This is engagement. It is the intersection of learning, application, and collaboration. It’s a commitment that transforms lives. The 18th Annual Engagement Scholarship Conference is your opportunity to engage in the scholarship of engagement. To learn, share, and network with leading scholars and colleagues from across the nation and around the world. This year, ESC moves south to the Consortium’s Southern Region, home to 10 institutions, all models of engaged scholarship. Focusing on educational access, economic development and community partnership, these institutions share a commitment to expand learning opportunities to promote healthy and sustainable living, and to improve quality of life for all. Universities in the Southern Region are at the center of engagement and outreach. Engagement is deeply rooted in their heritage, mission, and values. Auburn University is proud to host the Engagement Scholarship Conference, along without neighboring Southern Regional institutions. At Auburn, we accept the social responsibility to give back and to contribute to communities, both locally and really around the world. Our Auburn students, our faculty, and our staff believe that contributing to communities and particularly the underserved communities is absolutely critical for Economic Development viability for educational assets that can be developed in those communities and really for quality of life. Whether it’s building inspiring innovative and practical homes through the world-renowned rural studio, addressing health care and food security concerns across the state, or creating educational opportunities for our next generation through a wide range of youth summer experiences. Our Southern Region universities are together in their shared commitment to civic engagement, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners alike. I continue to be impressed with Auburn’s contributions to Alabama involving outreach and extension as we increase our engagement and strengthen our commitment to enhancing the lives of our citizens. Enhancing engagement and outreach is a strategic priority for Auburn. The impacts on our communities and our students, and our faculty are immeasurable. We recognize and reward faculty engagement through tenure and promotion, and we provide grants and other project support for these important initiatives across our institution. Birmingham is home to two of Auburn’s largest and best-known engagement initiatives. The Harris Early Learning Center, a state-of-the-art preschool facility, and the Center for Architecture and Urban Studies, which is focused on community development and urban planning. Birmingham is also the host site for the 2017 Engagement Scholarship Conference. Birmingham is truly a city of engagement within easy walking distance of the conference center is the Birmingham civil rights institute and the 16th Street Baptist Church historical site. The Museum of Art is nearby along with the Alabama sports Hall of Fame. Directly adjacent to the conference center is the new Birmingham Uptown Entertainment District filled with a wide variety of restaurants and attractions. Birmingham is easily accessible with regular flights and the airport just minutes from our conference site. Auburn has a long and strong relationship with Engagement Scholarship Consortium, so we’re excited to host you here in Birmingham, Alabama for our 2017 conference. This is Engagement. It’s your opportunity to engage yourself with your colleagues to share your experience and successes, to learn from others, and improve. On behalf of the Southern Region Consortium, we extend to you a warm welcome and look forward to engaging with you in September 2017 for the 18th Annual Engagement Scholarship Conference. Our organization will be celebrating 20 years in 2020 and have began work on a strategic action plan called ESC 2020 Vision. Focus. Impact. that we hope will guide our efforts for the next 20 years. We appreciate the leadership of Auburn university and all of our southern ESC member institutions and their efforts to plan the 2017 conference. We’re excited about seeing everyone in Birmingham as we celebrate the best and engaged scholarship.