Hennepin-University Partnership Summer 2012 Newsletter

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Summer 2012


Hennepin-University Partnership
301 19th Ave. S.
330 H. H. Humphrey Center
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Fax 612-626-0273
Kathie Doty
Program Director
Brittany Kellerman
Graduate Assistant


Since 2005, Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota have partnered on a broad initiative to capture the value for both organizations through a more strategic collaboration—connecting the two organizations where mutual benefit can be found. This includes collaboration on community-based research, sharing of academic and practitioner expertise, and providing students with valuable real-world experience.

From the Office of Commissioner Jan Callison

The Hennepin-University Partnership (HUP) is supported by the Hennepin County Board and the University of Minnesota. On behalf of the County Board, I serve as the Board lead, responsible for providing guidance and monitoring the progress of this important  initiative. This update is intended to communicate within Hennepin County government and the University of Minnesota about HUP activities and outcomes. For additional information, please contact  Kathie Doty at kdoty@umn.edu or me at jan.callison@co.hennepin.mn.us.
  - Jan Callison

Recent HUP Events

Commissioner Jan Callison sharing opening comments at the Community Engagement Forum

Forum on Community Engagement

On March 9, 2012, HUP hosted the Forum on Community Engagement at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University’s Minneapolis campus. The event served as an opportunity for Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota to hear provocative speakers and to participate in an open discussion about why we engage communities, what we hope to accomplish through community engagement, and how to measure effectiveness of our efforts. Participants at the event included 60 Hennepin County staff and 50 University of Minnesota faculty and staff from many different departments.
The half-day event began with opening comments from Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison, 6th District, and Ed Goetz, Director for the University’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. Speakers included: Kathy Quick, Assistant Professor for Public and Non-Profit Leadership, on the spectrum of community engagement; Steve Kelley, Director of Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, on communicating complex ideas; Tai Mendenhall, Associate Director of Citizen Professional Center, on co-generation in community health practice; and Jay Clark, Director of Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing (MCNO), on community organizing. The event was designed to be interactive and draw upon the knowledge and experience of participants. Each table had a trained facilitator (many trained in the Art of Hosting) who led three table discussions to expand understanding of the concepts presented by the speakers and to exchange thoughts and experiences around community engagement.
Following the presentations, Laura Bloomberg, Director of Center for Integrative Leadership, moderated the Leadership Conversation Circle with support from Gina Baas, Assistant Director of the Center for Transportation Studies. The Leadership Conversation Circle was designed to provide an opportunity for participants to hear from Hennepin County and University of Minnesota leaders around how community engagement is approached from an organizational level. The conversation began with Richard Johnson, Hennepin County Administrator, Peter McLaughlin, 4th District Commissioner, Hennepin County, Mark Stenglein, 2nd District Commissioner, Hennepin County, Tom Fisher, Dean of College of Design, and Heidi Barajas, Director of the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center responding to the question of why community engagement is important. All attendees were then invited to participate in the conversation.
Evaluation findings showed that 90% of attendees said they gained new insights about community engagement based on what they heard at the event and 84% of attendees would consider changes in their approach to community engagement going forward.  Missed the event, but interested in learning more? Videos and materials from all the presentations are available on our website at www.umn.edu/hup.
table discussions
Table discussions
converstaion circle
Laura Bloomberg, Jean King, Richard Johnson, and Commissioner Peter McLaughlin during Leadership Conversation Circle

HUP Mixer

On May 16th the Hennepin-University Partnership hosted a Networking Mixer at the University of Minnesota’s Campus Club. The Mixer was meant to further catalyze development of joint projects of value to both Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota and was in response to a request from the HUP Cohort to have more interactions with U of M staff/faculty. This event provided an opportunity for Hennepin County staff and University of Minnesota faculty to network and brainstorm about topics of interest to both organizations.  To encourage attendance and support partnerships, HUP will be awarding a $20,000 grant to a joint Hennepin County/University of Minnesota application.  Both Hennepin and the U are contributing equally to the grant fund.
Attendees of the Mixer participated in a “speed networking” exercise where they were given two minutes to introduce themselves and share ideas. After two minutes, half of the room switched seats and began the process again.  Following the exercise, attendees were invited to the terrace to follow-up with those that they were interested in connecting with or potentially submitting a joint grant application. There were 76 people in attendance.
Grant applications will be reviewed in July and the award will be made in August. To find out more about the grant visit www.umn.edu/hup.
Networking on the terrace
mixer 2
Speed networking exercise
mixer 3
Speed networking exercise

cw social media

HUP Brown Bag - How Technology is changing Child Welfare Practice: Social Media, Smartphones, & Safety

On January 4, 2012, HUP hosted a Brown Bag event on technology in the child welfare field. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) presented a compilation of best practices around the impacts of technology in the child welfare field. Presenters included Liz Snyder, CASCW’s Director of Professional Education, and Tracy Crudo, CASCW’s Director of Outreach. Lynn Lewis, Hennepin County’s Area Manager of Child Protection Services, provided opening comments expressing the county’s interest in new technologies and ways in which the county can serve families in more efficient and innovative ways. There were more than 30 attendees from a variety of Hennepin County departments. For more information and presentation materials go to: http://www1.umn.edu/hup/events/BrownBagtalksatGovernmentCenter.html

In the Beginning Phases

Humphrey Students Select Environmental Services  for Summer Capstone on Recycling

A Hennepin County Environmental Services capstone proposal was selected for a project titled Strategies for Increasing Commercial Recycling and Organics Diversion. The project is in progress during the 2012 summer semester. Students from the Humphrey School will work to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of incentive-based strategies that could be used to stimulate commercial recycling/organics participation in Hennepin County. The three incentives under study will be business technical assistance, targeted programs for food rich locations, and “starter” grant programs. The Humphrey student group is rapidly coming up to speed on the complexities of commercial recycling and documenting the effect of innovative efforts throughout the country.  Are these approaches feasible in Hennepin County? By early August, the project team will weigh in with their findings and recommendations on which strategies to pursue.
Interested in being part of a capstone project? There are several schools at the University of Minnesota that conduct capstone projects. These projects take place over the course of a semester (or sometimes two semesters) and a group of students is dedicated to working on an issue of interest to both sides. Students work under the direction of a faculty member and generally produce reports, presentations, etc. Contact your Cohort member or the HUP office for more information.

Current Research Collaborations

Lead Peace

On May 31, 2012, Lead Peace staff and partners presented program highlights to Hennepin County staff and elected officials, along with testimonials from 8th grade students who believe that Lead Peace is giving them the confidence to be leaders in their schools. Lead Peace, a service learning program for middle school students from Cityview, Nellie Stone Johnson, and Lucy Craft Laney schools in north Minneapolis, serves to promote high school graduation, school connectedness, and community service. Since 2001, the program has been offered through a partnership between Hennepin County’s A-GRAD initiative, community organizations, Minneapolis Public Schools District, and the University of Minnesota’s Healthy Youth Development - Prevention Research Center and Center for Adolescent Nursing. Outcomes for Lead Peace participants when compared to a control group show improved school connectedness, peer connectedness, and more cooperative behaviors. Reductions in fighting and bullying over the school year have also been reported by program participants. Barbara McMorris, with the Center for Adolescent Nursing, received a 2012/2013 Faculty Interactive Research Program grant from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota to evaluate high school outcomes for students who were involved in Lead Peace during their middle school years.


University of Minnesota Faculty Profile

Mary Story is the most recent addition to the HUP Management Team. Story is a Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health, the Program Director for Healthy Eating Research and the Co-Director of the Obesity Prevention Center.
Mary Story conducts research on eating behaviors of children and adolescents and obesity prevention. She investigates school and community interventions to improve healthy eating and reduce obesity. At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Story leads a Healthy Eating Research program on childhood obesity.

Who is the Hennepin County Cohort?

The Hennepin County Cohort was created in 2011 to increase the level of productive partnerships between Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota. Members of the Cohort are liaisons within their departments and the University, and work to catalyze greater levels of connection in areas that benefit both Hennepin County and the University. Cohort members continue to meet regularly and were the inspiration for organizing the HUP Mixer event.
Cohort members include the following representatives from the corresponding Hennepin County Departments:
  • Budget and Fiance - Katherine Kardell 
  •  Community Corrections-Nancy Skilling
  •  County Attorney-Jodie Wierimaa
  • Environmental Services-Jeremy Jones, Amy Roering
  • Examiner of Titles- Alison Schubring
  •  Housing, Community Works and Transit- Melissa Illies, Ron White, Michael Noonan, Adele Hall
  • Human Resources-Leanne Rajtar, Kari Boe-Schmidtz
  •  Human Services and Public Health-Jodell O’Connell, Vanessa Bailey, Barb Johnson                               
  • Information Technology-Bob Kelly
  • Internal Audit-Ray Ideen
  • Library-Amy Luedtke, Ali Turner
  • Northpoint Health and Wellness Center-Julie Nielsen, Naima Bashir
  • Property Services-Michael Tupy 
  • Public Affairs-Carolyn Marinan, Meg Knodl 
  • Public Defender-Bob Sorenson
  • Public Works Management Support-Greg Gilseth
  • Research, Planning and Development-Connie Osterbaan, Sherrie Simpson
  • Taxpayer Services-Rachel Smith, Paul Buschmann
  • Transportation- Nick Peterson