In the two years since IUPUI began using the Collaboratory to track its community engagement and public service, we have added more than 700 activities representing the work of 160 faculty members and staff engaging more than 800 partners.
That information has allowed us as an institution to build connections and improve collaboration both with the community and across campus, and to be more strategic in how we are working to address issues of community concern.
But we know we are missing out on an opportunity to highlight even more of the incredible collaborative work being done by our faculty and staff, and delve deeper into the data to help support strategic and sustainable partnerships.
When we first introduced the Collaboratory, we specifically targeted faculty and staff that we knew were engaged with the community, but we know there are others and things we are missing. That’s why we are boosting our communication efforts around Collaboratory, with a goal of ensuring all faculty, staff, and campus leadership know what the tool is and how and why to use it.
In the coming weeks, you can expect to see myself and the students I work with visiting schools and departments across campus for what we are calling “Collaboratory Office Hours.” We will work with faculty and staff to claim any activities we have already pre-populated, add ones we are missing or edit/update anything that is out of date. We will also be working to recognize faculty and staff members who have activities in Collaboratory through a new online directory that is currently being developed.
Documenting engagement in Collaboratory allows us to:
- Convene people. This includes everything from a working group to help build the pipeline to college between K-12 outreach and engagement and IUPUI, to Research, Innovation and Collaboration (RIC) projects that development officers are working on in areas such as health, neighborhood equity and innovation, to acknowledge the faculty and staff already engaged in that work.
- Use data to examine engagement from another angle. We are partnering with other organizations, such as the Polis Center and Indiana Business Research Center, to combine Collaboratory data with other measures to take another look at who we work with and what we do (e.g., social network analysis, mapping engagement). That information can help inform strategies for sustaining relationships, build upon existing relationships and figure out where we are involved, and where we are not involved, but should be.
- Tell a story of engagement. For example, linking a faculty member’s URL in Collaboratory to their profile in Pivot allows us to highlight how faculty work with community partners around their teaching and research. We can also run reports or provide information that helps to build a stronger case for funding a project, advance strategic plan goals, and illustrate the collective work happening around a topic or geographic area.
Help us make sure we aren’t missing activities where IUPUI is working to address pressing social issues in and with the community. Visit the Collaboratory, search yourself, search your colleagues, search your school, and if you need help, please reach out.