Beyond the Walls of Academe: 
Rewards and Challenges of Community Engagement

Presented by Christina J. Groark, Ph.D, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development


"30 Years of Lessons Learned at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development"


The University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development (OCD) has practiced university-community engagement activities for more than 30 years. This has included hundreds of special projects conducted with community partners all funded by outside grants. Based on this experience, lessons learned regarding the operation of a university-community engagement unit and the conduct of community engaged scholarship will be described. Some of the challenges that the engagement endeavor presents to faculty, staff, and students and to traditional research universities will be posed in the hope that other engagement units and individuals will benefit from this work.

You can watch the full video here. 

Kazakhstan Adoption Support Program
Our global reach has expanded to help with children being adopted through orphanages in Kazakhstan. Drs. Groark and McCall have been leading and planning this project for the past year. The purpose of this project is to promote academic and social-emotional development by training and coaching professionals to become future trainers for caregivers and adoptive and foster parents in order to provide better support for families. 

This team is spending most of November 2017 in Kazakhstan. So be sure to check back for more updates. 

Early Child Partnerships 
The HealthyCHILD (HC) program, part of Early Childhood Partnerships here at OCD has expanded its local and regional reach. Beginning last year, HC began a new partnership with the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center (COTRAIC) and expanded into 2 new settings - Child Cares and a Family Support Center. This year, HC continues to expand its partnerships and is now working with COTRAIC in additional counties in Southwestern PA and with select Pittsburgh Public School’s Kindergarten classrooms. 

Tracy Larson has been leading and planning this expansion for many years. The purpose of HealthyCHILD is to provide on-site consultation, professional development and technical assistance to early childhood professionals and caregivers to promote young children’s social emotional competence and mental wellness.