By Michelle Lampariello
The College announced the appointment of a new interim director for community engagement in a campus-wide email on March 1.
Brittany Aydelotte (’09), a former Bonner scholar who previously held multiple positions in community engagement at the College, will serve as the new interim director, according to the campus-wide email from Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs William Keep.
Aydelotte, who graduated with a bachelor’s in English and secondary education, earned a master’s degree in counseling from the College in 2017.
Prior to her appointment as interim director, she was the program manager for Community Engaged Research and Initiatives.
In her new position, Aydelotte will report directly to the provost and will be responsible for community engagement efforts, as well as outreach to community partners.
Aydelotte plans to continue to build on the foundation of the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research’s 15-year history at the College and develop relationships with more campus stakeholders and community members.
“In order to develop the best plan moving forward, our team will be gathering and sharing information with the campus and community,” she said. “We value the input, expertise and perspective of those invested in community engagement and we are confident that together we will continue to advance our efforts at TCNJ.”
Aydelotte and her team plan to work closely with the Community Engaged Learning Council and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to collaborate on community projects that pertain to a wide array of academic departments.
While she does not yet have any concrete ideas for new community partners with whom to develop relationships, Aydelotte is optimistic about CELR’s role in enriching learning experiences.
“As we review and consult with campus and community stakeholders, we will be looking for ways we can best meet the learning goals of the College and the community-identified concerns through our community engagement projects,” she said.
The CELR values potential projects that community members bring to its attention, since it views the College as a member of the local community and recognizes that engagement goes beyond the work done at the CELR.
“One of the most important values to us at (the CELR) is the true collaboration with our partners in the community,” Aydelotte said. “In order to design and implement meaningful, reciprocal community engagement projects, community members and partners will continue to be valued as experts and members of our team.”
Aydelotte explained that community engagement plays a vital role in helping the College achieve its goal to prepare graduates to be lifelong learners and responsible community members.
“Looking at TCNJ’s mission, vision and values, it is clear that community engagement is essential to meeting our goals as a college,” she said. “Community engagement, in collaboration with rigorous classroom learning, provides students with the opportunity to bring what they are learning to life. Experiences outside of the classroom, in the community, give students the chance to actively engage, often exposing potential and inspiring excellence.”
In the campus-wide email, Keep stated that, in her new position, Aydelotte will work closely with Bonner scholars and Stephanie Shanklin, director of the Bonner Institute.
“I am excited and truly looking forward to working Brittany,” Shanklin said. “I am confident that under Brittany’s leadership community engagement at TCNJ will continue to thrive.”
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on March 14 to include a quote from Shanklin.