Lunch & Learns

The BTU Lunch & Learn series is a chance for faculty and staff to tap into BTU, expand engaged work, and learn best practices from colleagues who are successfully doing the work.

The BTU Lunch & Learn sessions explore best practices of community engagement efforts using successful examples as a framework and active discussions to explore community engagement at TU. Join us to:

  • Recognize benefits of community engagement
  • Identify resources and best practices
  • Avoid common pitfalls
  • Increase the impact and visibility of BTU partnerships
  • Hone community engagement work

Fall 2023 BTU Lunch & Learns

Utilizing Interactive Mapping with TU's Center for GIS

Thursday, October 26, 12–1:30 p.m.

oin Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist Arianna Cacic from TU's Center for GIS and Basic Needs Hub Coordinator Faith Borras for a presentation on the recent collaboration to create the TU Food Security Map, an interactive web map that connects TU community members with local food assistance resources. Come learn about the project and the process of creating the map and see if a partnership with the Center for GIS could support your mapping needs.  

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Consciously Supporting POC-Led Organizations

Wednesday, November 8, 12–1:30 p.m.

Dr. Zosha Stuckey & Dr. Carrie Grant have been working closely with minority-led nonprofits for many years in connection to their leadership of the Grantwriting in Valued Environments program (G.I.V.E.) at Towson University. Through their experiences, they have developed a framework for conscientiously forging new partnerships, developing cultural competence, navigating relationships, and emphasizing community outcomes, all with equitable resource access in mind. Join them to receive practical advice and tools, and to consider questions to ask yourself when engaging with POC-led organizations and communities.

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Partnership & Community Engagement Best Practices

Wednesday, December 6, 12–1:30 p.m.

Many Towson University faculty, staff, and students are engaging with community partners and organizations to enhance educational experiences and to make positive impacts on our neighboring communities. One of our responsibilities, as an anchor institution, is to make sure that our community engagement and partnership work is approached and implemented with clear best practices and principles at the forefront. Join Kathleen Crostic, Assistant Director of Partnerships & Engagement and Shannon Cheek, Coordinator for Student Community Engagement for a discussion around the best practices and principles to guide your work as you start or grow your community engagement work. 

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Past Lunch & Learn Events

Join Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists, Christina Nemphos and Ariana Cacic, from TU's Center for GIS to learn what StoryMaps are, how they can be utilized, and how to build your own. Through ArcGIS, users can leverage spatial data to create  professional maps to be used for teaching, sharing research, highlighting social and environmental issues, and creating presentations. Check out this gallery of StoryMaps for ideas on how others have utilized them. 

This presentation will include an interactive demo. Although not required, attendees are welcome to bring laptops to work alongside the facilitators. TU faculty, staff, and students are all eligible for ArcGIS Online accounts needed to create StoryMaps. Accounts will be set up for all registered attendees prior to the event.

Join the BTU Team and faculty and community leads on how the inaugural cohort of the Towson Inquiry Grants for Undergraduate Research in Summer (TIGURS) engaged in qualitative research, community engagement, novel design techniques and fieldwork; and discuss how faculty can engage with the 2023 cohort as TU works toward achieving a Carnegie Research Classification of R2: Doctoral University–High Research Activity.

Speakers include:

  • Clare Muhoro, associate provost for academic affairs; professor, chemistry
  • Matthew Durington, executive director for community engagement and partnerships; professor, anthropology
  • Alexei Kolesnikov, director of undergraduate research; professor, mathematics
  • Samuel Collins, professor, anthropology
  • Suranjan Chakraborty, professor, computer and information sciences
  • Heather Hax, lecturer, sociology
  • Terris King II, founder of Temple X and Director of Schools

Join the BTU Team and Provost Perreault for our next lunch and learn to discover what other R2 institutions are doing in relation to community-based research and dialogue on furthering the R2 agenda.

Join the BTU Team for our next Lunch & Learn to learn more about the Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity (OIIE) and the Center for Student Diversity (CSD), to meet new team members, and to explore how BTU intersects with these departments. We'll also highlight how community engagement is implemented through a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens. Bring your ideas for possible programming and workshops that focus on DEI that our three departments can help support.

BTU supports the work of TU faculty, staff and students to sustain, scale, align, and institutionalize critical community-engagement efforts across campus and throughout the community. Come learn how current projects have grown with the strategic support of the BTU team and explore how you and your research/work can be supported. 

Watch Recording

Join the BTU Team to learn what new and continuing resources are available to faculty and staff doing community engagement work. New priorities and support opportunities will be shared, including expanding work with nonprofits, student employment/research support, economic inclusion efforts, and cross-campus collaborations. Join us for a tour of the new StarTUp at the Armory before this session!

Watch Recording

Learn about BTU support and programming for spring 2021. The BTU Team will provide an overview of and updates about BTU resources available for faculty/staff/students and innovative programming over the next several months.

Watch Recording

Nonprofit organizations matter to Maryland—they address critical community needs, advance the quality of life of Marylanders, and are a powerhouse for economic impact. In recent weeks and months, nonprofits have quickly adapted to meet the needs of their communities while working to sustain themselves.

Join the BTU partnerships team for a series of conversations that highlight area partners working beside TU faculty and staff to create positive impacts in our community.

Join Van Brooks, Towson University alumnus, Baltimore City native, and founder and executive director of Safe Alternative Foundation for Education, Inc. (SAFE) and Matthew Durington, director of community engagement and partnerships, for a discussion on SAFE's current work, the development of their new workforce development center, and how community members can create the change needed to end racism, discrimination, and injustice

Watch Recording

Nonprofit organizations matter to Maryland—they address critical community needs, advance the quality of life of Marylanders, and are a powerhouse for economic impact. In recent weeks and months, nonprofits have quickly adapted to meet the needs of their communities while working to sustain themselves.

Join the BTU partnerships team for a series of conversations that highlight area partners working beside TU faculty and staff to create positive impacts in our community.

On May 27, Melanie Kelleher, director of corporate relations at TU interviewed John Brothers and Sabrina Thornton from the T. Rowe Price Foundation. Their discussion covers the impact of COVID-19 on corporate giving, T. Rowe Price’s response to the crisis, and how corporate philanthropy will change in light of these challenging times.

Learn how the T. Rowe Price Foundation was able to quickly pivot to support the Baltimore community and how corporate philanthropic resources can enhance your organization’s disaster preparedness efforts during the COVID-19 process and beyond.

Watch Recording

Nonprofit organizations matter to Maryland—they address critical community needs, advance the quality of life of Marylanders, and are a powerhouse for economic impact. In recent weeks and months, nonprofits have quickly adapted to meet the needs of their communities while working to sustain themselves.

Join the BTU partnerships team for a series of conversations that highlight area nonprofits working beside TU faculty and staff to create positive impacts in our community.

Ardys Russakis, senior strategist for BTU and anchor initiatives at TU, for an interviewed with Kirsten Scofield, director of finance and administration at WTMD, to learn how TU's listener supported public radio station has shifted programming and fundraising efforts during this time. It's was also a great opportunity to tap into WTMD's resources and programs.

Watch Recording

Nonprofit organizations matter to Maryland—they address critical community needs, advance the quality of life of Marylanders, and are a powerhouse for economic impact. In recent weeks and months, nonprofits have quickly adapted to meet the needs of their communities while working to sustain themselves.

Join the BTU partnerships team for a series of conversations that highlight area nonprofits working beside TU faculty and staff to create positive impacts in our community.

A discussion on best practices, strategies and responsiveness of non-profits in Baltimore during a pandemic with Susan Malone, executive director of Wide Angle Youth Media and Matthew Durington, director of community engagement and partnerships at TU.

Watch Recording

A discussion with the BTU team and Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility around updates, best practices, and resources available for community engagement efforts.

Watch Recording

Featured Speakers

  • Matthew Durington, Ph.D., Director, Community Engagement and Partnerships
  • Ardys Russakis, Senior Strategist, BTU and Anchor Initiatives
  • Kathleen Crostic, Partnerships Manager
  • Tess Heron, Engagement Coordinator
  • Stephanie Austin, Assistant Director for Community Engagement
  • Luis Sierra, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement

Links shared in webinar

The first BTU Lunch & Learn of 2020 as was hosted by Melanie Perreault, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Towson University is creating a new strategic plan and BTU is hosting this forum for faculty and staff to offer ideas and input on work related to community engagement and partnerships.

This session included a brief discussion of the TU strategic plan followed by a facilitated discussion.

This Lunch and Learn will gather feedback and ideas from faculty and staff on the formation of Communities of Practice. This model for community engagement and partnership work will match TU faculty and staff with external partners to work towards mutually agreeable goals with BTU as the convener.

This model derives from a variety of sources, but has recently been piloted by Campus Compact. As they state, a community of practice is "a group of people who share interest in an area of inquiry and engage in collective learning about that issue as it relates to their work or practice. Through discussions, joint activities, and relationship building, the community of practice develops a shared and individual repertoire of resources, skills, and knowledge to use in their practice."

Using the five impact clusters developed through the BTU Presidential Priority as a starting point, we will brainstorm possible communities of practice to pilot in 2020. A white paper on a model for communities of practice at TU will be distributed to registered attendees in advance of the session.

Please bring your ideas and details on established community engagement and partnership work!

Featured Speaker

Matthew Durington, Ph.D.
Director for Community Engagement and Partnerships, Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research
Professor, Anthropology

Join representatives from four offices on the TU campus that provide resources to faculty. Each representative will provide a brief overview of their office followed by open format questioning for perspective projects by faculty.

Featured Speakers

During this session, University General Counsel Sara Slaff addressed liability and consent issues for faculty, staff, and students who conduct community and civic engagement work. She also discussed issues surrounding memorandums of understanding between the institution, faculty, and community collaborators.

There are multiple ways to developing, implementing, and assessing community engagement. Librarian Joyce Garczynski discussed her Community Engagement guide. Hosted on the Cook Library website, the guide details what different academic journals and professional associations say about community engagement. During this session, Garczynski connected the various disciplines of attendees to how their fields define community engagement, create methodologies for research, and dissemination of this type of work. Garczynski also discussed ways in which faculty can connect their community engagement work to promotion, tenure, reappointment and merit at Towson University, as well as extending this work to other audiences.

Dr. Jessica Shiller's "College of Education and Urban Education" partnership was identified as a BTU priority investment project for 2018–19. Shiller presented on her partnership work and discussed the curricula development of the project to create wrap around services for school children and her deliberative process for this social justice community engagement project.