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Community Engagement

Community engagement describes the collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.
Through community engagement, colleges and universities partner with the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.


"At Buffalo State College, we will reach for the stars and excel in our engagement. Buffalo State has always been known as a campus that engages in healthy and productive discussions. We wrestle to understand the complexity of local, regional, and international issues. We discuss these issues within and outside our classrooms. As we move ahead, we will maximize our ability to engage in civil and productive discussions. We will engage with colleagues in our departments, in our schools, in our college, and in our communities."

—President Katherine S. Conway-Turner

Civic Action Plan

Civic Action Plan (PDF)



President Conway-Turner appointed the following individuals to the Civic Action Plan Work Group in summer 2016, and charged the committee with creating a five-year civic engagement plan for Buffalo State.


Alex Means
Assistant Professor
Social and Psychological Foundations of Education Department

Laura Hill Rao
Volunteer and Service Learning
Career Development Center


Melissa Slisz
Staff Assistant
President’s Office


Darryl Carter
STEP Program, Pre-Collegiate Programs

Patrice Cathey
Liberty Partnership Program, Pre-Collegiate Programs

Lisa Fronckowiak
Disability Services Office

Joy Guarino
Associate Professor
Theater Department

Charles Kenyon
Dean of Students
Student Affairs

Paula Madrigal
Assistant Director
Prevention and Health Promotions
Weigel Health Center

Catherine Mazzotta
Assistant Professor
Social Work Department

Kathleen McNerney
Assistant Professor
Speech-Language Pathology Department

Andrea Nikischer
Assistant Professor
Adult Education Department

Don Patterson
Upward Bound Program, Pre-Collegiate Programs

Jeffrey J. Scharoun
Complex Director
Residence Life Office

Gary Welborn
Associate Professor
Sociology Department

Peter Yacobucci
Associate Professor
Political Science Department


The committee met throughout the fall semester, reviewed existing documents and recommendations, garnered information from across campus, and drafted a plan to share with the campus:


Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Buffalo State’s rich and varied history of engagement with the surrounding community was recognized in January 2015 when it joined an elite group of colleges and universities that have received the Community Engagement Classification from the prestigious Carnegie Foundation.

What does Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification mean for Buffalo State?

The classification supports the notion that Buffalo State is fulfilling its mission to serve the public good and has the potential to open new opportunities for funding and fundraising. It also represents a significant step in clarifying our mission in a way that distinguishes us from our peers and makes us distinctive. It can help us attract and enroll motivated students looking for a unique engaged education and build on our reputation for regional leadership in service-learning and community development.

Finally, the classification is a stimulus for connecting disparate segments of the campus, uncovering promising practices and new areas of collaboration, and fostering wider support for community-based teaching, learning, and scholarship. This will lead to strong, meaningful partnerships that can have a significant impact on the community, as it deepens the curricular environment for students.

Want to get involved? Contact Gary Welborn, coordinator of community engagement.

Career Development Center

The Career Development Center helps organizations connect with qualified applicants for full-time, part-time, summer, volunteer, or internship positions. More than 900 students who take advantage of internships each year gain valuable experience while contributing to our region's workforce effectiveness.

Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education

The Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education (CEURE) was established to proactively meet the needs of disadvantaged students and their schools in urban and impacted rural areas. CEURE's mission is to close the student achievement gap, revitalize impacted schools to facilitate teacher retention, and provide qualified, effective teachers for every classroom that needs one. To this end, CEURE has initiated ongoing efforts to shape culturally responsive education strategies that benefit students in Western New York's city and rural schools.

Civic and Community Engagement Office

The Civic and Community Engagement Office leads efforts to integrate service with learning across campus while working to improve the success of local agencies and schools in meeting the needs of community residents. We help create long-term, meaningful partnerships with community agencies through service-learning, volunteering and other experiential opportunities for students. In addition to supporting service-learning courses, the VSLC offers a wide-range of both long and short-term volunteer opportunities for students including alternative breaks, leadership programs, community service days, volunteer fairs, and more.

Community Academic Center

The Community Academic Center (CAC), located at 214 Grant Street, coordinates and provides cradle-to-career educational support programming for youth and families on Buffalo's West Side. Programming is developed and designed in collaboration with campus and community partners. Activities and offerings range from outside of school time enrichment to instruction for newcomer refugee youth and parents. The CAC is jointly operated by the Center for Excellence in Rural and Urban Education and the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.

Economic Development

Buffalo State College is one of Western New York's most valuable cultural and economic resources. As a public urban institution of higher education, Buffalo State has been delivering America's promise since 1871.

With more than 10,500 students and 1,800+ employees, Buffalo State is a major contributor to the Western New York economy. Many graduates enter the workforce in high-demand fields and are immediately employed. Because a large percentage of our graduates remain in Western New York, Buffalo State is a major contributor to the economic and social fabric of this region.

In addition, more than $300 million in new construction at Buffalo State has taken place in the past five years, which has created many new full-time jobs in Western New York and added to the City of Buffalo's renaissance.

Global Book Project

The Global Book Project promotes family literacy and global understanding for students and community members. The Global Book Hour (GBH) provides weekly book-hour sessions that integrate geography, music, visual arts, and healthy eating. Teacher candidates facilitate the program with read-alouds and reading strategies and activities for families. Club HoLa is a children’s literature Spanish language club held one hour each week at Buffalo State for teacher candidates to build their experience and familiarity with the Spanish language, as well as opportunities for students to engage in international study and exchanges.

Great Lakes Center

Buffalo State is the only SUNY institution that operates an on-shore experimental laboratory on Lake Erie. The Great Lakes Center brings together faculty from seven academic departments to offer programs in watershed hydrology, water quality, environmental toxicology and chemistry, aquatic ecology, fisheries, urban ecology, and environmental education.

The center improves the quality of the environment by providing the best possible science to decision-makers concerned with the health and sustainability of Great Lakes and their watersheds.

Institute for Community Health Promotion

The Institute for Community Health Promotion (ICHP) combines two Buffalo State initiatives—the Center for Development of Human Services (CDHS) and the Center for Health and Social Research (CHSR). ICHP’s mission focuses on the health and well-being of individuals—as well as larger communities—through the development and implementation of research and programming. The institute also seeks to strengthen the influence of SUNY Buffalo State as a driver of health promotion.

Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides management and technical assistance to start-up and existing small businesses throughout Erie County and the Niagara Frontier.

The SBDC brings together the resources of Buffalo State with the private sector and government agencies to provide small businesses with counseling, training, and instructional programs in the areas of business organization, finance, marketing, and technical requirements.

Sponsored Programs, Research and Economic Development

The Sponsored Program Operations office at Buffalo State exists to promote, support and administer research, scholarship, and creative and entrepreneurial activities as a commitment to Buffalo State, SUNY, and the broader community.

The Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) consists of an experienced team of professionals committed to assisting faculty, staff, and stakeholders to develop and submit compelling, competitive funding proposals. The ORED collaborates with colleagues within the Buffalo State community to attract external funding and to contribute toward economic advancement in our region.

West Side Youth Development Coalition

A collaborative effort between SUNY Buffalo State faculty, staff, and students and members of the Western New York community, the West Side Youth Development Coalition (WSYDC) is a substance-use-prevention coalition that seeks to improve the health and well-being of Buffalo's West Side youth through the enactment of place-based, substance-use reducing strategies. WSYDC is supported in part by the Drug Free Communities Support Program of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and a Partnership for Success Grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

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