Long Beach State University is a diverse, student-centered, globally-engaged public university committed to providing highly-valued undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service for the people of California and the world. The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) prepares the next generation of workforce in a variety of clinical health professions, multiple areas within the business and government sectors, and in health, social, and safety services. With being home to nearly 9,300 student majors studying in over 70 diverse degree and certificate programs offered within 11 distinct departments and schools, CHHS is among the largest of the six academic colleges comprising the University.
The CHHS faculty professional backgrounds, disciplinary preparation, expertise, and interests span widely. They were recruited as faculty from among the best graduates of the world’s most prestigious universities and additionally, many have a wealth of professional experience. Each faculty member has an impressive network of local, regional, national and/or international scholars, researchers and practitioners. Hence, CHHS Faculty are an incredible asset to the University and in most instances, to a select segment of the community in their respective roles.
With over 1760 community partner affiliation agreements, CHHS faculty and students have a substantial and systemic footprint in our community. These agreements are initiated at the individual faculty and program levels within schools and departments and therefore, span many areas of focus and functions and are largely aimed at providing students with an experiential and transformational education. In many instances, different faculty and programs have affiliation with the same community partner, yet multi-disciplinary student experiences and sustained focused research and scholarly activities have not been realized. Additionally, the direction of the California State University system and our University campus, signals a need to foster interdisciplinary education and research and the expansion of new and existing community partnerships.
Hence, during the 2016-2017 academic year, CHHS began exploring ways in which faculty may have interest in working more closely together with our community partners to better optimize talent, time, and resources and to realize greater impact on our students and the communities we serve. We began this work by conceptualizing an event in which our primary purpose would be to provide the very large and very diverse CHHS faculty an opportunity to convene and intellectually engage with one another and with our community partners to have a common experience – all as prelude to a strategic planning.
The intellectual engagement with one another and with our community partners took on the form of a roundtable discussion event – Optimizing Collective Impact: Innovations in University and Community Partnerships. To ensure the event was wellplanned and resulted in meaningful outcomes for everyone, we assembled a planning team comprised of leaders from the College and from our community. Members of this planning team included:
- John Bishop, CEO, Memorial Care Health System, Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach
- Terry Geiling, President and CEO, American Gold Star Manor
- Joe Prevratil, President and CEO, Archstone Foundation
- Mark Taylor, Chief of Staff for the Mayor, City of Long Beach
- Chris Wing, President and CEO, SCAN Health Plan
- Andrea Taylor, Vice President of University Relations and Development
- Brenda Vogel, Director, School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management
- Lucy Huckabay, Director, School of Nursing
- Jennifer Moore, Director of Development, College of Health and Human Services
- Sharon Cruz, Executive Assistant to the Dean
- Monica A. F. Lounsbery, Dean, College of Health and Human Services
In selecting topics for the roundtable discussion, we aimed to identify areas that (a) aligned with the scholarly interests of multiple faculty from multiple disciplinary areas, (b) were complex issues and conducive to examination from multiple disciplinary lenses, and (c) were aligned with community priorities. Hence, we first surveyed CHHS faculty about their research interests and second, we held multiple individual conversations with many community leaders. The four areas of homelessness, health disparity, aging, and clinical care and prevention emerged. The planning team met regularly throughout the academic year to plan the roundtable event. Drs.Tara Gruenewald from Gerontology, Laura D’Anna from Health Sciences, Rashida Crutchfield from the School of Social Work, and Natalie Cheffer from the School of Nursing worked individually and collectively to develop the roundtable facilitation questions outlined below:
- Introduce yourself. Share why you chose this roundtable discussion topic.
- What do you believe is the most pressing problem or unmet need that we can work on together?
- How can collaborative efforts be fostered and sustained?
- What is the most critical first step?
CHHS sent email invitations to all full-time faculty and community partner contacts and 185 individuals RSVP’d for the event. A total of 24 tables seating 8-10 participants were planned (6 tables in homelessness, 6 tables in health disparities, 7 tables in aging, and 5 tables in clinical care and prevention). Twenty-five CHHS faculty volunteered to facilitate the roundtable discussion and take detailed notes at an assigned table. All faculty facilitators attended a brief training before the roundtable discussion began. Ten CHHS students volunteered to greet participants and assist faculty facilitators.
The event took place at the Pointe in the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State from 8-10:30 a.m. on April 21, 2017. A total of 172 people (95 CHHS faculty and 77 community partners) participated in this engaging event. All of the notes from each roundtable discussion were collated and given to individual CHHS faculty who were commissioned to review and analyze all table discussion records and write a peer-reviewed brief to provide an overview of the results of each discussion.
As a next step, CHHS will reconvene the planning team to debrief on the event, review the discussion results, and to recommend members from both the university and the community to serve on a separate planning task force for each roundtable topic. These planning task forces will determine next steps based on the discussion results.
Monica A. F. Lounsbery, Ph.D.
Dean of College of Health & Human Services