By McKenna Luzynski, News Editor
Angela Halfacre, Ph.D, ’92, has served the Furman community in numerous capacities, from student to professor to director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. Effective Feb. 1, Halfacre has begun a new chapter in her life as the Special Advisor to the President for Community Engagement, a position designed to analyze Furman’s community engagement with Greenville, the state of South Carolina and the entire southern region.
Though the title is new, Halfacre’s desire to serve is not. She has been passionate about community engagement since her days as a student.
“I was a student here from 1988-1992, and I had one of the best experiences that you could imagine… I participated with the Heller Service Corps, before it was called ‘Heller Service Corps,’ so I was interested in working with the community even back then… A lot of experiences that I remember come from interacting with the community,” Halfacre said.
Halfacre attended the University of Florida for both her master’s and doctoral degrees. She then returned to South Carolina to work as a both an undergraduate and graduate professor at the College of Charleston. However, coming home to Furman was always in the back of her mind.
“When a job opened up to come back to Furman, which was to open up and to direct a center for sustainability that we had been talking about years, I jumped at the opportunity,” Halfacre said.
Halfacre indeed jumped right into the position of founding director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability in 2008. Her focus has been sustainability and community building at every scale.
That theme will remain a priority for Halfacre in her new position. Her goal is not only to establish what Furman’s relationship with the outside world is currently, but also to expand and to enrich the university’s involvement.
“What is community engagement? It’s deeper and more meaningful relationships with community partners. I think it also includes projects, both stand-alone and legacy projects. It includes our service-learning components. All of these things could be part of our community engagement,” Halfacre said.
However, Halfacre cannot gather all of this information alone, nor can she alone decide in what direction to take the university. She stresses the importance of teamwork and collaboration.
“A lot of my work will be to talk to students, staff and faculty. It also will be to talk to other schools to see what they’ve done and to see what has been successful,” Halfacre said. “I really want to have a lot of forums and activities so we can get a lot of input of what we want Furman to look like and how we want to be further yoked to Greenville… I’m really excited about learning from others.”
Halfacre believes that the university is in a really great place to begin this journey, and she is thrilled to have been entrusted with the opportunity to oversee this development.