“Civic and Community Engagement” helps connect Polytechnic research to real-world problems

Purdue Polytechnic's strategic research impact areas

This is the fifth of a series of articles describing the college’s sociotechnical research impact areas.

Through a cross-cutting research impact area titled “Civic and Community Engagement,” Purdue Polytechnic faculty aim to connect technical solutions from researchers, technologists and industry partners to the needs of citizens, employees and volunteers, thereby empowering stakeholders to be more involved and productive in their respective institutions.

Establishing relationships with local partners and community organizations will be key to reaching several goals, such as helping stakeholders leverage Polytechnic research to identify and solve local and regional issues, engage with diverse communities at multiple scales, and increase civic participation in the college’s research in the short and long term.

“In addition to assisting colleagues working in Purdue Polytechnic’s other impact areas, we want to develop sustainable working relationships with local community organizations,” said Colin Gray, assistant professor of computer graphics technology. “Once these relationships have been established, we hope to provide new ways to connect faculty and their research to people in the community.”

“We will engage with communities at multiple scales and within diverse contexts,” said Austin Toombs, assistant professor of computer graphics technology. “Communities exist that were formed around social issues, geography, socioeconomic status and employment areas. We hope to work with them, learn about their needs and connect them to existing and new research efforts in Purdue Polytechnic. Working together at all stages, from design through implementation of a solution, will benefit both the community and our research.”

Faculty working in the Polytechnic’s Civic and Community Engagement research impact area have expertise in data visualization and analytics, design, social factors, STEM education and user experience fields.

Current projects

In addition to creating new relationships with partners in the community, the research team is surveying local community stakeholders and Purdue employees to identify existing partnerships. Additional projects are focusing on affordable housing and performance measurements for police officers.

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