22nd Annual Engagement Scholarship Conference banner
22nd Annual Engagement Scholarship Conference banner

Engagement Scholarship Consortium International Conference

2021: Creating Connections and Expanding Possibilities

Main conference: September 13-15, 2021

Pennsylvania State University

Pre-Conference Workshops

To register for any of the pre-conference workshops, with the exception of the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop, visit the main Registration page. The Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop has a separate application process, which is outlined below.

Engagement Academy for University Leaders

September 9, September 23, and October 7
3:00–4:30 p.m. (ET)

Fee: $180

Leading Engagement in an Era of Political Polarization

In a politically fracturing nation, engagement leaders are faced with the challenge of partnering with an array of stakeholders that hold profoundly different visions about the direction of our democracy. How can engagement leaders be successful in navigating this difficult context within the academy and outside of the academy? During this three-week virtual seminar, participants will engage with literature, video interviews, and collaborative problem solving to understand rival beliefs about higher education’s role in society and ways that engagement leaders might bring together diverse constituents to serve the public good.


Lorilee R. Sandmann, Professor Emerita, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, University of Georgia 

For over 45 years, Professor Sandmann held administrative, faculty, and outreach positions at University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, Cleveland State University, and The University of Georgia as well as the editorship of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Dr. Sandmann’s research, teaching, writing, advising, and consulting focuses on leadership and organizational change in higher education with special emphasis on the institutionalization of community engagement, as well as faculty roles and rewards related to community-engaged scholarship. She has been inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship and the International Adult Continuing Education Hall of Fame; she is the recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award by the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement. She serves as a core reviewer and on the National Advisory Panel for the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. 

David J. Weerts, Professor and Faculty Director, Office for Public Engagement, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Over the past twenty years, Professor Weerts’s research has focused on the intersections among university-community engagement, state financing of higher education, and institutional advancement. His research on these topics has appeared in leading journals including The Journal of Higher EducationResearch in Higher Education, and Review of Higher Education. He has received awards for this work from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. Professor Weerts has held major gift officer positions at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and University of Minnesota Foundation. He holds a PhD in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

Executive-in-Residence: Rena Cotsones, Chief Engagement Officer and Senior Associate Vice President, Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development, Northern Illinois University 

As Chief Engagement Officer for Northern Illinois University (NIU), Dr. Cotsones leads NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, advancing the university’s public mission and providing leadership, partnership, and support for faculty, staff, and students interested in engaging with the broader region. She oversees the Center for Governmental Studies, the P-20 Center for Engagement, the university’s three regional centers and field campus, NIU’s centralized conferencing and event management function, and NIU’s Public Engagement Networks. Dr. Cotsones is actively engaged in the national dialogue on university engagement and outreach. She is a former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities (APLU) Council on Engagement and Outreach and is a current member of the Commission on Community and Economic Engagement.

Outreach and Engagement Practitioners Network (OEPN) Workshop

September 9
1:00–3:00 p.m. (ET)

Fee: $25

Exploring Positive Developments in Engagement

Join the Outreach and Engagement Practitioners Network (OEPN) for a virtual pre-conference workshop that will connect you with other outreach and engagement professionals. You will learn from one another and collaboratively identify strategies to be more effective leaders and change-makers in our field — to the benefit your institution and communities. 

Learn more on the OEPN website

Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop (EESW)    

September 7–9
Presentations: 3:00–4:30 p.m. (ET)
Mentoring sessions (small breakout groups): 5:00–6:00 p.m. (ET)

This intensive professional development program provides advanced doctoral students and early career faculty with background literature, facilitated discussion, mentoring, and presentations designed to increase their knowledge and enhance their practice of community-engaged scholarship. Participation in the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop (EESW) is limited and interested applicants must be nominated to be considered for this workshop.

Learn more and apply at the EESW website

Pre-College Programming Workshop

September 8–9
10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. (ET)

Fee: $130

The 6th National Pre-College and Youth Programming Workshop will take place during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium pre-conference sessions. For two days, attendees of the Pre-College Programming Workshop will connect, collaborate, and explore best practices with other pre-college programs across the nation.  

Who should attend:

  • Postsecondary education administrators, faculty, and staff and graduate students 
  • Program directors and coordinators (GEAR UP, Upward Bound, Trios, and similar programs)
  • Pre-college offices, or similar programs within higher education settings
  • K–12 teachers, counselors, and administrators
  • Community representatives interested in the role of pre-college and youth development programs at institutions of higher education

Workshop: Assessing Your Pre-College Programming Operation

This hands-on workshop will guide you through a self-assessment of your pre-college programming operations. Using 25 dimensions that were created in 2018–2019, this two-part working session will feature guidance and facilitation using a brand new workbook so you can reflect on your own self-study while creating an action plan and prioritizing your next steps as you advance your pre-college programming experience. This session will be relevant to newly established operations and long-standing pre-college units. 

Additional presentations include:

  • Pre-College Programming in Higher Education
  • Youth Safety on College Campuses
  • Diversity Equity & Inclusion in Pre-College Programming
  • Community Programs & Connections
  • Evaluation – Data & Metrics