Call for Nominations: Strengthening Families & Households


Strengthening Families & Households

Deadline: April 29, 2015

The Outreach Planning Council (OPC) invites nominations for the 2015 Community Outreach and Engagement Award. The award carries a professional development grant of $1000 for faculty/staff and $500 for graduate students.

In the spirit of the funding source (the Meta Schroeder Beckner Endowment), this award focuses on outreach and engagement activities that strengthen families and households through community-­?university partnerships. Unless they have a clear outreach focus, research activities are not funded. We especially invite nominations for projects led by faculty/staff whose appointments are not explicitly focused on outreach.

Eligibility: All faculty and staff with budgeted appointments or any graduate student currently enrolled in a program in the School of Human Ecology.  Community outreach and engagement activities highlighted in the nomination may represent the efforts of an individual faculty/academic staff/classified staff member, or a group of these individuals.

Nomination Materials:

  • Name of the person(s) nominated, and their departmental affiliation. If this is not a self-­?nomination, provide the name of person submitting the nomination.
  • Name of project/activity and target population(s)
  • A list of community collaborators, funders or partners and a brief description of their respective roles in the project/activity.
  • A brief (one page or less) description of the project that includes the project’s goals, activities and impacts it had on individuals, an organization or a community. To the extent possible and feasible, include supporting evidence and/or (e.g. educational materials, artistic products, publications, etc.) testimonials that demonstrate the project’s outcomes or impacts.
  • A rationale for why this project/activity illustrates excellence in community engagement and outreach.
  • Letters from community partners (optional).

Submit Nominations:

Mary Beth Collins, Director of Centers Research and Public Affairs, via email no later than 5pm on April 29, 2015.  Award recipients will be announced in early May.

Selection Criteria:

  • The extent to which the project strengthens collaboration between university and community partners by:
    • (a) increasing access of the university to the community
    • (b) increasing access to university resources, and
    • (b) demonstrating an engaged university-­?community partnership
  • Project impacts, including cultural and social impacts
  • Significance of the issue(s) addressed in terms of strengthening families and households through community-university partnerships
  • Strong or innovative project design or methods (e.g., community collaboration and engagement)
  • Strength of evidence used to support the nomination and demonstrate project impacts.


Background Information on Funding Source for the Award:

The Beckner Endowment (originally called the Meta Schroeder Beckner Homemaker Fund) was established in 1979 by Mr. Earl R. Beckner in memory of his wife who earned two UW-­?Madison degrees: a BS in 1920 and a MS in 1921, both in Home Economics. According to his bequest, Mr. Beckner indicated that income from the fund is to be used “to support the work of a group of knowledgeable faculty members (and, as far as desirable, graduate students or others who may be suitable for carrying on the homemaker program) from appropriate fields of learning. The responsibility of this group shall be to gather available information to be disseminated to present and prospective homemakers, on a national basis, about the many influences in our society which tend to make homemaking difficult and to weaken the home. These include legal and social developments which tend to discriminate against or weaken the position of homemakers; and to aid the homemaker in strengthening the family and the home through individual and organized response to such influences. It is my expectation that such information would be disseminated through appropriate publications, other communications media, periodic symposia for homemakers, the extension faculty of the School, through its Family

Living Program or other programs designed to serve such purposes, and generally through any other means considered appropriate by the University. It is my direction that such income should not be devoted to academic research…”

As often is the case with restricted gifts, bequest terminology and meanings can change overtime. In the instance of the Beckner Endowment, the School of Human Ecology is allowed to broadly interpret homemakers as families/households.

Definitions Used by the OPC:

The OPC intends this award to recognize excellence in community engagement.  In this context, the term “engagement” refers to a reciprocal exchange between the university and community that enables us to better understand the needs and wants of these communities – and learn from their experiences, knowledge and insights.  Emphasized is knowledge exchange, with the mandate to share ideas and build capacity throughout the broader communities we serve.(1-footnote below)) Outreach activities related to teaching, service and research are of interest to the OPC.  Definitions each appear below, and are derived a 1997 document produced by the Council on Outreach.(2-footnote below)

1)              Outreach research extends the University’s basic research efforts to academic and nonacademic audiences through such activities as applied research and technical assistance, demonstration projects and evaluation of ongoing programs.

2)              Outreach teaching extends the traditional campus-­?based classroom teaching efforts to off-­?campus sites, including the utilization of long distance technology and credit and noncredit continuing education courses, seminars, workshops, exhibits and performances to off-­?campus or non-­?traditional audiences”  It also extends teaching to non-­?traditional students, such as working professionals, community-­?based groups, older students, and second degree students.

3)              Outreach service includes activities that extend the expertise of individual faculty and staff to society at large, rather than service to the University or service to a profession.

Selection Process:  Members of the OPC who do not themselves submit for this opportunity will serve as the selection committee, but may invite others to assist in reviewing nomination materials.


Members of the Outreach Planning Council: 

Mary Beth Collins
Brian Christens
Lori Bakken
Lesley Sager


1 This definition is derived from an address given by Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor,  Simon Fraser University, Presented to the Sixth Annual World Universities Forum, January 10, 2013.

2 Council on Outreach. 1997. Commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. The Office Outreach Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 352 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1380.


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