Penn State to host engaged scholarship leaders at international conference

September 24, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Senior Emily Fucinato — a biorenewable systems and materials science and engineering double major — embarked on a study abroad program to Cuzco, Peru, last May for the opportunity to connect her classroom learning with hands-on experiences in water resource management and sustainability solutions.

“I learned more from my study abroad experience than I could have from any one on-campus course,” said Fucinato, who spent two weeks in South America through the GREEN (Global Renewable Energy Education Network) program. “It was eye opening, not just from the educational component, but from the people I met and the culture I experienced.”

Out-of-classroom experiences that enhance student learning, like study abroad, are defined as “engaged scholarship.”

Fucinato’s engaged scholarship story will be shared during the 16th annual Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference — “Engaged Scholarship: Advancing Rigor, Elevating Impact” — from Sept. 29-30 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus. The international conference will welcome approximately 400 leaders — faculty, administrators, staff, community members and select students — of engaged scholarship.

“We are thrilled to welcome the premier international conference on engaged scholarship,” said Craig Weidemann, vice president for outreach and vice provost for online education. “This conference originated at Penn State more than 15 years ago, and its ongoing success reflects the growing importance across higher education, among faculty, staff and students, to deeply engage with our various communities to jointly solve problems and improve society.”

Among the notable conference sessions include the President’s Panel on Sept. 29 when leaders from the three hosting universities — Eric J. Barron (Penn State), Jonathan Alger (James Madison), and Timothy Sands (Virginia Tech) — discuss the movement and its future. The following day, 2014-15 Penn State laureate and associate professor of theatre Susan Russell will adapt 15 students’ engaged scholarship experiences into a performance.

Penn State, which hosted the first Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference in 1999, will welcome the conference for the fifth time (1999, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2015). The Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference began as a partnership between Penn State and Michigan State, and now the global initiative includes more than 30 institutional and international partners.

“Engaged scholarship helps define you as a student,” said Fucinato. “It gives you, no matter what avenue you choose, an opportunity to learn and take away so much that’s not just from the classroom.”

Penn State students are encouraged to participate in engaged scholarship, which encompasses out-of-classroom academic experiences, such as undergraduate research, study abroad/away, embedded travel courses, community-based learning, service learning, internships and capstone experiences.

Registration details and more information for the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference can be found by clicking here. To learn more about the Engaged Scholarship initiative at Penn State, visit

  • 16th annual Engaged Scholarship Consortium at Penn State
    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 29, 2015