Our Story

The Community Engagement Institute is dedicated to facilitating learning, developing innovative solutions and building capacity with organizations across the state of Kansas.


CEI is comprised of eight teams who work together to offer their expertise across a wide variety of specialties.


At CEI, we value growth, authenticity, empathy, expertise, flexibility, and collaboration.


We look forward to partnering with you to support, design and implement the vision, purpose and goals of your organization.

Our Purpose

Collaborate with partners to
facilitate learning, develop innovative
solutions, promote equity, and build
capacity to create real change.

Our Hope

Vibrant communities and dynamic
organizations that are supported
connected, and effective in
making progress.


Kitchen Table to
Self-Help Network

The Self-Help Network was focused on providing referrals to self-help support groups and operated from a simple table in Evelyn Middelstadt’s kitchen. Eventually, Evelyn was joined by WSU professor Dr. Greg Meissen, and the network became a statewide resource for its contributions to research, promotion, and best practices in self-help support groups. 

Expansion to the Center for Community Support & Research

The Self-Help Network was asked to support nonprofits, coalitions, local governments, faith-based organizations, and others looking for help with strategic planning and direction, board governance and development, evaluation, and collaboration. Given this expansion, the Self-Help Network changed its name Center for Community Support and Research and moved to downtown Wichita. In 2009, leadership transitioned to Dr. Scott Wituk who had worked at CCSR since 1993.

Community Engagement Institute at WSU Old Town

The organization was quickly growing and required a different structure to be responsive to community partners. Therefore, in 2015 the Community Engagement Institute was established and now represents one of WSU’s largest collections of centers dedicated to serving the community. 


We are excited to partner with you and provide tools to help you reach your community and better accomplish your goals. Contact us directly with the email provided below!