Our Work

Commission on the New Engagement

Download the planning team’s report, The New Engagement: Exploring the Issues Across a Spectrum

APLU believes public and land-grant universities should dramatically expand engagement efforts engagement with partners in the communities they serve—members of the public, community organizations, business and industry, state and local government, and others. In the late ’90s, the Kellogg Commission report Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution needs renewed attention to realize its full potential. With vexing national and global problems creating immense economic, environmental, social, and psychological consequences, single entities cannot find and mobilize solutions. Instead, engagement with multiple partners is critical, and public universities can and should be conveners for such efforts.

Beginning in November of 2015, APLU convened a Planning Team to recommend a process for establishing and engaging APLU members and stakeholders in a Task Force on “The New Engagement” for public higher education—establishing engagement as a force for transformational change in our communities and institutions. The eventual Task Force will envision a broadly inclusive definition for university engagement and make recommendations for university actions to realize this vision.

The Planning Team was charged with completing four tasks in preparing the plan:

  • Identify engagement-related issues to be examined and addressed by the Task Force on The New Engagement
  • Develop a charge for the Task Force on The New Engagement
  • Design a process and structure for the Task Force that will help it to:
    • Create a bold new vision for engagement at our universities and where we should be heading, including goals and milestones
    • Summarize the current state of university engagement and identify gaps
    • Recommend strategies to meet identified goals and milestones
    • Prepare background materials for use by the Task Force on the New Engagement

Questions regarding this effort should be directed to APLU’s Sheila Martin.

This framework has been developed by the Planning Team for the Task Force on The New Engagement, convened by multiple constituencies of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). We are grateful to the following individuals for their contributions to this framework.


The Planning Team was co-chaired by:

  • Mark Hussey, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University


Four APLU constituencies appointed members to the Planning Team. Members are listed here by appointing APLU group. The Sub-Team on which each individual served is indicated in parentheses after their institutional affiliation—(C) = Charge Sub-Team, (PS) = Process and Structure Sub-Team, and (BMR) = Background Materials and Resources Sub-Team.

Members appointed by the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE):

  • Jorge Atiles, Associate Dean of Extension and Engagement, Oklahoma State University (BMR)
  • Hiram Fitzgerald, Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University (C)
  • Lorilee Sandmann, Professor Emeritus, University of Georgia and Editor, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (BMR)
  • Byron White, Vice President for University Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer, Cleveland State University (PS)
  • Dorothy Air, Associate Senior Vice President for Entrepreneurial Affairs, University of Cincinnati (PS)
  • Tim Franklin, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of New Jersey Innovation Institute, New Jersey Institute of Technology (C)
  • Terri Helmlinger-Ratcliff, Executive Director of Industry Expansion Solutions and Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement, North Carolina State University (BMR)
  • Lloyd Jacobs, President Emeritus, University of Toledo (C)
  • Mary Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs and Dean of Extension, University of California San Diego (BMR)

Members appointed by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP):

  • Michelle Rodgers, Associate Dean and Director, Cooperative Extension and Outreach, University of Delaware (C)
  • Mark Latimore, Jr., Extension Administrator and Interim Assistant Vice President for Land-Grant Affairs, Fort Valley State University (PS)
  • Lou Swanson, Vice Provost, Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, Colorado State University (BMR)
  • Nick Place, Dean and Director for Extension, University of Florida (PS)
  • Cathann Kress, Vice President, Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University (C)

Members appointed by the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU):

  • Erin Flynn, Associate Vice President, Research and Strategic Partnerships, Portland State University (PS)
  • Saif Ishoof, Vice President for Engagement, Florida International University (C)
  • Darrell Wheeler, Vice Provost for Public Engagement and Dean of the School of Social Work, University at Albany (BMR)

APLU Staff:

  • Sheila Martin, Economic Development and Community Engagement
  • Shalin Jyotishi, Economic Development and Community Engagement
  • Shari Garmise, Urban Initiatives

Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Publication

2022 APLU Annual Report