The University of Alabama Showcases Commitment and Achievements in Engagement Scholarship at 2017 Engagement Scholarship Consortium
By Kirsten Barnes
The University of Alabama showcased its extensive commitment and achievements in engagement scholarship through an extensive array of paper presentations, facilitated workshops, awards and recognitions programs, and poster displays by faculty, students, staff and community partners at the 2017 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) held in Birmingham, Ala., September 24-28 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Annex.
ESC is an international organization devoted to solving community problems through research-driven scholarship and partnerships with community organizations. Presiding over this year’s conference was UA’s Vice President of Community Affairs Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, now in his second year as president of the ESC Board of Directors.
“Part of the mission of the Division of Community Affairs is to foster and sponsor engagement research at the University in partnership with community organizations,” Pruitt said. “We help faculty members acquire the resources and other support they need to develop community projects that gain traction through long-term, successful partnerships.”
The 2018 ESC conference will be held at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities from September 30 to October 3. For more about this conference and its host see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csBx-oej7Oc.
In a presentation with Dr. James E. McLean, CCBP executive director, Pruitt summarized the kind of support his office provides. This support includes research project seed funds, grant-writing training to help acquire external funding, graduate assistant support, conference travel support, an international research journal, field trips to engagement research sites across Alabama for new faculty, and an annual awards and recognition program.
Former Mobile District Attorney John M. Tyson Jr., a graduate of UA’s law school now working with Volunteers of America Southeast discussed his “Helping Families Initiative,” a comprehensive crime prevention program to address the root causes of bad behavior in K-12 students.
“The conference was a special opportunity to share and take advantage of the research being produced by universities,” said Tyson, who served 14 years on the Alabama State Board of Education. “We have to get more research out of the libraries and into the hands of practitioners. The more we are engaged in our community, the more we can guide research based on the needs of the community. If we aren’t doing that today, I don’t know why universities exist.”
Christopher Spencer, CCBP’s director of research development, joined Felecia Lucky, executive director of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF), to present “Finding Funding Solutions for Community Needs.”
Lucky reported on how the Selma, Ala.-based organization became a Head Start champion for its community. She said Head Start programs had disappeared from four of 12 counties BBCF serves. “These communities came to us for help, which guaranteed support for the project,” she said. “Community members worked just as hard as we did because they did not want to lose the program for their children.”
BBCF’s vision has been rewarded by a $3.5 million federal grant for five years, with an opportunity for renewal.
“For those of us who work in community scholarship and engagement, the conference gives us the opportunity to network and to see the innovation in solving community problems both near and far,” said Spencer, who is also a UA doctoral student. “I’ve attended six conferences and sharing our CCBP and BBCF story shows true partnership at work.” Through these projects, he said, the University and community have truly joined hands.
UA’s Crossroads Community Engagement Center Director Lane McLelland, along with Paige Bolden, Crossroads coordinator of intercultural engagement, and Sarah E. Wever, academic advisor, conducted a workshop called “It’s Time for PIE — Practicing Inclusive Engagement on Your Campus.”
“We were able to share effective strategies for engaging and collaborative work with communities,” said McLelland, who was attending her third ESC conference. “Also, it gives you inspiration and energy to keep at it. It’s inspiring to be reminded that we can do things together. I get a lot of inspiration from being at the ESC conference.”
Delegates attending the presentation responded enthusiastically to the workshop and many said they planned to get more information from McLelland in order to apply the principles learned during the workshop on their campus.
Other UA and community involvement at the conference included:
- Adriane Sheffield, UA doctoral student and faculty member, Coastal Carolina University; Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP director of community education; and doctoral student Cameryn Blackmore, presented “STEM Entrepreneurship Academy: A Community Outreach Program for High Schoolers.”
- Dr. K. Andrew R. Richards, kinesiology; Victoria N. Shiver, kinesiology graduate student; Dr. Michael A. Lawson, educational research; Tania Alameda-Lawson, social work, co-presented “Learning to Teach Life Skills to Youth through Physical Activity Forum.”
- Dr. Tania Alameda-Lawson, social work; Dr. Michael A. Lawson, educational research; Dr. K. Andrew R. Richards, kinesiology; Debra Crawford, Holt Elementary School; Amanda Waller, Tuscaloosa’s One Place; and Victoria N. Shiver, kinesiology graduate student, co-presented “Implementing a New Paradigm for Student, Family and Community Engagement.
- Dr. Laurie J. Bonnici, School of Library and Information Studies, and Dr. Jackie Brodsky, Wayne State University, co-presented “Program Enrichment: A Tide Pool of Shared Experiences.”
- Courtney Hanson, research data analyst in C&BA, co-presented “Diabetes Classes Augmented with Multidisciplinary Speed Dating to Improve Outcomes.”
- Dr. Tania Alameda-Lawson, social work; Waverly Jones, research assistant, Institute of Social Science Research; Lindsay Natzel, Tuscaloosa’s One Place; Krystal Dozier, social work doctoral student; and Amory Harris, Turning Point victim advocate, co-presented “The Brain Architecture Game: Teaching Low Income Parents About Toxic Stress.”
- Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP director of community education; Dr. Liza Wilson, education senior associate dean; and Dr. Blake Berryhill, human development and family studies, co-presented “Parent-Teacher Leadership Academy: Building Community by Supporting Children and Families.”
- Dr. James E. McLean, CCBP executive director; Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president, Division of Community Affairs; John M. Tyson Jr., board member, Volunteers of America Southeast; Christopher Spencer, CCBP resource development director; Felecia Lucky, BBCF president, co-presented “Finding Funding Solutions for Community Needs.”
- Dr. John Miller, New College; Dr. Nan Fairly, associate professor, Auburn University, co-presented ” Democracy at Work: Immersive Civic Learning in Alabama.”
- Dr. George Daniels, College of Communication and Information Sciences assistant dean; and Latrina Spencer, Cynthia Smith, Ayanna Smith, Jamila Baker, and Zharia Simmons, all on the staff of Oakdale Elementary School, co-presented “Lift Every Voice.”
- Lane McLelland, director, Crossroads Community Development Center; Paige Bolden, Crossroads staff; and Sarah E. Wever, academic advisor, “It’s Time for PIE — Practicing Inclusive Engagement on Your Campus.”
- Dr. Safiya George, Capstone College of Nursing; Billy Kirkpatrick, West Alabama AIDS Outreach; Dr. George Mugoya, counselor education; and Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, College of Community Health Sciences, co-presented “Multilevel Strategies to Improve HIV Care in West Alabama.”
- Dr. Sandra C. Nichols, special education, presented “Change Agents One Student at a Time.”
- Dr. Tania Alameda-Lawson, social work; Dr. Michael A. Lawson, educational research; Dr. K. Andrew R. Richards, kinesiology; Debra Crawford, Holt Elementary School; Amanda Waller, Tuscaloosa’s One Place; Victoria N. Shiver, kinesiology graduate student, co-presented “Implementing a New Paradigm for Student, Family, and Community Engagement.”
- Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP director of community education; Dr. Matthew Curtner-Smith, sport pedagogy; Daniela Susnara, graduate teaching assistant, “Swim to the Top: Swim, Fitness, and Enrichment for Youth.”
- Dr. Paige Johnson, College of Nursing; and Dr. Michele Montgomery, College of Nursing, co-presented “The UA/Pickens County Partnership: An Innovative Teaching Model.”
- Dr. George L. Daniels, College of Communication and Information Sciences; Adriane Sheffield, UA doctoral student and faculty member, Coastal Carolina University; and Marquis Forge, treasurer, 100 Black Men of West Alabama, co-presented “100 Black Men of West Alabama — Engagement through Empowerment: The Story of the African American History Challenge.”
Dr. Nick Sanyal, editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES), presided over a special ceremony recognizing the original staff and editorial board of the journal. Members of the founding editorial team and the original editorial board received a plaque, on which was printed “New Research Journal Ready for Launch,” followed by the JCES logo and the photo of a butterfly that appeared on the inaugural cover and including the folio (Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 2008). Underneath, were the following words:
In recognition of devotion to the scholarship of engagement as an inaugural member of the JCES Editorial Board on the occasion of the celebration of the first 10 years of publication
Presented this 26th day of September 2017 to
at the annual conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium in Birmingham, Alabama
Samory T. Pruitt, PhD, Publisher, JCES
Vice President for Community Affairs
The University of Alabama