Outreach and Public Engagement

Developing Relationships

The Department of Anthropology and Geography actively participates in community and school outreach and public events and forums to educate the public about the importance and contributions of our fields. Outreach programs also give our current students opportunities to participate in and lead educational experiences, and to develop relationships with our community at CSU, in Fort Collins, and throughout Colorado.

Educational Outreach

High School student shows off an artifact in his palm
Woman shows young child a skull during Elementary School Science Night

“Speaking Anthropology and Geography” Trunk Show

The department's Speaking Anthropology and Geography Trunk Show offers hands-on materials, artifacts, displays, and learning experiences to increase awareness and foster interest in anthropology and geography careers and concentrations.

Opportunities include school visits, campus field trips to the CSU Archaeological Repository and department labs, and other activities for high-school students, transfer students and new majors, and parents to demonstrate the valuable cultural perspectives and practical training that anthropology and geography offer toward a variety of careers.

Trunk Show activities can complement curriculum in many science and social-studies classes, including Forensic Science, Anatomy and Physiology, Zoology, AP Environmental Science, Geospace Science, AP Human Geography, World Geography and Culture, Anthropology, and other subjects. Our department also considers high-school student interns and "job shadowing" requests.

The Trunk Show also works with student volunteers and clubs to lead events at K-8 schools, science nights, family days, fairs, and other events in order to introduce young learners to anthropology, archaeology, paleontology and fossils, museum studies, and geography. 

The Trunk Show has led activities with partners, schools, and students including:

    • Poudre High School Anthropology, Fort Collins
    • Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, Fort Collins
    • Northridge High School Forensic Science Club, Greeley
    • Fort Collins High School Forensic Science/ Biology, Fort Collins
    • Fossil Ridge High School Rho Kappa (Social Studies National Honor Society)
    • Compass Community Collaborative School, Fort Collins
    • Rice Elementary, Wellington
    • Dunn Elementary, Fort Collins
    • Linton Elementary, Fort Collins
    • James Madison STEAM Academy, Greeley
    • Laurel Elementary, Fort Collins
    • Polaris Expeditionary Learning School, Fort Collins



Schools and Museums Served By Trunk Show
Students Who Participated in a Trunk Show Event
Volunteer and Service Hours
Are you a teacher or student interested in setting up a school visit or field trip, or just want to know more?

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.

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

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.

Katherine E. Browne

  • Professor Emeritus

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.