About Us

Table of Contents

About the Urbana Public Engagement Portal (PEPortal)

The Urbana Public Engagement Portal (PEPortal), started in 2008, is the most comprehensive source for information about public engagement programs, events, & resources offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a rich tradition of commitment to public engagement. Our faculty, staff, and students engage with external audiences and partners to help address the needs of society and to advance discovery and the application of knowledge. Public engagement is an integral part of the University's mission to "enhance the lives of citizens in Illinois, across the nation and around the world through our leadership in learning, discovery, engagement and economic development."

Definition of Public Engagement for the PEPortal

Public Engagement[1 Footnote: Definition of Public Engagement] is the application for the public good of the knowledge and expertise of a faculty or staff member to issues of societal importance. Typically, this activity is done in collaboration with others both within and outside of the university. The activity may enrich research and teaching as well as lead to new directions within the university. Public engagement falls under the service mission of the university.

  1. This definition for Public Engagement comes from the following document:
    Office of the Provost, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2009). Communication No. 9. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. p. 30.
    (no longer available online)

What you will find on this site

You will find descriptions and contact information for a variety of University-related programs, events, and resources that are intended for the public.

To learn more about our entry categorization, please visit the FAQ: Entry Types page.

General criteria for entries

  • Must be available to the public (i.e. not only open to University faculty, staff, and/or students)
  • Must be intentional outreach
  • Must be affiliated with a unit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Must have some type of contact information (phone number, email address, University-affiliated contact person, or contact form link)

Examples of entries you might find in the Urbana Public Engagement Portal include:

  • Programs:
    • Cultural Centers
    • Certificate Courses
    • Art Gallery Exhibits
  • Events:
    • Summer Camps
    • Professional Development Workshops
    • Open Houses
  • Resources:
    • Curriculum Modules/Lessons
    • Citizen Science Databases
    • Mobile Apps

Examples of entries you will not find in the Urbana Public Engagement Portal include:

  • Programs/Events open only to students, faculty, and/or staff
  • Thesis Defenses and Senior Recitals
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Sports Events
  • Academic seminars primarily targeted towards students & faculty
  • Community events not affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Other Options

For programs and events outside the scope of the Urbana Public Engagement Portal, please try the following websites:

How to find information on this site

View ALL programs, events, and resources

Or Browse the Urbana PEPortal by:

  • Entry Type: Programs, Events, or Resources
  • Date & Location: Calendar, Impacted Locations, or Map
  • Tag Clouds: Keywords, Content Areas, Targeted Groups, Stakeholders
  • Search: Simple Search

How to contribute information

Manual Entry

Any University member with a netid can contribute University-affiliated programs, events, and/or resources directly to the Urbana PEPortal by clicking the "Add a Program/Event/Resource" link from the top navigation menu. (University login required). All entries are moderated and annotated by the Urbana PEPortal staff before they are publicly visible.


The Urbana PEPortal also pulls event feeds from the University of Illinois Extension calendar as well as some of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Toolbox calendars. These feeds are first parsed for public engagement events and then the applicable outreach events are additionally annotated by Urbana PEPortal staff before they are publicly visible.

If you know of a specific University-related calendar whose events the Urbana PEPortal should include, you can suggest a calendar to poll for events (University login required).

To learn more about the Urbana PEPortal calendar importing process, please visit the FAQ: Calendars and Automation page.

Intended audiences

The General Public

One of the most important goals of the Urbana PEPortal is to communicate to the public the wide variety of offerings and resources available from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We strive to make it easier for everyone, especially those not familiar with the University of Illinois, to find and connect with opportunities to engage with Illinois.

University Units

University units (Colleges, Departments, Offices, etc.) often are called upon to quickly produce reports or numbers related to outreach and public engagement efforts. These requests may be internal (e.g. for the College of Education) or external (e.g. for Chicago Public Schools). The Urbana PEPortal can assist in reporting this information, as well as providing a historical archive of public engagement opportunities connected to University unit(s).

Urbana PEPortal maintainers

The Urbana PEPortal is maintained by the Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) in the College of Education with support from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois System.

The site is maintained by:

Ongoing development of the Urbana PEPortal is done in consultation with a Public Engagement Portal Advisory Group made up of interested volunteers from the Champaign-Urbana campus. To participate, please contact us.

Contact us

For questions about this website, contact the Urbana PEPortal Team.