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College of Design

The College

Outreaching

Tom FisherOutreach is one of the University of Minnesota's three missions, along with teaching and research. That three-part mission stems not only from our being the state's flagship research institution, but also its sole land-grant university, which comes with the requirement that we disseminate knowledge to the people of the state. The word outreach has two distinct definitions: as a noun, it means the information or services provided to people in need; as a verb, it means extending or exceeding an expectation.

 

As I think about the outreach we do in the College of Design, both definitions apply. Our faculty and staff do an extraordinary amount of work in, for, and with communities in the state, around the region, and across the nation and the world, bringing valuable information and service to people and learning an enormous amount from them in return. At the same time, our professors, staff, and students all go far beyond what most people might expect from our largely free advice and service. Their work, highlighted in this issue of Emerging, stands as some of the most highly regarded community service in the country.

 

For example, William Angell, professor in housing studies and an extension educator, won the 2009 Excellence in Extension Award for the North Central Region from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities for his work advising groups in a multistate region about radon mitigation in buildings. And John Carmody and his staff at the Center for Sustainable Building Research received the college's 2009 Outstanding Outreach Award for their work developing guidelines, tools, and databases for government, designers, and the construction industry to use in reducing the negative impact of buildings and development on the environment. (See page 4.)

 

Equally noteworthy are the myriad outreach efforts by faculty across all of our disciplines. We have community-based activities in countries as diverse as Azerbaijan, South Korea, China, and Malawi, and in communities as large as north Minneapolis and as small as Baudette, Minnesota. Almost all of our work focuses on the needs of ordinary people, ranging from helping small, independent retailers survive, to helping families find appropriate rental housing, to helping suburbs develop in more sustainable ways. Our outreach takes us to the leading edge of the changes going on in today's world, informing our teaching and research in the process.

 

We also prepare others to do this work. Our college shares with two others -- the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development -- the Buckman Fellowship for Leadership in Philanthropy, a program intended to equip faculty, staff, students, and alumni with the skills they need to lead philanthropic projects and programs. Almost all of these involve community efforts that benefit large numbers of people. Current or recent Buckman fellows are involved in everything from sustainability assistance and rural design to world-heritage studies and cross-cultural connections among children.

 

We do not just do outreach; we are continually outreaching our selves, extending what we have done before and exceeding what many people expect a college like ours to be doing.

Thomas Fisher

Dean

 

Editor's Note:

The fall 2009 College of Design events poster is included for the first time inside this issue. We will continue to publish the events poster and Emerging fall and spring semesters, but to save mailing costs, we are combining them into one publication. Emerging and the poster will arrive in your mailbox at the beginning of each semester (September and January).