The University at Albany has embarked on a program to strengthen its connections with the community.
UAlbany President Dr. Robert Jones "public engagement" initiative builds on a similar program that advanced the concept at the University of Minnesota, where Jones served most recently as Senior Vice President and spent a total of 33 years in academic and administrative leadership positions.
The Albany version of the program is called "community engagement" and partners UAlbany with the University of Minnesota to implement a "10-point plan" that includes establishing a system wide office for public engagement and advancing research studies within outlying communities. Jones has already been touring selected counties offering UAlbany's partnership.
Jones' arrival at UAlbany capped a six-year search for a successor to the late Kermit Hall, and he comes at a time of flux for the school. On campus, several programs have been cut in recent years even as the nanotechnology campus booms nearby. Off-campus, the city and school have been working hard at putting the infamous 2011 “kegs and eggs” riot behind them. For his part, Jones has already seeded relationships with students.
Jones is keen on rolling out strategies to enhance college-bound students’ access to the university and tuition affordability. Jones vows that despite any budgetary restraints, the effort will move forward.
Jones' ultimate plan: go beyond community engagement and become more issue-driven in areas like social welfare and public policy.