New Center Demonstrates University CARES about Service Region

EKU file photo

Eastern Kentucky University CARES about its service region and Appalachia.

That’s the impetus behind the establishment of the Center for Appalachian Regional Engagement and Stewardship (CARES), a unified, comprehensive approach to stewardship and engagement that focuses on the five areas identified by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education: economic and workforce development, education, environment, collaborative government and health, wellness and safety.

CARES encompasses the work of the Center for Appalachian Studies, the Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship Program, Service Learning, PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement, the Kentucky Institute for Public Governance and Civic Engagement, the Office of Regional Stewardship and the Regional Extension Agent Program. The academic minors in Appalachian Studies and in Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship will also join the new center. CARES is housed in EKU’s Office of University Programs and will be headed by Ian Mooers, who also serves as director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology, based at Eastern.

Dr. Sara Zeigler, dean of University Programs, said: “CARES represents EKU’s continued commitment to our service region, to Appalachia, and to educating people about the rich cultural heritage of the region. Because more money will be available to go directly into the communities, rather than operating multiple centers, CARES will enable EKU to use resources more efficiently and will provide a single point of contact for our regional engagement and stewardship efforts.”

 In addition to Mooers, whose focus will be economic and workforce development, CARES staff members and their respective focus areas will include Dr. Alice Jones, environment, academic minors and service learning; Dr. Joseph Gershtenson, collaborative government, internships and PRISM; Tom Parker, education; Karrie Adkins, health, wellness and safety; and the team of five community-based regional extension agents who, together, are responsible for connecting EKU resources to communities throughout the University’s service region.

Zeigler thanked Dr. Alan Banks, the retiring director of the Center for Appalachian Studies, for his many years of service.

One of the Center’s goals is to involve more faculty and students in internships and service-learning projects that will benefit communities throughout the area. Increased faculty involvement should lead to more grants.

 “I think we’ll be more visible in communities, doing things that make a more immediate impact,” Zeigler said.

A series of community forums will be scheduled this fall “to give us a chance to better understand community needs,” Mooers said.

The work of EKU’s five regional extension agents will continue largely unchanged, Mooers said, adding that gifted-and-talented programs organized by the agents throughout the region are proving very popular.

The five agents and their county coverage areas are: Vickie Moberly, Madison and Garrard; Mark Reese, Powell, Estill, Lee and Owsley; Michelle Allen, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Laurel, Jackson and Knox; David Gover, Boyle, Casey, Lincoln, Wayne, McCreary and Whitley; and Ryan Watts, Perry, Leslie, Harlan, Bell and Clay. For more information, visit extensionagents.eku.edu.

This summer, CARES will announce an opportunity for communities to apply for five $10,000 community-development grants, each centered on one of the Center’s five focus areas of regional stewardship. The extension agents will work with interested communities to help them organize project proposals and assist in planning and implementation.

For more information about how CARES can assist with community needs, contact Ian Mooers at 859-622-2334 or ian.mooers@eku.edu or Karrie Adkins at 859-622-6168 or karrie.adkins@eku.edu, or visit regionalstewardship.eku.edu/eku-cares.

Published on May 07, 2013