The University of Toledo is launching a new initiative to enhance its community engagement efforts.
Valerie Simmons-Walston will serve as special assistant to the president for community engagement and strategic partnerships effective July 1.
“UToledo is fortunate to have strong community engagement because we have many individuals across the institution who are committed to serving our region. We have a great opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships and explore new opportunities by having a designated member of our senior leadership team focused on this effort,” UToledo President Gregory Postel said. “I look forward to Valerie’s leadership of this new initiative. She is passionate about collaboration and service and will bring the right people together to create and grow partnerships that are mutually beneficial for the University and the community.”
“I appreciate Dr. Postel’s support and trust in me to establish a structure to support the great work already underway and explore ways to partner with additional community organizations and businesses that will benefit everyone involved,” Walston said. “This is an exciting opportunity to be able to serve as the senior leader who can make the connections between internal and external partners and align our engagement efforts to support our mission and strategic goals. A successfully engaged community includes students, staff, faculty and community partners working toward the same goal.”
Walston will work closely with Dr. Monica Holiday-Goodman, professor of pharmacy practice, who will serve as the faculty liaison on community engagement efforts. Together they are working to develop an advisory board to help guide this work and are building a task force of representatives from across campus to get this initiative underway. As community engagement and strategic partnerships efforts grow, Walston plans to build a team dedicated to this work.
Walston joined UToledo in 2017 as associate vice president of student affairs and director of residence life and has served as interim vice president of student affairs for the past year. Dr. Sammy Spann will serve as UToledo’s next vice president for student affairs and dean of students effective July 1.
UToledo has previously been recognized for its community engagement efforts. In 2015, UToledo received the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Community Engagement Classification and in 2013 the University was designed an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University in recognition of its leadership in promoting regional economic development by the American Public & Land Grant Universities (APLU).