TUSCALOOSA – A special awards program recognizing the best of engaged scholarship conducted by faculty, staff, student and community teams turns 10 years old on Friday, April 29. Activities begin with research poster presentations at 10 a.m., with the luncheon and program following at 11:30 in Sellers Auditorium of the Bryant Conference Center.
“The Excellence in Community Engagement Awards is one of the most important events on our calendar,” said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for the Division of Community Affairs. “The ceremony brings campus and community together to give much-deserved recognition for the many examples of campus-community collaboration that take place each year.”
Special guests in attendance will be members of the newly created Community Affairs Board of Advisors, which is holding its first meeting on Thursday, April 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Its purpose is to support campus-wide initiatives that encourage student success and retention, facilitate entrepreneurship, and support innovation and global leadership.
Among the awards to be presented are the following:
• Tera “CeeCee” Johnson, a junior in psychology, will receive the Zachary David Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship. This is the second year of the award named for the late CCBP work-study student.
• Dr. Beverly E. Thorn, professor of psychology, will receive the faculty Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar award for her leadership, research and dedication to the people of Alabama.
• Calia Torres, doctoral student in clinical psychology, Dr. Thorn’s student, will receive the student Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar award for her work with Whatley Health Services.
• Deborah Tucker will receive the community partner Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar Award for her commitment to community service as CEO of Whatley Health Services.
Receiving Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort awards will be Thorn; Dr. Rebecca Allen, professor of psychology; Teri Henley, instructor of advertising and public relations; and Dr. Teresa Wise, associate provost for International Education and Global Outreach.
Fan Yang, doctoral student in social work, will receive an award for Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort. Two awards will be given for Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort. Alberta McCrory, mayor of Hobson City, Alabama will receive one of the awards, and Buddy Kirk, Patti Presley-Fuller, and Rep. Alan Harper, all of Pickens County, will receive the other.
A highlight of the event each year is the presentation of research posters, which may be viewed before and after the awards program. This year a record 21 posters were accepted for presentation. Dr. Jen Nickelsen, associate professor of health science, oversees this activity and is also chair of the Travel Funds Committee. She will announce names of those receiving travel support for 2016-17.
Dr. Laurie Bonnici, chair of the Proposal and Seed Funding Committee, will announce names of the 2016-17 seed fund recipients. Dr. Rebecca Allen, who oversees the graduate fellowship awards, will announce names of those recipients. Calia Torres and “CeeCee” Johnson, co-chair the Student Involvement and Support Committee, will give a report on their committee’s activities during the past year. And Amanda Waller, chair of the Community Partnership Support Committee, will give the report for that committee.
Dr. David A. Francko, dean of the Graduate School, is chair of the CCBP Executive Committee responsible for the annual awards program. After Friday’s program, Francko will step down from his CCBP position. Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, dean of the College of Education, will succeed Francko as Executive Committee chair.