The Morgridge Center for Public Service is pleased to welcome Cory Sprinkel in a newly created role as Community Engagement Preparation Specialist.
This position was developed in response to the Civic Action Plan, a UW–Madison initiative led by the Morgridge Center for Public Service to institutionalize and improve community-engagement and community-based learning. Shaped by hundreds of survey responses and interviews from stakeholders on and off campus, the plan found an overwhelming need to better prepare UW–Madison students, faculty, staff and researchers to work with community partners, in terms of sustainability, cultural sensitivity and mutually beneficial partnerships.
“Campuses are often very guilty of having a savior complex, where the perception from the community is, ‘oh here comes the university, they think they know how to solve our problems,’” Lisa Chambers, Associate Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service, said.
The Community Engagement Preparation Specialist position specifically built to help address such perceptions. In the new position, Sprinkel will identify campus groups working with communities, and create curriculum that will better prepare those groups to do so in respectful and responsive ways.
“When we engage, we want to be ready to jump in and do our part, instead of relying on the community organization to get people up to a space where they can jump in,” Chambers said. “We should take responsibility on our side to do that.”
A UW–Madison alumnus and recent graduate of University of Connecticut with a master of arts in higher education and student affairs, Sprinkel brings experience leading campus volunteer efforts, working with students and a love of Madison.
In fact, it was during his time at UW–Madison that Sprinkel’s interest in community-engaged work was first sparked. As an undergraduate student, his certificates in Education Policy and LGBTQ Studies inspired him to be a change-agent and critical thinker.
At the University of Connecticut, he taught courses related to civic engagement and community-based learning, and designed a 1-credit seminar that analyzed service locally and globally through critical reflection. He also worked with human rights program outreach in support of the Connecticut Human Rights Partnership.
Returning to his alma mater, the Wisconsin Idea informs Sprinkel’s work.
“[At UW–Madison] we’re creating this knowledge, and creating these resources. We can’t just keep them sidled up in an ivory tower. We need to do our best to distribute, but also utilize the knowledge that already exists within other communities,” Sprinkel said.
In November 2015, Chancellor Rebecca Blank signed the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement, which is a commitment to the public purposes of higher education. Their anniversary action statement concluded with a pledge to develop a Campus Civic Action. The Chancellor’s office is funding this position as part of their commitment to the Civic Action Plan.
“There’s always a lot of work to be done regardless. I’m excited to be here to support the ongoing work,” Sprinkel said.