TU in the Community

Partnership Activities & Definitions

Below are some examples of the types of activities that our partnerships may include.

Community Engagement

Community Engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources (Carnegie, 2006).

Type of Activity Definition Example
Service-learning Service-learning is a form of experiential learning in which students do projects in the community to supplement their learning in the classroom. Service-learning can include civic engagement initiatives and other practical experiences for students. An allied health professions class where students learn about food systems in Baltimore, including food deserts and lack of quality food in certain areas, while also getting the chance to apply what they have learned by volunteering outside of class at a local food pantry and an urban garden.
Internships, practicums, or clinicals Internships, practicums, and clinicals are short-term professional experiences that students complete at organizations around the region. Organizations include businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and even offices on campus. Internships can be paid or unpaid and completed for credit or for experience only. A student who is interning at a social services agency and is gaining experience working with clients and critically thinking about how to make processes more efficient.
Community-relevant research This is research on the issues facing our community and involves the community in each stage of the research process. It aims to produce outputs/outcomes of both academic and community value and can include a variety of research methods, such as community-based research. A faculty member performing anthropological research about the effect of urban decline in collaboration with city residents.
Economic development These activities are done to promote the economic well-being of the community and region surrounding the university. Partner organizations in economic development initiatives can include governmental agencies, businesses, and non-profits. Economic development can include talent attraction activities aimed at drawing talented individuals to the region. The University working with area organizations and businesses to develop an internship program that addresses critical skills gaps in the state and region.
Leadership & civic engagement These activities are an outcome of the teaching agenda that produces students who are civically engaged and who are prepared to be leaders in their communities. This category encompasses active citizenship, community involvement, awareness of social issues and injustices, and the development of personal and social responsibility. Faculty and students at the university working with environmental leaders from around the region to organize an environmental conference that addresses the impact of individuals and communities on the environment.

Community Outreach

Community outreach describes services that are carried out by the University for/in the community, rather than with the community.

Type of Activity Definition Example
Community service Community service is completed at a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, or serves a community or skill in need, without receiving payment or remuneration for services completed. Community service projects are traditionally not tied to scholarship, teaching, learning, and/or research and the community is more a recipient of the service or activity rather than a co-creator or partner. A one-day volunteer event where students perform services, such as yard work, cleaning, and small home repairs, for residents in the neighborhoods surrounding campus.
Applied research & contractual services This is research, usually performed by professional staff members, that is focused on solving practical or technical problems for clients such as businesses, government, and non-profits. Services include business and economic analyses, project management, application development, GIS mapping, event planning, and more and are based on contractual agreements (fee-based or free). A GIS center working with the state department of natural resources to create a mapping application that centralizes information and data about shoreline and coastal management for public use.
Extension programs and trainings These programs extend educational or other university resources to the community. This category includes customized workforce training programs designed to address critical skill gaps in the state and region. Services include curriculum development, learning management, and facilitator training. A university continuing education center developing and implementing a training program for area teachers to learn about the latest information technology equipment and networking.
Social and community development Social and community development initiatives seek to build stronger, more resilient communities by empowering citizens to effect change in their own communities. Activities in this category include neighborhood revitalization initiatives that aim to stabilize neighborhoods and promote a higher quality of life for residents. A program that provides health screenings to citizens of a community in order to match them with needed services.


Phone: 877-TU-Link-4U or 410-704-2678
Fax: 410-704-2152
E-mail: TUintheCommunity@towson.edu

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Last Updated: Friday March 07, 2014