summer 2022 newsletter

UA Student Reflects on Vision Days

My name is Ashton Fisher, and I am a junior studying criminal justice at The University of Alabama. I have been working with the Center for Community-Based Partnerships along with the international community since my freshman year. However, only recently, I have begun working with Vision Days for high school students, which has become one of my most memorable experiences of college so far.

STEM Entrepreneurship Academy Connects Faculty with Community

Whether measuring traffic flow or programming computers, high school students participating in the STEM Entrepreneurship Academy (SEA) July 10–15 explored career paths in STEM through mini sessions held at The University of Alabama and conducted by UA faculty.

BLAST Academy Launches for K–6 Students, Encourages Summer Learning

BLAST Academy (Building Leaders Through the Arts, STEM and Teamwork)­, whose name describes its mission, is a new summer enrichment program for K–6 students that launched in July.

Children Reach New Heights with Swim to the Top

Held annually during June at the Benjamin Barnes Branch of the YMCA, Swim to the Top encourages children to reach the “top” in all aspects of life through swim instruction and additional learning in STEM enrichment, art and physical education for children 4–14.

HomeFirst Coaches Community Members on Path to Homeownership

Homeowners consider many factors when purchasing a new home — the floor plan, the commute, the neighborhood and schools, etc. At The University of Alabama (UA), HomeFirst helps individuals navigate the financial factors involved in homeownership as a volunteer-led, financial wellness program.

HomeFirst Partners with Greene County Housing Authority

Held at the Capstone Hotel in Tuscaloosa on July 21–22, the HomeFirst Greene County Coaches Retreat gave volunteers a chance to practice their coaching skills and learn how to build rapport with participants on the path to homeownership.

From the Division of Community Affairs

Effective Aug. 1, 2022, our Saving Lives program, as well as our efforts with the Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education, will be housed in the Office of the Vice President for Community Affairs.

We thank and applaud Dr. Nicole Prewitt, director of programs and partnerships for community engagement, on her leadership of these programs and are excited about the creation and growth of new programs and initiatives that are emerging under her leadership.

UA HomeFirst Program Recognized by International Town and Gown Association. Learn more.

At the recent annual conference of the International Town and Gown Association (ITGA), held at Clemson University, The University of Alabama’s HomeFirst program received a 2022 ITGA Presidential Excellence Award.

Carol Agomo, director of Community and Administrative Affairs, is co-chair of the Outreach and Engagement Practitioner Network pre-conference session. Learn more.

The OEPN pre-conference session will take place at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium on Sept. 19–20. The theme is, “The Boundary Spanners Journey: From Roots to Wings.”

Alabama Fulbright Association Selects Dr. Beverly Hawk for Lifetime Achievement Award. Learn more.

Beverly Hawk, director of Global and Community Engagement, is the recipient of the Alabama Fulbright Association Chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first person to receive the award, which recognizes her many contributions and years of service to the Fulbright mission of mutual understanding through international educational exchange. She announced her retirement from the University and the Division of Community Affairs on May 13. Since she was hired in 2012, Hawk has directed Global Café and advised Fulbright applicants. Under her leadership, UA has won national recognition as a Fulbright Student Top Producer five of the last seven years. A total of 108 students have received Fulbright awards during her tenure.

Congratulations to Dr. Jackson Harris on successfully defending his dissertation, “Modeling the Structural Dynamics of Our Public Spheres.”

His research offers a theoretical model for how polarization threatens to disintegrate democratic publics while also highlighting the importance of relationship-building and civic engagement. The theoretical model produced by the dissertation arose directly from the work of UA’s Crossroads Civic Engagement Center, where he serves as assistant director. Situated at the intersection of theory and practice, the theoretical model responds directly to the question, “How should we be developing engaged citizens in an era of toxic polarization?” His hope is that by being able to theorize how our public and communication networks are disintegrating, we can more effectively do the work of reversing toxic polarization and creating strong connections between diverse communities and people.

UA Students Receive U.S. Fulbright Program Awards for 2022–2023. Learn more.

The Fulbright Program has selected 18 University of Alabama students for various awards for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Lane McLelland, director of the Crossroads Civic Engagement Center, is leading a collaborative research project with colleagues at C&IS and the University of Georgia to study the post-graduate impact of undergraduate participation in dialogue-based courses.

Jackson Harris, assistant director of the Crossroads Civic Engagement Center, presented political communication research and civic education strategies at the International Communication Association conference in Paris on May 26–30.
He also traveled to Perry and Walker Counties to help facilitate learning for UA students engaged in community-based learning experiences. This includes the Honors College’s University Fellows Experience and New College’s Jean O’Connor-Snyder Internship Program.

Lane McLelland and Jackson Harris presented several lines of research at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference in Minneapolis June 21­­–24.
Lane has been serving on the national steering committee for this conference.

Sam Robson interned at Crossroads this summer through New College's Levitetz Summer Internship Scholarship.
He represented the Crossroads at Bama Bound sessions throughout the summer and worked on student voting resources for the 2022 election season.

Crossroads hosted summer workshops, delivering CIVshop modules to a wide range of partners including the College of Continuing Studies, Student Government Association, Bryant Conference Center staff and undergraduate research program in engineering.

We are pleased to welcome our new and returning graduate assistants back to campus!

Hannah Corbin

Ayana Hendricks

Katie Johnson

Emily Locke

Jigisha Lokhande

Maggie Monroe

Violet Nkwanzi

Paige Rentfro

Jesse Rentz

Riley White

Xiangyan (Sophia) Xiong

fall calendar snapshot

August 31 Fall NPC Meeting

September 2 Emerging Community Engagement Scholars

September 6 SCOPE

September 8 Vision Days Freshmen

September 9 Community-Engaged Learning Fellows

September 13 Vision Days Freshmen

September 13 SCEC Leadership Academy

September 15 Vision Days Freshmen

September 15 Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

September 16 Emerging Community Engagement Scholars

September 19 Vision Days Ambassadors and Legacy Students

September 19–20 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Pre-Conference

September 21–22 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference

September 26–29 Roll the Vote

September 27–29 Vision Days Seniors

September 27 Global Café

September 29 Council on Community-Based Partnerships

September 30 Emerging Community Engagement Scholars

October 3 You Make UA Great

October 3 SCOPE

October 4 Realizing the Dream Lecture Series

October 4–6 Vision Days Seniors

October 7 Community-Engaged Learning Fellows

October 10 Vision Days Ambassadors and Legacy Students

October 11 SCEC Leadership Academy

October 11 Global Café

October 14 Emerging Community Engagement Scholars

October 20 Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

October 23–25 Fall Board of Advisors Meeting

October 24 Vision Days Ambassadors and Legacy Students

October 25 Global Café

October 13 United Way Kickoff

November 1 SCOPE

November 4 Emerging Community Engagement Scholars

November 7 Vision Days Ambassadors and Legacy Students

November 8 SCEC Leadership Academy

November 10 Greene County HomeFirst Coach Training and Retreat

November 15 Global Café

November 17 Council on Community-Based Partnerships Meeting

November 28 Vision Days Ambassadors and Legacy Students

December 1 United Way Celebration

December 1 Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

December 2 Community-Engaged Learning Fellows

December 5 Winning Grants and Sustaining Communities