“We applaud the University of Utah for its comprehensive approach to community engagement,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Working with their communities to identify and address challenges is a core part of public universities’ mission. The University of Utah stands as an important example of the potential impact of this type of collaboration. Utah’s commitment to this partnership has helped increase access to higher education and share lessons from cutting-edge research.”
The University of Utah partnered with Salt Lake City's west side neighborhoods to form University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) to advance hyperlocal community engagement. UNP convenes university faculty, staff, and students, west side residents, and local organizations and institutions to address resident-identified priorities in education, leadership, and community capacity and wellbeing. These priorities, gathered through a year-long research project, became the blueprint for UNP.
One UNP-supported effort, the Westside Leadership Institute, has aided hundreds of residents in building leadership and organizing skills, designing projects addressing local issues, and starting community-based organizations. Another, the UNP Hartland Partnership Center (Hartland), is a hub where the university, organizations, and community leaders collaborate on culturally responsive, resident-led neighborhood services and educational opportunities. UNP-supported efforts have contributed to the education of thousands of students; increased access to higher education for residents; disseminated knowledge through hundreds of academic, practitioner, and community-oriented products; and increased the capacity of communities to define their own future.
In October, the University of Utah was named one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. Those regional winners, named in collaboration with the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, automatically become finalists for the national Magrath Award. The other regional winners of the 2020 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award were University of Memphis, The Ohio State University, and the University of Vermont. Each of the three other W.K. Kellogg Award winners received $5,000 to support their community engagement efforts.