Serving the Community through Discipline-Specific ConsultingReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v11 n4 p99-108 2006

Discipline-specific consulting has a critical place in any university as a form of community outreach. For example, when government and nonprofit organizations need objective information for decision making, a university-driven consulting program providing free services can fulfill their needs. We show how this can be accomplished by describing a project completed by Statistics in the Community (Statcom), a graduate student-run organization at Purdue University. Statcom helped the city of West Lafayette, Indiana, develop and analyze the results of two community surveys. We use this as a case study to illustrate the multiple benefits of implementing such an engagement opportunity at any university and argue that discipline-specific consulting should play a major role in university outreach. This case study also illustrates how students can be utilized to fulfill a university's engagement mission.

Descriptors: Consultation Programs, Teaching Methods, Community Involvement, Higher Education, Community Surveys, Case Studies, Partnerships in Education, School Community Relationship, Consultants, Community Services, Public Agencies, Nonprofit Organizations

Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia and the Institute of Higher Education. Treanor House, 1234 South Lumpkin Street, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-6167; Fax: 706-542-6124; e-mail: jheoe[at]; Web site:

Author: Gunaratna, Nilupa S.; Olbricht, Gayla R.; Lipka, Alexander E.; Watkins, Amy E.; Yoshida, Patricia Y.


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