BTU priority and emerging investments represent a significant cultural shift to sustain, scale, align, and institutionalize community engagement at Towson University.

Priority Investments

Priority investment funds are allocated as investments over a one to three-year period, focused on scaling, sustaining, aligning, and institutionalizing leading TU community engagement partnerships and projects. Funding is dependent on achieving benchmarks of success.

Ayfa students

College of Education and Urban Education

TU lead: Jessica Shiller, Ph.D., Dept. of Instructional Leadership & Professional Development
Partners: Baltimore City Public Schools, Afya Public Charter School, Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School, Forest Park High School

Using Baltimore City as a case study, students study how racial inequity in urban schools came to be and how to combat it. Students learn about community schools and spend time in them, working with community school coordinators in the school programming.

Diverse children on a playground

GIVE: Grantwriting in Valued Environments

TU lead: Zosha Stuckey, Ph.D., Dept. of English
Partners: Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park, North Korean Refugees in the United States, Safe Alternative Foundation for Education, Tubman House

This partnership advances students' professional writing goals by connecting their coursework to the writing needs of small non-profit organizations in the Baltimore/Washington region.

Elyshia Aseltine, Ph.D.

Supporting Returning Citizens at TU

TU lead: Elyshia Aseltine, Ph.D., Dept. of Criminal Justice
Partners: Baltimore County Detention Center, Goucher Prison Education Partnership, Harford County Detention Center, Jessup Correctional Institution, University of Baltimore Second Chance Program, Volunteers of America

Based off the successful creation of an increased Inside-Out cohort of TU faculty from emerging support in 2018–19, this project seeks to increase the capacity for formerly incarcerated individuals to access higher education and employment opportunities.

altimore City school students viewing oysters at the harbor

TEAB: Teaching Environmental Awareness in Baltimore

TU lead: Sarah Haines, Ph.D., Dept. of Biological Sciences
Partner: National Aquarium

This partnership enables Baltimore City school students to explore the environment of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Inner Harbor through hands-on experience at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

2019 TU-BCPS Model UN conference

TU-BCPS Model United Nations

TU lead: Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Ph.D., Dept. of Political Science
Partner: Baltimore County Public Schools

The TU-BCPS Model UN program provides equal access to civic engagement learning experiences for students in Baltimore County Public Schools while providing TU students with hands-on opportunities mentoring high school students.

Refugee high school students in the YAAAS! program

YAAAS! Youth Allies and Artists Taking Action in Society

TU lead: Kate Collins, Ph.D., Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts Infusion
Partners: Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project, Patterson High School

YAAAS! provides refugee high school students with safe, positive opportunities to collaborate one-on-one with TU students, increasing their global competencies.

Emerging Idea Investments

Emerging investment funds are allocated for a one-year period, focused on supporting new and emerging TU community partnerships and projects, connected to under-served populations.

TU students outside of the Baltimore County detention center

Inside-Out Prison Exchange

TU lead: Elyshia Aseltine, Ph.D., Dept. of Criminal Justice
Partners: Baltimore County Detention Center, Harford County Detention Center, Jessup Correctional Institution

Inside-Out courses provide unique opportunities to bring TU students and incarcerated students together inside a correctional institution to learn together as peers. This successful emerging investment has transformed into a larger priority investment to further develop and support returning citizens.

BCCC refugee youth working on a project with TU students

BCCC Refugee Youth Partnership

TU lead: Kate Collins, Ph.D., Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts Infusion
Partners: BCCC Refugee Youth Project, Patterson High School

This community engagement curricular project uses innovative curriculum to enable collaborative artmaking strategies that support and engage refugee youth in Baltimore. This emerging investment project has transformed into a priority investment focused on expanding community engagement with this population.

University broadens initiative to serve women at high school, collegiate and mid-career levels

Women's Leadership Collective

TU lead: Nancy Grasmick, Ph.D., Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation
Partner: Junior Achievement of Central Maryland

The Women’s Leadership Collective at Towson University provides leadership skills and experience to women throughout their academic and professional lives—while creating a collective of women supporting women.

Professor Dana Kollmann leads TU students on a forensic field study to help with a 39-year-old cold case in Kentucky

Advanced Forensics Field Investigations

TU lead: Dana Kollman, Ph.D., Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Partner: Bay Area Recovery Canines

This interdisciplinary project is centered in the work performed by students in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, who have had success searching for and recovering human remains at the request of law enforcement and forensic archaeologists.

TU students helping each other

Public Communication Center

TU lead: Desiree Rowe, Ph.D., Dept. of Communication Studies
Partner: to be determined

The PCC provides direct services to students in classes with a presentation component and provides a space for cross-campus and community engagement.

Animation Demo at Parkway

Sweaty Eyeballs Animation at the SNF Parkway Theatre

TU lead: Phillip Davis, MFA, Dept. of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education
Partners: Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, Maryland Institute College of Art, Maryland Film Festival–Stavros Niarchos Parkway Theatre

This community engagement curricular project offers students programming, networking and educational opportunities in the animation field and access to cutting-edge animators. The festival provides an opportunity for local audiences to experience animated films that might not otherwise have a clear path to distribution through the Station North Arts District in Baltimore. As part of a partnership with the Maryland Film Festival, Sweaty Eyeballs is part of a larger institutional focus on arts entrepreneurship.

Baltimore Immigration Summit: Restoring Hope through Solidarity

Home and the Human: Public Humanities Immigration and Refugee Outreach Project

TU lead: Jennifer Ballengee, Ph.D., Dept. of English
Partner: Baltimore Immigration Outreach Service Center

Through this service-oriented partnership with the Baltimore Immigration Outreach Service Center, students will gather refugee stories as part of asylum application processes and as public testimony to the situation of refugees and immigrants in the Baltimore region and the work of the IOSC.

Women from AileyCamp Baltimore posed outside the studio

AileyCamp Baltimore

TU lead: Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, MFA, Dept. of Dance
Partner: Baltimore City Public Schools

Hosted by TU, AileyCamp Baltimore delivers programming based on the successful national Ailey Camp model. Rigorous dance instruction is used as a vehicle for nurturing discipline, expressivity, creativity, and self-confidence in high-risk adolescents. Now the recipient of Title I funding, BTU is assisting this landmark program with data collection and analysis to sustain AileyCamp.