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Connie Frey Spurlock builds stronger communities in Southern Illinois

Connie Frey Spurlock

Director, SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative (SSCC)
Director, SIUE Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center (TRHT Campus Center)
Associate Professor of Sociology,
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
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Favorite Place

Being with my family is my favorite.

But I also love The Tiny Children’s Garden in Washington Park, Illinois our program partnered with recently.

How did you first learn about EPIC-N?

I learned about the network and the EPIC Model following a workshop hosted by EPIC-N leaders in St. Louis, MO.

What was your first interaction with a school-community partnership project?

SSCC’s pilot year was 2017. In spring, we attended the EPIC-N conference. We returned to campus to ‘just start’ our program. With significant support and encouragement from EPIC-N members, we partnered with Highland, IL, that fall. Three classes of nursing students worked with Highland leaders on opioid use, awareness, and prevention. This year, we returned to Highland to work on projects involving their updated watershed plan, a new senior citizen center, and a new non-profit serving uniquely talented young people in the community.

What are some of the top priorities you are working on this year?

This year we are developing an intra-system partnership with a sister campus; incorporating the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework into our work; and taking on a regional partnership.

Last year I worked on scaling up for more projects and providing more support to faculty and students. 

In what ways are you looking to engage, or work with others, either from within the EPIC-Network, or in general?

I always learn so much anytime I interact with EPIC-N folks, whether that’s through the listserve, conference, or zoom calls. I am really looking to connect in all the ways possible time permitting!

Why do you think the EPIC-Network is important?

It’s important because we’re better together, with collaboration. Anyone of us can’t possibly know all we could know. 

What is your favorite part of the EPIC-Network

The people! 

What do you want a community, or university, to know about the EPIC-Network?

That the network makes our program stronger and better able to serve our local communities. 

What led you to participate within the EPIC-Network in your current capacity?

The potential for learning. 


Dr. Connie Frey Spurlock is a sociologist committed to dismantling hierarchies of oppression and building in their place flourishing relationships. She does this work by centering community-identified goals with meaningful learning experiences for area students. Frey Spurlock is founding director of the SIUE Successful Communities Collaborative, a cross-disciplinary program based on the EPIC-N model, an award-winning university-community partnership program that works to advance the needs of communities while training the next generation workforce and leadership. SSCC develops and supports partnerships between SIUE and local communities to advance resilience and sustainability. She is also a member of the SIUE TRHT Campus Center, which seeks to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value. She has been at SIUE since 2004 and is also an associate professor of sociology. Her research and teaching interests center on sustainability, research methods, and community engagement.

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