Academic Activism in Portsmouth, Ohio: The Importance of Community Engagement in Appalachia

This presentation will provide an explanation and analysis of my recent community work in Portsmouth, Ohio. Since my arrival at Shawnee State University in 2013, I have worked with a number of individuals and groups in the area to develop community spaces and activities. My work has included fund raising, grant writing and running for political office, and has sought to produce tangible results throughout different spaces of the city. These results have occurred alongside the improvement of community relations, which I define as equally important. The conclusion of the presentation will assess the role of the public intellectual in places like Portsmouth, Ohio at a time when academics are pressured to constantly publish and teach additional courses. Furthermore, as other social institutions have struggled to meet the needs of local communities, the demand for university faculty to become involved has become much more urgent. My attempts to help address some of the needs of Portsmouth will be evaluated to identify both achievements and setbacks in order to propose future actions in Portsmouth and elsewhere.