“Public universities have an unmatched capacity to make cultural, civic, and economic contributions to their communities,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “That’s why public institutions feel compelled to address the greatest challenges facing their communities. Oklahoma State has done exactly that through an exceptional partnership with the Chickasaw Nation to improve child nutrition and public health.”
Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005. As the 2017 winner of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, Oklahoma State University will receive a sculpture and a $20,000 prize to support its community engagement efforts.
Oklahoma State University’s Solutions-based Health Innovations and Nutrition Excellence (SHINE) program was created in 2006 as a collaboration between Oklahoma State University and the Chickasaw Nation, a local Native American tribe. The Chickasaw Nation partnered with OSU to study nutrition and public health issues identified by Chickasaw citizens – combining cultural, historical, and programming knowledge with nutrition and public health expertise.
The collaboration has developed a wide-ranging, nationally recognized model of public health collaboration between a university and a Native American nation. By engaging community members, SHINE was able to identify health issues facing the Chickasaw Nation in need of additional attention. The partnership also produced collaborative research projects aiming to identify health and nutrition disparities, translate and disseminate health research findings, and train a diverse research workforce.
The SHINE team also developed the Eagle Adventure program for children in the first through third grades. The program embraces the traditions of Native American storytelling to educate participants on practices that prevent Type 2 diabetes through dietary and physical activity. Sixty-seven percent participants’ parents reported their children were more active after school and 49 percent reported their children ate more vegetables at dinner and 55 percent reported their child ate fruit for snack more often. Team efforts have been recognized with multiple state and national awards and team members have presented their analyses through several national conferences, webinars, and peer-reviewed journals.
In July, Oklahoma State was named one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. Those regional winners automatically become finalists for the national Magrath Award. The other regional winners of the Kellogg Award were East Carolina University, University of New Hampshire, and Purdue University. Each of the three W.K. Kellogg Award winners received $5,000 to support their community engagement efforts.