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Building meaningful connections beyond university walls

Community Partnerships

Community Partnerships

We believe big, important ideas find life through conversation and collaboration.

With a spirit of discovery and transformation, the College of Arts and Sciences connects faculty and students with community partners to research, provide resources and take learning outside the classroom. These nimble partnerships are fueled by creativity, grounded in our values and informed by data. Together, we rise to the needs of our community to solve problems for the common good.

Areas of Focus

  • Arts and the humanities in the public interest
  • Health, wellness and sustainability
  • Civility and public discourse
  • Arts and the humanities in the public interest

    This focus area will provide opportunities for students and faculty to pursue applied research that demonstrates how the arts and humanities create new ideas, ultimately driving innovation that improves culture, society and productivity.

    Ideas and opportunities matching arts and humanities faculty and students with the natural sciences, social sciences, business, entrepreneurship and engineering are welcome. Additionally, projects in the digital humanities, making the arts, literature and history available to the public in various contexts are encouraged.

    Health, wellness and sustainability

    This focus area will provide opportunities for students and faculty to pursue applied research that demonstrates how the arts and humanities create new ideas, ultimately driving innovation that improves culture, society and productivity.

    Ideas and opportunities matching arts and humanities faculty and students with the natural sciences, social sciences, business, entrepreneurship and engineering are welcome. Additionally, projects in the digital humanities, making the arts, literature and history available to the public in various contexts are encouraged.

    Civility and public discourse

    Becoming a responsible citizen is one of the goals of the St. Thomas mission. This area will focus on creating and repairing new pathways for civil discourse through faculty and student research, public lectures and forums, and community-based research. Priority will be given to projects incorporating interdisciplinary research and ultimately connects St. Thomas and the community with an emphasis on civility and reasoned debate that is synonymous with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. This focus area also provides a space for the community to respond to current events.

    Arts and the humanities in the public interest

    This focus area will provide opportunities for students and faculty to pursue applied research that demonstrates how the arts and humanities create new ideas, ultimately driving innovation that improves culture, society and productivity.

    Ideas and opportunities matching arts and humanities faculty and students with the natural sciences, social sciences, business, entrepreneurship and engineering are welcome. Additionally, projects in the digital humanities, making the arts, literature and history available to the public in various contexts are encouraged.

    Health, wellness and sustainability

    This focus area will provide opportunities for students and faculty to pursue applied research that demonstrates how the arts and humanities create new ideas, ultimately driving innovation that improves culture, society and productivity.

    Ideas and opportunities matching arts and humanities faculty and students with the natural sciences, social sciences, business, entrepreneurship and engineering are welcome. Additionally, projects in the digital humanities, making the arts, literature and history available to the public in various contexts are encouraged.

    Civility and public discourse

    Becoming a responsible citizen is one of the goals of the St. Thomas mission. This area will focus on creating and repairing new pathways for civil discourse through faculty and student research, public lectures and forums, and community-based research. Priority will be given to projects incorporating interdisciplinary research and ultimately connects St. Thomas and the community with an emphasis on civility and reasoned debate that is synonymous with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. This focus area also provides a space for the community to respond to current events.

    Community Partnerships In Action

    A student writes notes as she walks by a mural.

    Urban Art, Landscape, and St. Paul Community Stories

    Focus area: Arts and the Humanities in the Public Interest

    Students and faculty are collaborating with St. Paul community artists to explore connections between urban art and community identity in the Midway neighborhood, which is struggling to balance economic development with the disruptions of gentrification. Throughout this project, the team is creating multimedia stories highlighting Midway's urban art.

    Students reading flyers on a bulletin board.

    Investigating the Impact of Innovative Pedagogies on Sustainability Literacy

    Focus area: Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems

    There is an urgent need for communities to rethink their approach to sustainability. Faculty and students are partnering with community partners to create novel forms of engagement teaching people about the importance of sustainability. Students and faculty will then examine how these engagement strategies impact sustainability literacy in the classroom and community.

    A group of children take pictures of artifacts in the Asmat Museum.

    Bringing Asmat to the Classroom and Beyond

    Focus area: Arts and Humanities in the Public Interest

    In collaboration with St. Peter Claver Catholic School and other St.Paul-area schools, St. Thomas faculty and students are developing and providing innovative educational resources to teachers with various objects from the American Museum of Asmat Art. By directly engaging students with these objects, they will examine important topics such as the ecological challenges facing the Asmat and how they express their cultural identity through these pieces of art.

    Women celebrate at the ready to run event.

    Ready to Run

    Focus area: Civility and Public Discourse

    The College of Arts and Sciences is now a national network partner of Ready to Run®, a non-partisan campaign training program committed to electing more women to elective office.

    Research shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policymaking. Women change the way government works, and their voices are needed around the country.

    A device to measure fatigue.

    Fatigue Assessment and Sleep Patterns in Minneapolis Police and Fire Department Employees

    Focus area: Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems

    Emergency personnel are charged with responsibilities that are fundamentally at odds with human physiology, working around the clock at high levels of functionality, sometimes with 48 hours or more of continuous on-call shifts when the natural biological state for a third of this time is to be asleep. Police officers and firefighters who have higher levels of sleepiness have been shown to have a number of adverse health outcomes, including an increased risk for motor vehicle accidents.

    This project brings together faculty and students from Psychology, Neuroscience, and Justice and Society Studies Departments to compare different measures of fatigue in first responders while helping emergency departments better detect and manage fatigue at the same time.

    Health experts helping a woman walk.

    An Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults

    Focus area: Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems

    Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. The Department of Health and Exercise Science is teaming up with the YWCA to develop a cost-effective and evidence-based fall prevention program for its members and the community. This project supports the YWCA by providing education and increased community awareness in St. Paul about fall prevention.

    How to Get Involved

    External partnerships gives students the opportunity to jump into the real world and learn by doing, making the learning experience more engaging. Our projects explore a variety of issues, such as the impact of sustainable literacy and connections between urban art and community identity.

    If you have an idea for partnership or want to get involved, contact us at: khwammer@stthomas.edu