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Cross-campus collaboration within the Baltimore community

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By: Mary Duggan

(June 6, 2017 – ANNAPOLIS, Md.) If it is important to the community, it is important to Towson University.

As an anchor institution, Towson University is committed to making Greater Baltimore a more vibrant place to work, live and learn by leveraging community partnerships. In order to elevate this longstanding mission, BTU—which stands for the merging of Baltimore and Towson University—was introduced as a framework for working with external partners.

“The Office of Partnerships and Outreach wants to better capture and support the initiative that Towson has between the university and our community partners,” Towson University Partnerships Manager Kathleen Crostic explained. “While partnerships are not new to Towson, BTU is our newest approach.”

The strategic work of BTU is focused on five impact areas which include high quality and equitable education, lifelong health and well-being, strong neighborhoods and sustainable communities, a thriving and competitive economy and a vibrant arts and cultural community.

“All of our partnerships are created with the intention of being mutually beneficial,” Crostic said. “Not only are our students benefiting through experiential education opportunities, but companies, organizations and schools are as well—whether it be through teaching after-school programming or interning at small and large businesses alike.”

At Towson University, the definition of “partnership” is one that is ever-changing. With over 160 official partners as of last year, collaboration can range from hosting workshops or community fun runs to connecting companies with student interns or nonprofits with volunteers.

“Real life experience outside of the classroom can strengthen education in a field of interest or it can provide students with the opportunity to explore something that they wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to,” Crostic pointed out. “I hope down the road students will be aware not just of the BTU name, but also that community engagement is crucial to being a student at Towson.”

According to a recent Community Partnerships and Relationship Status Report, approximately 9,000 students across campus have been directly involved in partnerships between Baltimore and Towson University. However, Crostic believes that participation of both students and partners will grow every year.

“While new partnerships are coming on board, a lot of it is about continuing to capture what is already happening,” Crostic commented. “We don’t necessarily want to increase the number of partnerships, but we absolutely want to strengthen the ones that we do have.”

One such example, located within the College of Business and Economics, is the T. Rowe Price Finance Lab which replicates the functionality of Wall Street’s top trading firms. But, Towson Tigers are not the only students who benefit from this partnership with Maryland Chamber member T. Rowe Price. The lab also hosts various community outreach workshops and lectures for elementary school kids as well as K-12 teachers.

“BTU serves as the front door to Towson University when the Maryland business community is interested in working together,” Crostic explained. “Our partnership with T. Rowe Price financially supports the state of the art financial trading room that allows students to obtain real world experience and knowledge that will help to market themselves in the future.”

Although the existing partnership between T. Rowe Price and Towson is just one of many collaborations, each unique opportunity is largely made possible due to the Office of Partnership and Outreach, the main point of contact for organizations looking to partner.

“Cross collaboration is so crucial because there are so many ways that lines can be drawn between dots in the community,” Crostic said. “As part of this community, we want to be a place maker and we are dedicated to figuring out how to work with someone if we can.”