Celebrating university and community partnerships

Towson University celebrates the effective work being done in collaboration with community partners at inaugural BTU Partnership Awards

By Arthur Smith on April 18, 2018

Towson University faculty, students and staff are actively engaged in nearly 200 partnerships with over 300 community partners. While most partnerships take place in Greater Baltimore, the effects are felt well beyond the beltway. 

On April 16, over 100 community partners and their on-campus colleagues gathered in the South Campus Pavilion to celebrate these partnerships at the BTU Partnership Awards. 

“Tonight is all about partnerships. It’s about what it takes to form one, what a thriving partnership can accomplish, and celebrating the people (all of you) behind the work,” said Bobbie Laur, associate vice president for outreach and a member of the BTU leadership team. 

Three partnerships were honored with a BTU Partnership Award.  

The three award recipients represent the breadth of engagements on campus as well as three different colleges. Their work positively impacts three distinct populations and impact areas. Ultimately, each embodies the spirit of TU. They are: 

  • Model UN, led by professor Alison McCartney, Honors College/College of Liberal Arts, is a 16-year-long partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) that provides equal access to civic engagement learning experiences for BCPS students, while providing TU students with hands-on opportunities to mentor high school students.

An awards committee selected the three winners through a nomination process. Out of all active partnerships, 17 were nominated for the inaugural BTU Partnership Award.  

The winning partnerships will showcase their work at the BTU Partnerships Showcase on Tuesday, April 24. This annual event brings community members to campus to explore and expand partnerships and collaborations. 

Learn more about and register for the 2018 BTU Partnerships Showcase

The BTU Partnership Awards are part of a campus-wide initiative to elevate partnership engagements and to more holistically support these efforts through coordination, funding and decision-making. For BTU Faculty Director Matthew Durington, the awards are meaningful because they demonstrate an investment on the part of Towson University.  

“The BTU Partnership Awards are an important recognition for faculty members at Towson University because it not only highlights the work they’ve been doing with their collaborators, but it also demonstrates that the university supports this work,” said Durington. 

Learn how faculty, students, and staff can access resources and funding for partnerships

Partnerships are central to TUs identity as a community-engaged institution. They take many forms and create boundless opportunities for faculty, students, staff and community partners. 

“Towson University’s mission would be incomplete if our students did not have meaningful opportunities to engage with and learn from diverse individuals and groups outside campus,” said Santiago Solis, associate vice president for student affairs and a member of the BTU leadership team. 

“Partnerships create intentional and authentic learning experiences for students and are an investment in our collective future as community members of Greater Baltimore,” Solis added. 

As Laur noted in her opening remarks, BTU—Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, including the name, was the brainchild of President Kim Schatzel. 

“When I came to Towson University a little over two years ago, I was shocked at how many people I encountered throughout the community who didn't know about the fantastic work taking place between Towson University and our partners throughout Greater Baltimore,” said Schatzel. 

It was during her first few months in office that she made supporting partnerships a presidential priority, making it clear that TU is invested in sustaining partnerships with schools, community organizations, businesses, and nonprofits throughout Maryland. 

“But our primary effort was, and remains, capturing, supporting and aligning the many impactful partnerships that we already have,” said Schatzel. 

During the event, attendees watched videos highlighting the award winners, heard from community partners about the positive impacts being created in their communities and talked about the work moving forward. 

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we are all moving in the same direction,” said Laur in closing out the ceremony. 

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University:  BTU: Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore, TU Matters to Maryland