Outreach and Public Engagement

Reaching Out & Developing Relationships

The Department of Anthropology and Geography actively participates in community outreach to educate the public about the importance of our work, give our current students opportunities to participate in educational experiences, and develop relationships with our community at CSU, in Fort Collins, and throughout Colorado.


High School student shows off an artifact in his palm

“Speaking Anthropology” Trunk Show

The department recently received funding to develop and launch the “Speaking Anthropology” Trunk Show. In an effort to increase awareness and foster interest in the discipline of Anthropology, the department is developing a program to reach high-school students, parents, transfer students, and existing majors to demonstrate that anthropology offers practical training applicable to a variety of industries. The Trunk Show is still under development, but has hosted high school visits on campus and participated in the Western Stock Show. The funding is also supporting two undergraduate student interns who have been tasked with leading focus groups, conducting research, and to assist in the development of educational programming.

Archaeology Instructor Richard Adams hosts Prehistoric Technology Day on the Monfort Quad. Students rotate through activities in the Quad and learn how to skin hides, throw atlatls, make beads, and flint knap, among other things. It gives students the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the hard work that prehistoric hunter-gatherers did to put food in the mouths of their families.

Woman paints another woman's arm for Prehistoric Technology Day
Woman shows young child a skull during Elementary School Science Night

Elementary School Science Nights

The Department of Anthropology often collaborates with local elementary schools to provide education and activities during their annual science nights. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce anthropology to the young minds of our community.

Front Range Teen Science Café Network

Several Faculty members have participated in the Front Range Teen Science Café. The Café events are a free, fun way for teens to explore the big advances in science and technology affecting their lives. Previous Anthropology Department lectures included, Neanderthals with Biological Anthropology Professor Mica Glantz and Landscape Change and Disease Dynamics in Rural Ghana with Geography Assistant Professor Heidi Hausserman.

Professor of Anthropology speaks to high school students

Public Engagement

The motivation behind “engaged” or “public” scholarship in the US is as old as the founding of land grant universities themselves, established by the Morrill Act of 1862. But the ethic of strong connections between academic knowledge producers and the non-academic public found its modern voice and institutional urgency in Ernest Boyer’s seminal book Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate (1990). Boyer argued that “in no time in our history has the need been greater for connecting the work of the academy to the social and environmental challenges beyond the campus” (1990:xii). In a later publication, Boyer further stated that “the academy must become a more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic and moral problems, and must reaffirm its historic commitment to what I call the scholarship of engagement” (1996:11).

Our Department of Anthropology and Geography is strongly committed to public scholarship. In each area of faculty expertise, we conduct research that contributes to building public awareness and knowledge.

Jason S. Sibold

Associate Professor

Geography Associate Professor Jason Sibold’s geographic research to understand the origin and spread of beetle kill has led to many media interviews and potential solutions.

Cultural Anthropology Professor Jeff Snodgrass writes a blog series about biocultural questions and research in Somatosphere.

In many cases, the emphasis on making knowledge accessible takes the form of publications that reach broader publics. For example, there are new and emerging journals such as SAPIENS or Anthropology Now that reach non-specialists with interesting questions and takeaways based on anthropological research.

Cultural Anthropology Professor. Kathleen Galvin has participated in the American Anthropological Association’s Climate Change Task Force.

Cultural Anthropology Professor Kate Browne has produced two public-facing documentary films, articles for public-facing journals, and a public-facing book about her post-Katrina research with a large African American family.

Cultural Anthropology Professor Kate Browne has co-authored a new FEMA report intended for the emergency management higher education community titled “Building Cultures of Preparedness.” The 38-page report directly aligns with FEMA’s 2018 strategic plan – which will guide the federal agency through 2022.

As part of his work in Vietnam and Laos, Geography Professor Leisz has engaged Province, District, and Commune level officials in discussing the drivers of local changes that are on-going. These efforts have included organizing participant discussions on new issues facing local communities and outreach efforts have led to insights regarding how land use and local livelihoods are changing.  It is hoped that through co-research like this, local concerns will be able to be heard by higher-level policy makers.

Land Grant Oriented Research

CSU has already taken the initiative in pushing the “outreach” mission of our land-grant status to include a newer, integrated approach that many other land grant schools are also adopting, an approach known as “engagement.” The CSU Office of Engagement works with researchers in many colleges to co-create projects with potential community stakeholders. Unlike outreach that involves sharing the result of research with communities that might be impacted, engagement signals a reciprocal relationship: researchers work with community partners on the front end to conceptually integrate their concerns into the research design and execution itself.