Theodore R. Alter
Pennsylvania State University
Professor of Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics
Engagement and engaged scholarship have been key dimensions of Theodore Alter's research, teaching, and public service for nearly 40 years. Ted has served as Director of Penn State Cooperative Extension and has championed rewarding faculty for outreach scholarship. He has collaborated with state organizations and served on engagement journal editorial boards.
Ted has conducted research and published extensively on community engagement. He is arguably Penn State's premiere engagement scholar. He has contributed to the advancement of engaged scholarship nationally through editorial board membership on the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.
As a teacher, Ted has developed and taught courses for undergraduate and graduate students that prepare students to understand community dynamics, democracy, and regional development policy. He has recently accepted responsibility for strengthening the civic engagement and sustainability leadership minors.
As a practitioner, Ted has served in administrative leadership roles at Penn State in Extension and Outreach and the College of Agricultural Sciences and in those roles has worked to "mainstream" engagement and engaged scholarship in the culture of the institution. The UniSCOPE 2000 Multidimensional Model of Scholarship for the 21st Century, championed by Ted in conjunction with a Kellogg initiative, proposed a new system for recognizing outreach scholarship in promotion and tenure. In addition to its influence at Penn State, UniSCOPE has served as a model for other universities.
Ted has initiated collaborations that marry scholarship with policy and practice on issues relevant to the public good with public service organizations in Pennsylvania and internationally. He has served as associate editor of the Speaker's Journal on Pennsylvania Policy and on the Steering Committee of the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, and served on numerous boards associated with rural economic development and policy in Pennsylvania.