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News & Media

APLU & University of Michigan Name APLU Civic Science Fellow

October 14, 2021

Washington, DC – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Michigan Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) today announced a partnership to jointly host the APLU Civic Science Fellow, Dr. Elyse Aurbach. The APLU Civic Science Fellowship is supported by the Rita Allen Foundation, the Kavli Foundation, the APLU and the Office of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources (FANR), and the University of Michigan.

Dr. Elyse Aurbach, APLU, and the University of Michigan join a vibrant community of civic science leaders, host organizations, and philanthropic partners as part of the Civic Science Fellowship Program. The goal of the Civic Science Fellows Program is to create strong, diverse, and inclusive connections between science and civic life through a growing network of emerging leaders, who are enthusiastic advocates for science communication, civic science, and Public Impact Research.

As the APLU Civic Science Fellow, Dr. Aurbach will lead a project examining how Cooperative Extension and community engagement offices can support and incentivize public engagement, Public Impact Research, and other Extension activities.

Dr. Aurbach’s project will build off current work at APLU to advance the Public Impact of Research and the long history and contributions of the Cooperative Extension System. It will also integrate Aurbach’s work in leading the Center for Academic Innovation’s public engagement initiative – part of the University of Michigan’s Presidential focus area on faculty public engagement – which includes hosting an interdisciplinary Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship program, an active series of projects connecting public engagement scholarship with practice, and supporting individual faculty innovations. CAI’s public engagement initiative also connects with other U-M partners and efforts, with an emphasis on supporting and amplifying efforts around justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.

Dr. Aurbach, who serves as the Public Engagement Lead at CAI, will bring over a decade of experience in public engagement to this joint project. Her prior work has focused on building communities, programs, and products that support scholars who are engaging different communities, with a focus on how to do so ethically and effectively. She is particularly interested in translating research into useful tools for practice, building effective training and capacity-building programs, and developing frameworks that synthesize scholarship and practitioner knowledge to help public engagement systems evolve.

“APLU is excited to host Dr. Aurbach in helping our members modernize scholarship,” said Dr. Kacy Redd, Associate Vice President, Research and STEM Education. “Addressing our most critical challenges and accelerating public impact will require cross-campus support at all levels, a willingness to broaden what counts as meaningful scholarly work by faculty and staff, and agreed upon measures and evidence of impact across the whole academy.”

“I am extraordinarily excited and honored to join the Civic Science Fellows Network and community as the APLU Civic Science Fellow,” noted Aurbach. “The opportunity to learn from different institutions and how they support public engagement, Cooperative Extension, and other avenues for public impact is once-in-a-lifetime. I hope that this collaborative project will help inform the evolution of higher education – especially as individual institutions build or reinforce the infrastructures and reward mechanisms that support faculty and staff in connecting scholarship with different publics.”

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