SIUE and Alton Begin Their Relationship to Improve the City and Give Students Valuable Experience
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s collaboration with the City of Alton underscores the University’s commitment to high impact community engagement practices (HICEP). SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) and Alton announced its partnership during a kickoff event Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Cougar Pavilion in SIUE’s Vadalabene Center.
“I want to thank Alton for partnering with us,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook, “and challenging us to think more sustainably about community facilities, land use, housing, business development and more. This is a perfect example of High Impact Community Engagement Practices.”
“It is unbelievable what SIUE has committed to do for our community,” said Alton Mayor Brant Walker, regarding SSCC choosing the city as a partner for its inaugural year launch. “We must engage our young people to invest in their community, to start businesses and to get involved in government, in order for us to have a better place to live.”
The SSCC-Alton project is driven by the 15-year comprehensive plan of public improvements in Alton. This fall the partnership will involve three academic courses that will engage students on at least six different city projects. Additional courses and city projects will be added in the spring. The project will run through spring 2019.
“One of the most exciting things for me was being able to launch the Successful Communities Collaborative, and to be able to work with a chancellor who sees it as part of his vision,” said SIUE Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Denise Cobb, PhD. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to get real-world experience. We thank the good folks at the City of Alton for helping us create this opportunity, and we are appreciative to our faculty for engaging in this partnership as well.”
“I teach Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Being part of the SSCC-Alton project was a natural fit for our class,” said Kristine Jarden, director of executive education in SIUE’s School of Business. “It will supplement the learning environment for the student, and we look forward to what Alton will benefit from with this project.”
“I’m excited to see the end product,” said Andrew Smith, a senior computer management and information system (CMIS) major. “I love working in the classroom, but this initiative gives me a chance to work on real-life projects, and that’s really needed.”
SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC) initiative is tailored after the prestigious University-community partnership program, Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Network model created in 2009 by the University of Oregon. The University joined EPIC, a network of more than 30 colleges and universities in March 2018.
Listening to Alton Mayor Brant Walker are SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook and SIUE Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Denise Cobb.
Talking more about the partnership between SIUE and the City of Alton are Connie Frey-Spurlock, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and SSCC faculty director, and Greg Caffey, director of Development and Housing at the City of Alton.