with the help of OSU Extension Service by looking at food supply and resiliency, community safety, and the activity level and social fabric of its citizens, among other elements. The Dalles, Klamath, Grants Pass, and Umpqua are striving to become Blue Zone communities to help their citizens thrive. See awards program for complete description.
Imported pests can create havoc and economic and environmental devastation. The emerald ash borer is one such pest. An early detector model was used as the basis of the Oregon Forest Pest Detector in 2014 as emerald ash borer crept toward Oregon from the east. OSU Extension worked with expert partners to co-create curriculum and a hands-on field course with simulated pest damage. The field course format may be unique among first detector-type educational programs. See awards program for complete description.
More than 30 OSU students headed to the hurricane devastated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to help renew and rebuild a school’s agriculture education program with students, faculty and community members from the city of San Sebastian. This was a transformative learning experience for everyone involved from the U.S. and from Puerto Rico. Close collaboration resulted in a new roof and accessible sidewalk for the ag program, debris removal from school grounds, the piloting of a new bilingual curriculum, and restoration of garden and crop areas at the school for class and community use. See awards program for complete description.
Supporting minoritized youth, students from low-income households, and those who would be first generation STEM college students are the focus of the OSU precollege SMILE program. SMILE is an acronym for Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience. Created three decades ago, the program is a collaboration with school districts from across the state and OSU researchers. Over the past 31 years, SMILE has served about 9,500 students. See awards program for complete description.
Failing Forward Award
It’s not often we celebrate our failures. And probably even less often that we celebrate failure in a positive way…in a public forum. But that’s what we did with the inaugural Outreach and Engagement Failing Forward award. If we don’t try new approaches, if we don’t take risks, and if we aren’t flexible, we won’t be responsive to the changing needs of our communities, which risks irrelevancy. Members of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Diversity and Inclusion Committee saw the need to support the professional development of future ecologists – including social capital – from traditionally underrepresented communities. The goal was to increase access to graduate school for domestic students from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic-cultural groups, both by helping them attain technical skills and by providing them that “insider connection” that helps socially-credential them among prospective graduate school mentors. There were a few missteps the first year, but lessons were learned and improvements were made for future success.