Whenever I describe BTU, I always try to point out that the idea and implementation of partnership work at TU is not new. However, while that work is not new, and although there have been previous groups that supported these efforts, the university-wide approach and increased level of support for partnership work at TU is new.
In 2016, President Schatzel announced BTU: Partnerships at Work for Greater Baltimore as one of her eight presidential priorities. Since then, many TU faculty, staff, and students have been working to build a framework to capture and support the work taking place between TU and its partners throughout Greater Baltimore.
BTU Leadership Team
Earlier this year, the BTU Council, comprised of over 30 faculty, staff, and students from all academic colleges and administrative divisions, was established to raise awareness of and support for partnership. To provide cohesive, interdisciplinary guidance to the BTU Council, three members have been identified as the BTU Leadership Team with representation from the Divisions of Innovation and Applied Research, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs:
- Bobbie Laur, Associate Vice President of Outreach
- Matthew Durington, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice
- Santiago Solis, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
The BTU Council has been meeting monthly and constantly collaborating to provide overall support to partnership work while also working to:
- Align TU’s work with K-12 schools as it relates to college and career access and readiness
- Ensure that equity is a priority when engaging in collaborative work
- Provide project support to better strengthen the partnership work already taking place
- Reward and recognize faculty, staff, students, and community partners excelling in collaborative work
- Create a consistent approach around working with corporate partners
- Eliminate barriers related to transportation and parking when working with partners
Cross Campus Support Teams
In addition to the BTU Council and BTU Leadership Team, several departments across campus have been supporting the efforts of BTU.
The Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility, within Student Affairs, has been leading the efforts to alleviate the issues around transportation and parking when either a partner visits TU’s campus, or having TU faculty, staff, or students engage in partnership work offsite. Due to their efforts, we are now able to provide parking and transportation support to faculty and staff on a rolling basis throughout the 2017–2018 academic year.
The Office of Partnerships and Outreach, within the Division of Innovation and Applied Research, serves in an administrative role for BTU by:
- Providing overall management of the BTU Database including report development for leadership and extending accessibility to the BTU Council
- Serving as the front door to potential partners interested in collaborating with Towson University
- Managing the implementation and progress of TU’s relationships with its university-wide partners
- Determining the scope of partnerships and collaborations and evaluating their impacts and outcomes
In addition to the above tasks, the team within the Office of Partnerships and Outreach provides ongoing support for TU partnerships and collaborations in areas of event planning and implementation, project management, communications, promotions, and collateral development.
Related article: TU hosts largest BTU Partnerships Showcase to date
I have the pleasure of working with all of these groups, making sure that Towson University is strategic with our partnership work, and helping to strengthen the collaborative work that TU engages in beyond campus.
If you have any questions about how BTU can help to support you in your partnership efforts, or if you’re interested in collaborating with TU, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.