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- Outreach FAQs
- Delivery Units FAQs
- Funding FAQs
- Integrating Outreach with Faculty Responsibilities FAQs
What do you do at Outreach? How is that different from my college's outreach?
Outreach itself is an act of faculty scholarship that can take many forms. Some faculty outreach is individual and informal, such as government consulting. Other forms of outreach, such as conferences, short courses, research-centered outreach, and large-scale community interventions, require much more infrastructure to reach, coordinate, and support faculty members and their audiences. Outreach provides an infrastructure of technology, facilities, support staff, registration, evaluation, and community partnerships to support the colleges, departments, and individual faculty who would like to undertake ambitious, large-scale outreach activities.
When I deliver my program through Outreach, what does the management fee provide?
Programs delivered through Outreach range from World Campus courses and degree and certificate programs to Continuing Education conferences and workshops and Public Broadcasting documentaries and appearances. Management fees offset the costs of technology, facilities, staff support, registration, evaluation, and all the details of delivering a program—services that the colleges and departments would otherwise need to staff and supply.
Why does the University require that the colleges and departments deliver certain programs through Outreach units?
Under the University's Policy AD03 Conducting Educational Programs Using the Name of the University, "programs originating at or through University Park, using the name of the University, at which external audiences are expected, and either (1) a program registration fee is charged or underwritten, or (2) continuing education units (CEUs or other profession-specific credits) or academic credits are offered, must be offered through [Outreach]." The purpose of this policy is to ensure high-quality programming, financial accountability, and optimal use of University resources for any group conducting special credit and noncredit educational programs (conferences, courses, workshops, institutes, symposiums, seminars, etc.) using the University name, regardless of the facilities used. Working with Outreach ensures consistency across academic units in offerings, high quality, and support services, such as registration, conference management, financial accounting, budgeting, media services, program planning and instructional design, marketing, and record keeping. It also ensures that programs conducted in the name of the University, both on and off campus, comply with the policies and procedures established by the University.
Whom do I contact if I have an idea for an Outreach program?
To explore your outreach idea, contact your associate dean for outreach or director of academic affairs. Or if you know which Outreach delivery unit you would like to work with—Continuing Education, Online Education, Economic and Workforce Development, or Public Broadcasting—contact the leadership in that unit. You may also contact an Outreach staff member you have worked with previously, or any Outreach director, for assistance.
When I think of Outreach, I think of a conference. What are my other options?
There are various options available to faculty who want to reach new audiences, explore new research questions, or simply apply their expertise to communities that can benefit from their work. Among the many Outreach options are the following:
- academic conferences and institutes
- customized workforce education and development for business, industry, education, and health care
- education research and intervention programs for families
- feature-length documentaries
- Web-based education—credit and noncredit
- continuing education—credit and noncredit
- community-based research on social, environmental, educational, cultural, and economic issues
- online or satellite courses and certificate programs to meet the needs of professionals in specific disciplines
- youth camps
How do I know which delivery unit is appropriate for my program?
Although each unit has a slightly different mission and set of resources available to support faculty outreach, faculty members interested in starting an outreach project do not need to identify the best unit for their potential program. Outreach staff members work with faculty to identify the right unit or units to support their proposed program.
How much control will I have over the planning of my program?
The mission of Outreach is to extend faculty expertise and University resources to meet the needs of individuals, families, businesses, and communities. Faculty experts are at the heart of all outreach programs. In planning a program, faculty members serve as the content experts. They establish the goals, set the tone, and define the parameters of the outreach activity.
What resources, such as grant identification and grant writing, can you provide me?
Outreach staff members can work with faculty members and the academic colleges to identify potential outreach dissemination strategies and to prepare a written plan and budget for the outreach activities to be included in the funding request. For grant identification, faculty members should also contact the grants office in their respective college.
Why do we have to think about profit-producing programming versus just helping others?
Penn State Outreach is a self-supporting, revenue-generating unit of the University. Funded through external grants, partnerships, memberships, and fees for services, Outreach programs strive to fulfill the University's land grant mission without making an impact on student tuition. Particularly in the current climate of budget restrictions and cuts, it is imperative that we help our outreach audiences without harming our resident students. In developing programs, Outreach staff conduct market research to determine fair value and set appropriate fees for the various audiences. When programs are designed to help audiences without charging a fee, it is important to establish external funding and partners in order to recover costs for overhead and staff.
How will outreach work impact my promotion and tenure potential? Does it qualify for service to the community?
Outreach scholarship shares much with conventional forms of teaching, research, and service. Outreach teaching may be measured in credit hours. Outreach students may provide teaching evaluations. Outreach research projects may qualify for external grants like those available for traditional research. And all forms of outreach teaching, research, and service may result in publications, creative works, documentaries, centers, and other public forms of knowledge dissemination. In most cases the outcomes of outreach scholarship fit into the teaching, research, and service portions of the faculty dossier.
In addition, revisions to HR23 Promotion and Tenure guidelines place added emphasis on the role of outreach in the scholarship of teaching, research, and service. These changes were a response to the Penn State report UniSCOPE 2000: A Multidimensional Model of Scholarship for the 21st Century: A UniSCOPE Learning Community Challenge to the Penn State Community of Scholars. Created by the University Scholarship and Criteria for Outreach and Performance Evaluation (UniSCOPE) learning community, a group of Penn State faculty and administrators from throughout the University, the report can help faculty document their outreach scholarship and receive due recognition for it in the promotion and tenure process. Outreach units can provide program evaluations to help document the impact and outcomes of outreach programs. Faculty members should also consult with their respective department head or associate dean for further guidance.
How can my outreach scholarship blend with my resident instruction courses?
Faculty members interested in blending outreach teaching with resident instruction should discuss these issues with their respective department head and college's curricular administrators. Depending on curricular needs and goals, a course may sometimes blend resident instruction and continuing or distance education.
Conferences provide opportunities for resident students to participate in an extracurricular activity. Outreach activities also include field trips, service learning, undergraduate research, and other student involvement.
Examples of conferences providing opportunities for student involvement:
- Doctoral students can assist with the planning of the Summer School in Statistics for Astronomers and Physicists and the conference on Statistical Challenges in Modern Astronomy, sponsored by the Eberly College of Science. .
- The 2007 Achievement Conference and Research Exhibition, sponsored in part by the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity and designed for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students of color, is organized and managed by graduate students.
- At the Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference, sponsored by the College of Engineering's Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, students can present their research as well as display research posters. The conference also serves as a preparatory event for students who plan to participate at the annual Transportation Research Board conference.
- Some College of Health and Human Development programs are geared specifically for Penn State students, including KINES Adventures, a series of adventure-based credit programs, offers students a chance to learn in the great outdoors.
Are there opportunities for student internships?
Most departments and colleges have internship credit programs. Interns and programs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine an appropriate fit. For example, over the past few years several students in the Schreyer Honors College have served as Extension interns. External outreach clients may also provide internship opportunities.
Is release time available to me? May one of my teaching/graduate assistants have release time?
Release time depends on funding to buy out time. Outreach can work with faculty to find external funding sources to support release time.