Office of Community Engagement Established

TAMPA, Fla. (July 28, 2009) – The University of South Florida is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Greenbaum, professor of anthropology, as the founding director of the newly established Office of Community Engagement. Her appointment becomes effective on Aug. 6.


Greenbaum is a nationally recognized scholar in the field of applied anthropology. She comes to this leadership position with an impressive record of nearly three decades of research and engagement in the areas of community development, social networks, and neighborhood revitalization. Greenbaum has been deeply involved in numerous community-based efforts, both regionally and around the country, through providing consulting and technical assistance to grassroots organizations and networks.


“USF is a huge asset to the Tampa Bay region, and the successful Carnegie application a few years ago demonstrates the many activities of our students and faculty in applying expertise to local issues and problems. At the same time, our urban location provides great opportunities for students to learn directly about the subjects they are studying and to form valuable partnerships and associations. The new office will allow us to do all of that better and will provide a single point-of-contact for community members to find out what is going on,” said Greenbaum.


Greenbaum’s administrative responsibilities will include: initiating the Office of Community Engagement as the single point-of-contact for community engagement at USF; working with departments and colleges to consider community engagement in tenure and promotion guidelines; as well as conducting fundraising and submitting grant applications to develop a sustainable fiscal base for the office. She will also coordinate programming efforts with academic colleges, USF Health, Undergraduate Studies, the Graduate School, E-Campus, International Affairs, and Student Affairs.


This appointment is of vital importance to the strategic goals of the university. As the first institution of higher education in Florida to have been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, as community engaged, USF is inextricably engaged with the community at all levels. The Office of Community Engagement is an outgrowth of a university-wide faculty Task Force on Community Engagement. 


Greenbaum has wide support within and outside of the USF community. “She has long been a champion for community engagement and an active participant in many community partnerships at USF, so her leadership in this vital position will help further our efforts to make a real impact on the community,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. Linda Whiteford, associate vice president for Academic Affairs added, “Dr. Greenbaum’s appointment provides USF with a much needed framework for becoming a national model for a university fully engaged with its local, national, and global communities. Under Greenbaum’s leadership, the office will focus on expanding and sustaining partnerships with the local and broader communities while exploring ways to increase faculty involvement and enhance student academic success through community engagement. I have every confidence that new and exciting opportunities will become available to our faculty, students, and community-at-large in the years ahead.”


Ralph Wilcox, provost and senior vice president welcomes Greenbaum’s appointment. He said, “USF has set forth a bold and ambitious plan to become globally recognized for its work in community engagement and service learning. Dr. Greenbaum’s impressive record of scholarship and long-standing relationships with public-interest, faculty, and student organizations makes her an outstanding choice to lead the USF Office of Community Engagement.” 


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 224 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.



Story written by Jacqui Cash, Academic Affairs