February 2023

Community Engagement Impact Continues to Expand As Connections on Campus Supporting Engagement Grow

The University of Iowa is fortunate to have a robust community of engaged scholars, instructors, and practitioners committed to incorporating community partnerships into their research and teaching. OCE often hears about the value of providing space for this community to gather and connect. Thus we are proud to announce the formation of the Community Engagement Network, a collaborative community designed to connect and support UI scholars and practitioners who lead engagement. This network is expansive, spanning every college on campus.

In our latest impact story, we recognize the efforts of the Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy Certificate, which has been profoundly successful in connecting undergraduates with nonprofit community partners while providing a pathway for bringing tomorrow's leaders into organizations serving Iowans across the state after graduation.

This February is a great time to get involved and join us as we continue to look for new and impactful ways to connect Hawkeyes with opportunities to make an impact through community engagement.

In partnership,

Nick Benson

Executive Director

Event Spotlight

Book Matters: Scholars in Conversation at the Stanley

Join the Office of the Vice President for Research for an interdisciplinary conversation at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art featuring three UI community-engaged scholars who have recently published co-authored, collaborative works.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

5 - 6:00 PM

Stanley Museum of Art

Learn More

Thursday, February 23, 2023

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Central


Campus Structures And Functions For Equitable Engagement Webinar

In this webinar, hear from college and university campuses that have integrated diversity, equity, and inclusion into their civic and community engagement structures. This session will feature a number of panelists who share more about the department structures and cross-campus collaborations that positions them to advance equitable engagement.

Register Here
Voices of Community Engagement

Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy Certificate impacts Iowa communities through community engagement

Program connects students with area nonprofits before and after graduation

The Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy (NLP) Certificate program engages students with community partners from the beginning of their academic career through broad access to Community Engaged Courses (CECs). The program is committed to producing tomorrow's nonprofit leaders who will carry these skills back into communities to continue having an impact in organizations assisting Iowans across the state. 

"It's about preparing students to enter the workforce with a career in the nonprofit sector or impact communities following graduation as volunteers, board members, or even starting their own nonprofit," said Jenifer Vick, associate professor of instruction, and co-director of the NLP Certificate. "We are preparing students to go out into the world and impact the nonprofit sector positively."

The NLP Certificate was born out of a merger between the Nonprofit Management Certificate in the Tippie College of Business and the Fundraising and Philanthropy Communications Certificate, housed in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. 

In 2009, a generous gift from Kevin and Donna Gruneich through the University of Iowa Foundation created the Philanthropic Studies Fund. That gift was instrumental in leading the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to develop the Certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication, now the NLP Certificate.

The Philanthropic Studies Fund has grown from the Gruneichs' contribution and other donors, including Dale and Linda Baker. Their generosity supports classroom activities and professional opportunities for students, faculty, and the nonprofit community.

“The Gruneich’s contribution to the certificate exemplifies their commitment to providing students with high-quality education in a field that generates future philanthropists and leaders in the nonprofit sector,” said Melissa Tully, associate professor and interim director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Kevin is always willing to meet to discuss the program, its students, and its mission. He shares his experiences with us and with the students, providing a connection that shows the students the power of philanthropy.”

The NLP Certificate impacts nonprofit organizations that play vital roles in supporting the quality of life in their communities and have unique management, funding, and finance issues requiring specialized training. 

"I love nonprofits, and I know that it is a noble career path, so being able to share that with students and help them connect the dots and see opportunities they had not seen previously is exciting," Vick said. 

The program provides a balance of academic principles and real-world experience, as well as a fundamental understanding of how nonprofit organizations participate in building communities. Core courses cover nonprofit leadership, organizational effectiveness, fundraising, communication strategies, and nonprofit ethics and governance essentials. Electives allow students to explore interests in entrepreneurship, politics, the arts, healthcare, social work, and more.

"They know that they would love to have a career where they are making an impact and doing things that are very meaningful to them in their areas of passion, whether it is food insecurity to homelessness to healthcare," Vick said.

Julia Albrecht graduated from the University of Iowa in the Spring of '22 with a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and an NLP Certificate.

"I chose to participate in the NLP Certificate program as I wanted my future career to have meaning and make an impact," Albrecht said. "The program provided me with an educational foundation that allowed me to explore various career paths within the nonprofit sector. While I wasn't always sure that I wanted to pursue a career in major gift fundraising, the NLP Certificate helped me identify that passion and gave me a truly holistic understanding of nonprofit operations."

Albrecht is now an Assistant Director of Development for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, specializing in engaging with the medically trained University of Iowa alums and identifying their unique philanthropic interests.

84 students are currently enrolled in the NLP Certificate coming from 30 different majors including Communication Studies, English and Creative Writing, Enterprise Leadership, Finance, Global Health Studies, International Studies, Journalism & Mass Communication, Management, and Marketing.

"They are getting introduced to and discovering the NLP Certificate program through their curiosity about the nonprofit sector, their experience working through mission-based organizations in high school, and family and friends they know about who have worked in the nonprofit sector," Vick said.

Nonprofit Education Rooted in Community Engagement

While taking core classes, students are introduced to many nonprofits and missions while learning about the roles that people fill within them. Whether fundraising or communications, volunteer management, event planning, or running programs, students learn through exposure to CECs, working with community partners, and having guest speakers come in. This exposure builds excitement about opportunities in various career paths that are potentially in front of them while forming relationships that can lead to future career opportunities supporting area nonprofits.

"The main focus is that we are building skills; what better way to help students develop those tangible skills than doing projects and real-world projects for nonprofits," Vick said. "It is about the foundation of understanding nonprofit work and the missions they support. Following graduation, we have prepared students to go out and produce projects, whether tangibly knowing how to write solicitation letters, develop an annual report, have a better understanding of teamwork, and develop a strategic plan for a nonprofit or how to start a nonprofit."

Beyond the program's intention to provide a pathway for students to directly impact Iowa nonprofits and the communities they serve after graduation is the abundance of community CECs that students participate in throughout their educational journey. For community partners in Iowa, this means impact begins in the classroom. For many students, nearly every course of the certificate program can be community-engaged, unique among certificates offered at the University of Iowa.

"It all has a natural connection to the organizations doing this work," Vick said. "Students benefit from these hands-on experiences, and a tremendous bonus for their nonprofit partners is they often receive deliverable materials created for them. So, it's a natural fit for this skills-based program and the work being done throughout the corridor and extended throughout Iowa."

The NLP Certificate has had approximately 66 nonprofit partnership projects between students and Iowa nonprofits since merging the certificate programs in 2019. Some participate in multiple classes, partnering with students working on strategic planning in one class and other deliverables in the other.

Read the Full Story

Have a story about how community-engaged teaching, learning, research, or the arts at the University of Iowa is impacting Iowa communities?

Reach out to james-dykeman@uiowa.edu to share your experience!

Teaching, Learning, and Research

Community Engagement Network (CEN) Announced for UI Scholars and Practitioners Leading Engagement Efforts Across Campus

The Community Engagement Network brings together UI scholars and practitioners who engage in community partnerships as a key part of their job or who work to create the environment that makes community engagement possible. 


This network is for those who facilitate community collaborations, faculty who are deeply involved in community-engaged teaching or research, or others who have community-engagement written into their job duties. They are often the “go-to” people for community partners seeking to connect with their respective departments and units. 


Through sharing and learning about our engagement models, current partnerships, and best practices, we aim to:


       Build community among CEPs across campus

       Forge new connections and interdisciplinary collaborations

       Align efforts with the UI Strategic Plan and institutional goals

       Enhance impact for faculty, students, and community partners

Join CEN meetups to share your success stories, ideas, challenges, and opportunities with others who prioritize and value community engagement work. 

Learn More

Grant Opportunities

Seeding Excellence: OVPR Community Engaged Scholars FY23 Request for Proposals

The Research Development Office (RDO) within the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) seeks collaborative, 18-month OVPR Community Engaged Scholars proposals with awards up to $50k (smaller projects are encouraged) to assist in creating and solidifying community research and scholarship partnerships within Iowa. The goal is to enable and sustain community engaged research and scholarship partnerships that reciprocally benefit the University and Iowa communities.

OVPR Community Engaged Scholars aims to support community partnerships within Iowa that create new opportunities for pilot projects to gather data that enable long-term research partnerships sustained through external funding proposals.

LOI Deadline Due February 03, 2023

Learn More
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Getting Published

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Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship - Student Voices

Students from all disciplines are invited to submit original work to the Student Voices section. All forms of writing, analysis, creative approaches, and methodologies are acceptable for this section. Specific types of submissions appropriate for the Student Voices section include commentaries, critical reflections, and opinion pieces related to community engagement and/or engaged scholarship.

The Office of Community Engagement is here to help with letters of support and one-on-one meetings with our office to discuss upcoming courses, research projects, and community partnerships.

Submit an Inquiry

The Arts

Arts Share

Arts Share/Percussion Free Community Concert

Iowa Percussion answers the age-old question: “How do percussionists make that sound?” Join us for the University of Iowa Arts Share Community Concert on Saturday February 11, 2023.

The 1-hour performance will be in the Voxman Music Building Concert Hall at 3:00 pm, and is free and open to the public.

Parents are encouraged to bring children, as the concert will focus on how percussionists do what they do in a fun show & tell setting.

The concert will include music from Thailand, China, and the USA and feature many unique types of percussion instruments.

Learn More

Arts Share and Grant Wood Art Colony Summer Camp Registration Now Open

Spark your child’s creative side this summer!

The Arts Share and Grant Wood Art Colony week-long summer camp will be here before you know it! Programs will administer the camp for children entering first through sixth grades.The half-day sessions will feature workshops in creative movement, theatre, music, visual arts, and writing.

Classes will be informal and energetic, in an intellectually safe, stimulating environment that fosters creative expression and interaction. Workshop leaders are UI graduate students.

Last year's camp filled up quickly so be sure to register soon to secure a spot for your kids!

The fee will be $175 per child (and includes snacks) and the dates will be June 12th -16th.

Register Here

Grant Wood Art Colony

Fellows promote diversity and interdisciplinarity in teaching, research, and creative work.

Learn More

Applications Still Open for 2023 Grant Wood Art Colony Fellowships

The Grant Wood Fellowship program currently provides three one-year fellowships in painting, printmaking, and interdisciplinary performance. Fellows are selected through a national competition and provided with furnished living quarters at the Grant Wood Art Colony. The application process is open in January of each year, with selections made in April.

During the academic year, each fellow will teach a total of two courses at the University of Iowa, leaving the rest of the time for the artist’s own work and research. A teaching salary, benefits, and studio are provided.

Professional Development

Sharing Creative Models and Innovative Approaches to Faculty Development

This webinar focuses on to keep faculty motivated and committed to community engagement, and support their progressive refinement of community-engaged competencies while navigating the shifting priorities and resources from a panel of dynamic and creative community engagement professionals.

Offered by Campus Compact

View on YouTube

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Free Arts Share Community Concert

Sat 2/11/2023, 3:00 PM

Voxman Music Building Concert Hall

Family-friendly event!

GEC Social

Fri 2/10/2023, 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM


High School Theatre Workshop & Performance Day

Fri 2/10/2023, 4:00 PM - 8:30 PM

UI Theatre Building

Arts Share/Iowa Percussion Free Community Concert

Sat 2/11/2023, 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM


GEC Workshop #1: International Engagement

Thu 2/16/2023, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Book Matters: Scholars in Conversation at the Stanley

Thu 2/16/2023, 5:00 - 6:00 PM

Stanley Museum of Art

Workshop - OVPR CE Scholars Grant Program UCC Seminar Room

Fri 2/17/2023, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Stanley Artist Talk: Michael Dixon

Sat 2/18/2023, 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Stanley Museum of Art

Campus Structures And Functions For Equitable Engagement Webinar

Thu, 2/23/2023, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Central


GEC Workshop #2: IRB

Tue 2/28/2023, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

More Events
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