Community and Connections

The University of Akron Strategic Plan

Promises and Aspirations​


Community and Connections

Promise V

To proactively collaborate with our communities as a responsive and reliable partner to identify and meet the needs of the region and intentionally contribute to help economic and workforce development, and civic life flourish.

1. Map and grow community engagement across the institution.

  1. Achieve use of Collaboratory in at least 50% of academic units.
  2. Establish a baseline percentage of students who successfully complete a community-based curricular learning
    experience using a course tagging system.
  3. Develop institutional student learning outcomes for community and civic engagement.
  4. Enhance institutional pathways that support applied scholarly engagement for the benefit of our communities.

2. Grow our cultural corridor in the surrounding region through the arts and by connecting
with downtown Akron.

  1. Leverage existing UA strengths to enhance relationship(s) with the City (of Akron) and partners (Greater Akron Chamber, APS, County of Summit, Downtown Akron Partnership).
  2. Increase opportunities for curricular and co-curricular engagement that intentionally bring UA and students to downtown and the community to campus.
  3. Grow the AkronArts initiative by continuing to assess and advance existing programs, facilities and relationships and
    create new ones.
  4. Engage stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, downtown stakeholders and the public) in conversations about the mix of
    uses in the building, programming, and design of the Knight Building project.

2023 Progress Highlights

A. Investing in a single, one-stop professional and continuing education office that consolidates and improves support for all non-credit initiatives.

  • Launched and Branded the Continuing and Professional Education unit:
  • Improved non-credit programming: Developed an MOU for colleges and departments to offer targeted training, programs and partnerships with other colleges and programs to increase offerings.
  • Established UA-Coursera Partnership: This partnership, established Summer 2022, will increase capacity in industry- recognized credentialing with the launch of the UA Extended Campus on Coursera (UAx on Coursera).
  • Workforce Development: Enrollment for online, contract training, and open enrollment reached 2,913 with twenty-nine contract training and open enrollment customers.

Key Contact Area: Online, Continuing and Professional Education

B. Partnering with local/regional business, government and non-profit enterprises in ways that serve their needs, provide experiential learning, service-learning, and applied research opportunities for students and create outcomes that matter locally and globally.


  • Renewing Carnegie Classification as a Community Engaged Campus: Developed a cross-institution Carnegie Working Group to undertake a detailed self-study and work toward building infrastructure to align with best practices in community engagement in preparation for the 2025 Reclassification Application.
  • Learning from other Urban, Anchor Institutions: Rejoined the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities to share resources and ideas.
  • Storytelling and Community Engagement: Implemented the Collaboratory system to map, assess, and build awareness of ongoing community engagement activities.
  • Building Curricular Connections: Developed a Certificate in Applied Community Engagement, with foundational course content co-created between UA and the community through a summer institute with local non-profit leaders.
  • Community Commitment: Adopted an institutional definition of community engagement through the shared
    governance process.
  • Implemented Amazon Career Choice: Offers full- or part-time Amazon employees the opportunity to take classes at UA to aid in career advancement.

Key Contact Area: EX[L] Center for Experiential Learning

C. Reconnecting and growing our cultural corridor in the surrounding region through the arts, especially through revitalized programming and community use of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall and connecting with downtown via our AkronArts plan.


  • Enriching AkronArts: The AkronArts plan was launched in 2021.
  • Downtown Revitalization: The Knight Foundation announced a $20M grant to the University of Akron to reimagine the Polsky building and rename it for the Knight Foundation.
  • Vision for the Future: Jason Segedy, former Director of Planning and Urban Development for the city of Akron, joined the UA Office of the President in the role of Project Manager for the Knight Creative Project.

Key Contact Area: AkronArts Initiative, Office of the President

Promises and Aspirations​

Strategic Plan


Well-Being & Stewardship​


Academic Opportunity​


Inclusive Excellence & Belonging​


Research & Innovation​​


Community & Connections​​