Building an Engagement Center through Love of Place: The Story of the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

  • Sara Woods University of Nebraska Omaha
  • B. J. Reed University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Deborah Smith-Howell University of Nebraska Omaha
Keywords: University Engagement, Partnerships, Community Engagement

Abstract

Universities throughout the United States operate engagement centers to extend campus faculty, staff and student resources to their communities. In 2014, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) opened the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (Weitz CEC): a privately funded $24 million, 70,000 square foot facility located in the middle of its original Dodge Street campus. In addition to offices for its service learning and community service enterprises, the CEC houses over thirty university and community organizations and offers extensive space for meetings, dialogue and collaboration. This paper will discuss its strategic and programmatic origins, unique design, and lessons learned in developing and operating the center.

Author Biographies

Sara Woods, University of Nebraska Omaha

Sara Woods is Executive Associate to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She holds an MPA from UNO.

B. J. Reed, University of Nebraska Omaha

B. J. Reed is the Senior Vice Chancellor for Student and Academic Affairs at UNO. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Deborah Smith-Howell, University of Nebraska Omaha

Deborah Smith-Howell is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies at UNO. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. 

References

Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (2015).Partner Expectations.

Christensen, J. (2009 October 7). 101 Years: Writing the Next Chapter. University of Nebraska Omaha Convocation Address. Strauss Performing Arts Center, Omaha, Nebraska.

Dierberger, J. (2015). Service learning history and P-16 protocols (Final Report, COMM 8980: Independent Study). Omaha, NE: University of Nebraska Omaha.

Leach, M. & Bacon, N. (1999). Service learning academy (Memorandum). Omaha, NE: University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. (2016). Our mission and vision. Retrieved from http://www.unomaha.edu/community-engagement-center/about-the-weitz-cec/our-mission-and-vision.php.

University of Nebraska Omaha. (2015). Strategic plan. Retrieved from http://www.unomaha.edu/strategic-plan/index.php.

Published
2016-11-16