Category: Council on Community-Based Partnerships

Council on Community-Based Partnerships Holds Final Meeting of Academic Year

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) held its final meeting of the academic year Thursday, April 6 in the Bryant Conference Center Birmingham Room on campus.

Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, education dean and chair of the Council, opened the meeting and welcomed those present. He announced that his College now has a service-grant writer, which is helping raise awareness of the Council across campus.

Dr. Pruitt thanked Dr. Hlebowitsh for committing so much of his time to take over Dean Francko’s position as CCBP chair.

Pruitt went on to share that the Division of Community Affairs recently hosted the spring meeting of its Board of Advisors on campus. The Board is focusing on three core areas. They are student academic retention and success, student entrepreneurship and innovative initiatives, and student global and community leadership. Board members raised funds this year to support students studying abroad, as well as for student entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, they have worked with UA Admissions to assist with recruiting efforts, particularly in rural and underrepresented urban areas.

Pruitt also reported that Community Affairs is moving forward with the ACCESS program (see Feb. 16 meeting notes here for information on ACCESS), with plans to display through Google docs the work the CCBP Council is doing at the next Board of Advisors meeting in the fall.

Committee updates followed.

Dr. George Daniels, assistant communication and information sciences dean, announced that this year’s SCOPE Showcase will be combined with the annual CCBP Excellence Awards poster presentation and luncheon event. Additionally, Daniels said the Excellence in Community Engagement Recognition Committee has worked very hard to ensure that the CCBP awards program will be a top-notch event.

Dr. Jen Nickelson, chair of the Academic Conference and Presentation Support Committee, shared that her committee received some excellent travel award applications, four of which were ultimately awarded. She also encouraged applications for the next funding cycle, with that application deadline being Friday, Sept. 15.

Nickelson said the committee also received great poster applications and that there will be 26 posters presented this year at the annual CCBP Excellence Awards luncheon.

Ms. Amanda Waller, Community Partner Support Committee chair, said that Tuscaloosa’s One Place recently distributed a survey to non-profits throughout Alabama to try to figure out how to increase partnerships between universities and nonprofits. She reported that they have received some completed surveys and that she and her team are trying to move forward with a plan utilizing the results.

Updates from the Center for Community-Based Partnerships followed.

Dr. Beverly Hawk spoke to the Council about UA’s Fulbright Scholarship status. Hawk announced that UA has 13 winners for 2017–2018, with the status of three additional applicants pending. She shared that Capstone International will have a Fulbright Day Tuesday, April 11, featuring events for both students and faculty, and that details are available on the Crimson Calendar.

Emphasizing the benefits of a Fulbright Scholarship, Hawk reminded those in attendance that these students have the opportunity to travel overseas, to receive a stipend, and to have their federal student loans frozen during this time. Additionally, she said that most graduate programs will also give them a year’s leave if they wish to participate in Fulbright. She welcomes all applicants who may be interested in obtaining a Fulbright Scholarship in one of the 150 participating countries.

Dr. Jim McLean, CCBP executive director, reported to the Council on the 2016–2017 Grants and Sustainability workshop, from which there were well over $100 million dollars worth of proposals sent out and more than $1 million dollars of proposals already funded.

McLean announced that the workshop has been approved for 2017–2018 and will begin Thursday, Aug. 17 and Friday, Aug. 18 with a class covering government grants and corporate foundation grants. The series of three courses taught during the academic year will focus on evaluating grants within quality circles, doing the team-building required to make grants successful, and fundraising and the sustainability it takes to keep a grant moving forward

This class will be accepting from six to eight teams, plus individuals as space permits. There is a requirement to have one community partner and one university partner as your team leaders, and the final date for applications will be Friday, April 28. David G. Bauer will again lead these workshops. McLean encouraged those who know of interested individuals to contact him.

Reports on engagement scholarship in action followed.

Ms. Lane McLelland, director of the Crossroads Community Engagement Center, spoke to the Council about some of the efforts the Center initiates to create positive interactions among diverse individuals and groups.

During the past several years, she said, as people come to campus from many different paths, at times they simply don’t know how to interact with one another. The Center is utilizing programs that focus on communication, trust-building and relationship-building to help create positive interactions that promote people from different backgrounds coming together. Community service provides an opportunity that supports what they are doing, as does an interfaith soccer team. She stressed that following these types of activities, participants sit down to enjoy a meal together, where they can relax and talk to one another.

Additionally, the Center has created a Sustained Dialogue course that is modeled after the International Sustained Dialogue Institute. Student moderators are trained one day of the week, and then on Thursday of each week, they moderate a dialogue and discuss issues such as gender, LGBTQ, and non-binary discussions. Toward the end of the semester, they move into race issues. Through this course, they are learning together what works for building relationships to deal with hard topics around campus. The Center tries to support any groups who bring awareness of different cultural experiences to campus.

Another initiative of the Center is the Practicing Inclusive Engagement (PIE) workshops. During these workshops, facilitators do not take any presentations or handouts into the room. They just begin with games that work to engage who the participants are. They point out that there are different social identities throughout the room. They talk about intention vs. impact and focus on how to ask questions that promote understanding in dialogue, rather than just arguing with one another. The workshops can be tailored in topic and length to accommodate different groups, and their popularity is growing across campus and beyond. Each year, the Center teaches a class for resident assistants. Additionally, they work with Honors College mentors throughout each semester. They have even taken the workshops on the road to UAB, where they did a workshop for medical professors, and to First United Methodist of Birmingham, where they worked with that church to help members with the work they do in the community.

McLellan shared that Paige Bolden, a member of her staff, is working with the UA Career Center to introduce how important it is to have these dialogues and listening skills as professional skills. Additionally, McLelland is researching how to challenge racist practices on campus, as well as how to help people better understand each other through dialogue.

“Changing norms requires a lot more listening than most of us are comfortable with,” she said. The programs they are utilizing aim to capitalize on newly expanded communications skills — including listening — to help teach people how to come together to engage what we don’t know and what we aren’t comfortable with.

Dr. Jen Nickelson spoke about The Health Lab, a University/community partnership formed to address health issues in Holt, Alabama, and to provide opportunities for students to practice what they learn in the classroom through community-engaged scholarship. Nickelson explained that The Health Lab was begun with seed funds from the Council in 2015–2016, and that Holt was chosen because of its proximity to the University, as well as because there was interest from the community in working with the University.

The lab’s purpose was to create a partnership in Holt, a once-thriving community that was founded on industry and that was no longer thriving because of industries shutting down. People were already leaving to find other jobs when the April 27, 2011 tornado tore through Tuscaloosa County, completely destroying almost 250 homes, more than 100 mobile homes and seven churches, and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Many of the residents of Holt were displaced following the tornado, and many of those never returned, accelerating the decline of the area.

Following the tornado, FEMA worked with community members on a long-term community plan that focused on housing, infrastructure and jobs. Noticeably absent in the recovery plan was a focus on health.

The first task was to create a needs assessment; then examine the feasibility of expanding this initial project not only in Holt, but elsewhere in Alabama, using it as a model in other low-income communities.

By 2015 the community was ready to start moving away from thinking about the tornado and looking toward the future. The residents loved the idea of The Health Lab and community members worked with students to draft a mission statement. Their first meeting, during which doctoral students worked with community members in team-building activities, took place in August 2015. The students also developed operating norms and bylaws, as well as interviewed community members to try to understand the history of Holt. The community knew they wanted to use a holistic approach to health and wellness to promote the health of the community.

The next steps will be the dissemination of the survey results to the community. Students want to work with youth to identify assets and change in structure/focus as they move toward addressing community-identified needs. The first two items of focus will be litter and diabetes. The longer-term dream is to open a student-run clinic in the community, perhaps in partnership with The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, the University Medical Center, or the Maude Whatley Health Center.

Dean Hlebowitsh presented on behalf of Dr. Kagendo Mutua, the director of CrossingPoints, a program devoted to the education of adults with severe cognitive disabilities. The two-year program brings Tuscaloosa City and County school students ages 18–21, who are still receiving Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) benefits, to CrossingPoints for nine months of the year. Students may have Down syndrome, be on the Autism spectrum, or have no communication abilities.

The program recently secured a $2.4 million grant that will help secure more resources by supporting some new graduate students and faculty members.

Hlebowitsh reported that Mutua is almost single-handedly moving this forward. He also spoke of Betty Shirley, the grandparent of a man who has Down syndrome, who has also been able to help with successes on the advancement front. Thanks to her help, CrossingPoints has $1 million dollars going into an endowed fund to help with program needs, such as the purchase of a handicapped-accessible van.

Looking to the future, CrossingPoints may be able to expand the program even further as they move to make it a tuition-based program that would be open to families across the country.

The three main things CrossingPoints seeks to accomplish are health, dealing with sexuality concerns and being job-ready. The program tries to get students employed with local establishments before they leave the program, which provides them with the dignity of work and a purpose in life.

Announcements followed.

The new faculty tours will take place May 10–12. The hope is to visit the social services and family services available in several of the communities in the Black Belt region of Alabama. The first day will include Greene, Hale, and Tuscaloosa counties. The next day will include Pickens, Sumter, Perry, and Marion Counties. The final day will include Wilcox, Marengo, and Dallas Counties.

The Eleventh Annual CCBP Excellence Awards luncheon will take place Friday, April 14 at the Bryant Conference Center, Sellers Auditorium.

The SCOPE Student Showcase will also take place on Friday, April 14, at 8:30 a.m. in the Bryant Conference Center, Sellers Auditorium. There will be poster presentations and a graduate and undergraduate panel of students speaking on how they have interacted with community engagement programs.

The Gulf South Summit will take place in Birmingham in March 2018.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

The Council exists to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University. All academic disciplines, as well as a number of students and community members, are represented on the Council. The Council conducts an awards program, oversees project funding, proposes methods to integrate teaching and research and seeks outside funding, all with the goal of fulfilling the Division of Community Affairs’ motto: “Engaging Communities and Changing Lives.”

The Division of Community Affairs was created in 2004 and is recognized nationally and internationally for its leadership in community engagement. The division provided the leadership for the recent reaffirmation of the University’s Carnegie curricular and community engagement classification. The division publishes the Journal of Community Engaged Scholarship, one of the leading refereed journals in the field.

Council on Community-Based Partnerships at The University of Alabama to host 11th Annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards

Photos depicting 2017 Award Winners and their projects

By Taylor Armer
CCBP Graduate Student Assistant

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships at The University of Alabama will host its 11th annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards program Friday, April 14 at the Bryant Conference Center. The ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. in Sellers Auditorium. There is no charge to attend, and lunch will be provided.

Early arrivers will have the chance to view the Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnership and Engagement (SCOPE) student symposium, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Research poster presentations will immediately follow the symposium at 10 a.m., and posters will remain on display after the luncheon and awards ceremony.

Each spring semester, the Council on Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) recognizes outstanding achievements in engagement scholarship. Student, faculty, staff and their community partners are honored for excellence in community-based research.

Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, chair of the Executive Committee for the Council, said: “The quality and competition for these awards improve each year. I encourage everyone with an interest in the field of engaged scholarship to come out and give these winners the show of support they deserve. I also urge them to come early to view the student symposium and research posters on display.”

Charles E. Shipman II, a third-year computer science major from Montgomery, will receive the Zachary David Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship award for his work as a student assistant and language partner in CCBP. Shipman’s character and loyalty to the Center are reflective of the late Zach Dodson, the CCBP work-study student for whom the scholarship is named.

The Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar awards, which recognize a faculty member, a student and a community partner for public service and engagement efforts that have improved the quality of life in Alabama over an extended period, will go to:

  • Dr. Pamela Payne–Foster, associate professor of Community and Rural Medicine and deputy director of the Institute for Rural Health Research in the College of Community Health Sciences.
  • Joon Yea Lee, third-year doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences and graduate assistant at CCBP.
  • Dr. Billy Kirkpatrick, executive director of West Alabama AIDS Outreach.


Excellence in Engagement Awards will be presented to faculty, staff, students and community partners who have identified needs in the community, developed means to address those needs, acted to achieve outcomes, and demonstrated measured success in achieving those outcomes. The recipients are:


  • Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort — Dr. Jen Nickelson, associate professor of health science.
  • Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort — Dr. Kagendo Mutua, professor of special education and multiple abilities.
  • Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort — Dr. David L. Albright, associate professor of social work.
  • Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort — Allyson Mitchell, undergraduate student in communicative disorders.
  • Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort — Army Lt. Col. John Kilpatrick, social work master’s student.
  • Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort — Ethan Newsome-Jackson, engineering undergraduate student.
  • Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort — Qiaoli Liang of the Chinese Sisterhood program.
  • Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort — Dr. Billy Kirkpatrick, executive director of West Alabama AIDS Outreach.
  • Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort — John Tyson Jr., retired Mobile county district attorney.


Winners of this year’s $5,000 research seed funds are:

  • Dr. Tania Alameda-Lawson and Dr. Laura Hopson, both from the School of Social Work, for their project Collective Parent Engagement and Service Learning at Davis-Emerson Middle School.
  • Craig Wedderspoon, of the art and art history department, for his project Growing Art.


Travel funds to support community engagement research and scholarship will be awarded to:

  • Brenna Sweetman, geography department, to present her work for the Water Conservation and Effective Watershed Management project in Punta Gorda, Belize.
  • Dr. Kevin Andrew Richards and Victoria Shiver, both in the department of kinesiology, to present their project, The Development of an After-School Program for Youth Placed At-Risk: A Collaborative Approach, in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Douglas Craddock Jr., doctoral student in higher education administration, to present his project, From Greensboro to Greensboro, Contrasting Two Community Partnerships to Propel Men of Color to Success, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
  • Calia Torres, doctoral student in psychology, to present her project, Reducing Disparities with Literacy-Adapted Psychosocial Treatments for Chronic Pain: The Effect of the Lamp Intervention on Patients’ Pain and Psychosocial Functioning, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Dr. Safiya George, associate professor in the Capstone College of Nursing, to present her project, Telemedicine Perceptions of Rural Patients With HIV and Mental Health Issues, in Paris, France.


Three fellowship awards provided through the Graduate School will be made available in the upcoming 2017–2018 funding cycle. Each fellowship carries a $15,000 stipend payable over fall and spring semesters, a full tuition grant for both semesters and a healthcare stipend. The Community Engagement Graduate Fellowship recipients are:

  • Matthew Price, doctoral student in civil, construction and environmental engineering.
  • Kelsey Ann Dyer, master’s student in special education and multiple abilities.
  • Margaret L. Holloway, doctoral student in English.

 The Council exists to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University. All academic disciplines, as well as a number of students and community members, are represented on the Council. The Council conducts an awards program, oversees project funding, proposes methods to integrate teaching and research and seeks outside funding, all with the goal of fulfilling the Division of Community Affairs’ motto: “Engaging Communities and Changing Lives.”

Council on Community-Based Partnerships Holds First Meeting of Spring Semester; Third of Academic Year

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships held its first meeting of the spring semester Thursday, Feb. 16 in the Bryant Conference Center Birmingham Room on campus.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, education dean, welcomed those present and emphasized, “We’re stronger when we work together.” He went on to speak about service, research and teaching, noting that what this group [the Council] offers is a way of synthesizing these three things. “When that happens, it’s very beautiful, and it’s efficient, as well,” he said.

Dr. Vicki Vandiver, School of Social Work dean, began by saying, “What better place to be than with you talking about community? Samory [Dr. Samory T. Pruitt] lives and breathes community, and that is what we are about, as well.”

Vandiver spoke to the group about what the school is doing to reach out to the community, noting that the school is built on the notion of community and that the organizations they work with are the lifeblood of what they do.

“Public health has its origins in social work,” said Vandiver. “We have always been a part of community, so it is not surprising that we are community servants. We are tiny, but mighty [referring to UA Social Work].”

With 40 full-time faculty, 19 full-time staff and 600 students, the UA School of Social Work is one of the most comprehensive schools of social work in the state. Fifty percent of students’ schooling is taking courses; the other 50 percent is community outreach work and internships. These figures emphasize the need they have to keep the community organizations they work with informed of their efforts. Their students want to be more involved in the community and it is up to the school to provide the academic structure for students to do that. To that end, UA Social Work is affiliated with 600 agencies, with 250–300 of those affiliations being active relationships. She reported that the school performs 1,084 hours of community service annually — a value of $3 million if paid for.

Vandiver said that their scholarship and initiatives support community engagement, as well.

In terms of scholarship, Vandiver highlighted some of the areas in which her school is working with the Council, including: 1) seed funding for students and faculty, 2) two graduate fellowships — the recipients have gone on to do work with AIDS and policy work, and 3) having students serve in Dallas and Marengo counties for the purpose of conducting a needs assessment. Additionally, they have upcoming plans to work with Davis-Emerson Middle School. Vandiver noted that these programs would not be possible without the support of Community-Based Partnership partners.

Speaking on initiatives, Vandiver spoke of the dynamic leadership at UA that ties in with communities, noting specifically that UA’s president and provost are supportive of research and engaging the community. She mentioned current initiatives the school is participating in, which are connected to their field office. Among them are arranging placements in the Tuscaloosa mayor’s office and being involved in a two-year program with Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue, in which they have embedded social workers with EMS workers and first responders. Additionally, they have partnered with the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS) to work with the UA/Pickens County partnership.

“We are developing partnerships with the community at a pace we have never had before,” she said.

Dr. Samory Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, expanded on Vandiver’s sentiment, saying that UA has done well to add leadership at the dean’s level that has embraced the concept of engaged scholarship. “It’s really interesting, over the last six or seven years, how many deans have come here who understand and embrace community engagement,” he said. “We have consistently added deans who get this. When we completed our Carnegie certification a couple of years ago, having these deans was a part of this.”

He reported that the Faculty Activity Report (FAR) has been delayed slightly because UA will be using outside sources to move the project forward. Then he shared information about the ACCESS (Alabama Centralized Community Engagement Scholarship System) software project, which has been contracted with the UA Computer Science Department. The software will help map engaged scholarship projects, allowing for valuable communication and information sharing on engaged scholarship efforts across campus. When completed, the software will allow project creation and updates in real time and anyone with Internet access will be able to view the projects and videos shared on this site.

“We don’t just want to generate reports, but also consistently identify projects that faculty are involved in and find a way to share what they are doing with each other,” Pruitt said, addressing the importance of building relationships.

Dr. Pruitt reported that those working on this project hope to have a demo ready in time to share at our next spring Council meeting. He also noted that some of the faculty members who helped with the FAR pilot will be asked to look at where we are soon to make sure we are going in the right direction. Dr. Pam Foster, deputy director/associate professor, Rural Health Institute, mentioned that a system called PURE is already being used on other campuses, such as Tulane University, that we might be able to look at as a reference point, as well.

Felicia Simpson, service grant writer/school partnership coordinator in The College of Education, spoke to the Council on service grant collaborations. She shared that during the time she previously worked in the Gadsden City School system, she grew to care greatly about the children involved in the after-school programs (latch-key kids). She noted that the State Department of Education has been pushing the topic of community engagement lately, and went on to point out that we get only 20 percent of a student’s day to help them achieve what they need to achieve, and that without community engagement, these children will not be successful.

She reported that there is an after-school network in each state; a support group to help after-school programs through professional development. There is a lot of STEM engagement, connecting with workforce councils, and many business connections are made through this after-school network programming.

She is working with the Tuscaloosa County School system on their school improvement grant and is also working to bring several of their teachers into the College to earn their advanced degrees.

Additionally, the College is working with Dr. Karl Hamner, assistant dean for research and director of the Office of Evaluation, School of Social Work and College of Education, to evaluate other after-school programs in order to capture data and move their own program forward. They are working quickly to try to connect those in education and to help provide resources for them so that they can be certain the College is serving its students across the state.

Drs. Hlebowitsh and Pruitt spoke briefly about the New Faculty Community Engagement Tour, which is being created as a means to help new faculty become aquatinted with the culture, history and life at The University of Alabama. They reported that the logistics became difficult because of obligations with teaching, etc., but that there is a small window of time when the semester concludes that members of the faculty are under contract to remain on campus. This is the time they are working to target. These daylong tours will be organized by Dr. Pruitt and will likely hold a “tour of life in rural Alabama” theme, taking place over the course of three days. Because of drive time, there will probably be three stops each day. Dr. Pruitt gave possible examples of areas to be included that could help faculty members become engaged in these communities. Examples included a focus on hubs such as Tuscaloosa, Hale and Green Counties; then Selma and Marengo and Perry Counties; followed by Pickens County and possibly Sumter or another county. He indicated that he would keep people updated as the details are fleshed out.

The Council Executive Committee Chairs then gave their reports.

Dr. Jen Nickelson, chair of the Academic Conference and Presentation Support Committee, reported that applications for travel funds and poster presentations have been received and that everyone who applied should be notified of their status by March 10.

Dr. Rebecca Allen, chair of the Faculty Teaching and Research Support Committee, gave a brief update on the Committee’s activities, notifying the Council that their committee has received graduate student applications and that they will meet shortly to rate those applications. Allen indicated that the committee would submit recommendations by March 1.

Dr. George Daniels, chair of the Excellence in Community Engagement Recognition Committee, reported that the committee met for the first time Monday, February 6. Committee members are looking at ways to improve the annual CCBP Awards Luncheon, including emphasizing to students the importance of attending the luncheon and not just presenting a poster. The committee hopes to have some innovative ways to present engaged scholarship work that is being done on campus as well. Their next meeting will be Thursday, February 23.

Updates from the CCBP followed.

Dr. Beverly Hawk spoke to the Council about UA’s Fulbright Scholarship status. “Thank you for sending me so may wonderful students, who have the guts to apply,” she said. “Fulbright loves you; Fulbright loves everybody you send.”

Hawk reported that UA currently has applicants studying in the UK, in Poland and in Zambia. Additionally, we have four people serving as English Teaching Assistants: one in Russia, one in Poland, one in South Korea, and one in Germany. She also reported that the University has 18 students who were chosen to be potential Fulbright Scholars for the 2017–2018 academic year (otherwise known as the survivors of the American juries). She also informed the group that UA is a Top Fulbright-Producing Institution, as of last year, as listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Jim McLean gave an update on the Grants and Sustainability Workshops, saying that the final coaching session is scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 7. He is working now to collect information from the 10 teams who are taking part in the workshops, and reported that participant evaluations have been high.

The second round of workshops has been approved and will begin before the start of fall classes. A handout containing pertinent information was shared with those in attendance. The first two days of seminars will focus on acquiring government grants and then approving corporate grants. This series will continue to feature David G. Bauer. Applications will be accepted for up to eight teams, as well as some individuals who wish to apply, as space is available, for a total of up to 50 people. For additional information, interested teams and individuals should contact Dr. Jim McLean.

Following Dr. McLean’s update, Dr. Rick Streiffer, dean of CCHS, spoke to the Council regarding the UA/Pickens County Health Care Teaching Partnership. He shared that approximately three years ago, a crisis began in Pickens County when it looked as if their hospital might be closed due to financial concerns. At the time, the hospital was operating on less than one week’s cash and had to lay off many employees.

Doctors worried about what would happen to the county if the hospital closed. “If you don’t have healthcare, communities collapse,” he said. The doctors began talking, and it grew from there, he reported.

“We could not put money into saving the hospital, but it was an important asset, and we didn’t want to lose the asset,” said Streiffer.

Conversations about identifying resources continued, and it was determined that the resource we could offer them as a University was the use of our UA brand and our students to help steer the community dynamic in a positive direction. From these conversations came the idea to partner students with local people, agencies, and legislators. Through the partnership, the concept of a teaching county (similar to a teaching hospital) was formed and funds were received to move forward.

There is a person placed in the hospital, and they also envisioned utilizing students to address health-related community needs. The third element was helping to develop a workforce of young, enthusiastic people. Dr. Streiffer shared that the students involved in this project are recent UA graduates who are doing a gap year before moving on to the next stage of their education.

Eight faculty projects were awarded this past year, including the development of a rural family medical program, improving access to cardiac rehabilitation services, bringing healthy food options and ease of preparation home, and the Alabama literacy project.

The first step was conducting a community needs assessment, which identified three categories of needs: education, transportation and resources.

To address resources, they created a resource guide that is also accessible online for residents of the county. Five hundred printed copies of the guide were distributed to community organizers, and 1,000 additional copies are due to be printed soon.

Pickens County is considered a food desert, so following the community needs assessment, the idea of community gardens was born. Community members will work in the gardens two days a week and will be provided with all of the resources and instruction they need to help grow these gardens. The gardens will not only provide healthy food options, but the people involved in the project will learn how to grow food, and will also learn the importance of giving back to the community when the food grown in the gardens is donated to the food pantry.

Most schools do not have a health teacher or a health curriculum and one in three children in Alabama is considered obese. Through the partnership, students are working with six elementary classes to address topics within the CDC’s Comprehensive Health Education Standards in order to help expand health knowledge within the schools. Rates of chronic diseases are also more prominent in rural areas, so they are conducting cooking and nutrition courses after school to help children learn how what they eat can affect their health. This effort is aimed at lowering the prevalence of chronic disease. The group has also tasked themselves with doing health screenings to reach as many children as they can in Pickens County. They have already completed K–6 grade and will soon begin to work with the high school students.

(More about the UA/Pickens County Partnership is available at .)

Dr. Darrin Griffin, assistant professor of communication studies, spoke to the Council about partnerships with the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. He reported that there is a large disconnect between the deaf community and The University of Alabama and that he has been working to bridge this gap within our state. Related to that, he will be teaching a class on deaf culture at UA during the fall semester. He also indicated that there is not a lot of opportunity at UA to help deaf students achieve the level of education that they deserve to achieve. He reported that he is currently working with NOAA to help with tornado warnings within Alabama for deaf people. He asked those present to think about how they might involve him in doing what they do, to work together for the betterment of the deaf community moving forward.

Announcements followed. The next CCBP Council meeting will take place Thursday, April 6, at 11:30 a.m. at the Bryant Conference Center, Birmingham Room. The Annual CCBP Awards Luncheon will take place Friday, April 14, with poster presentations at 10 a.m. and the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Bryant Conference Center, Sellers Auditorium.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

The Council exists to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University. All academic disciplines, as well as a number of students and community members, are represented on the Council. The Council conducts an awards program, oversees project funding, proposes methods to integrate teaching and research and seeks outside funding, all with the goal of fulfilling the Division of Community Affairs’ motto: “Engaging Communities and Changing Lives.”

The Division of Community Affairs was created in 2004 and is recognized nationally and internationally for its leadership in community engagement. The division provided the leadership for the recent reaffirmation of the University’s Carnegie curricular and community engagement classification. The division publishes the Journal of Community Engaged Scholarship, one of the leading refereed journals in the field.


Council on Community-Based Partnerships Holds Second Meeting of Fall Semester; Next Meeting Set for February 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships held its second luncheon meeting of the fall semester Wednesday, Oct. 26 in the Bryant Conference Center Birmingham Room on campus.

In his opening remarks, education dean Dr. Peter Hlebowitsch, council executive committee chair, spoke of the importance of research, teaching and service, noting that many on campus are involved in research and service simultaneously. He urged using University resources to make a far-reaching and positive difference, noting “we are not The University of Tuscaloosa, but The University of Alabama.”

Dr. Susan Carvalho, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, discussed the UA graduate education strategic plan. The University of Alabama Graduate School is committed to increasing both the number and quality of graduate students in order to develop the next generation of scholars, as well as to further develop the University’s scholarship activity, she said. This goal is in line with the campus-wide vision to increase the number of tenure-track faculty positions from 900 to 1,200. Carvalho believes that the council can help her meet some of the Graduate School’s “grand challenges,” including a strong push for interdisciplinary engagement research. She also mentioned the opportunities made possible by the (Bill and Melinda) Gates Foundation through its support of creative learning, innovation, global and classical perspectives, authentic experiential learning and development of social consciousness.

Carvalho shared the current statistics and goals in the area of graduate studies at UA, noting that at present graduate students constitute 14 percent of the student population. The goal is to increase that figure to 23 percent, which would grow this area from approximately 5,000 to 8,000.

What will it take to increase graduate enrollment almost 10 percent? In addition to creating additional graduate programs and increasing enrollment in existing ones, Carvalho believes that it’s the idea of what students would do and why they would do it. She noted that the Graduate School can help teach these learners to have a better understanding of how their efforts affect communities, and why that matters. She also spoke to the importance of the University having activities in place that allow them opportunities to speak outside of their jargon world — to talk to real people — about what they do.

Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, gave an update on the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Conference, noting that the ESC Board met Sunday evening and Monday prior to the beginning of the conference to discuss the ESC 20/20 Strategic Plan. The  plan, which includes a goal of growing the ESC from the current 38 member institutions to 100 by the year 2020, was approved unanimously. Additional components of the strategic plan include exploring the possibility of hosting state and regional conferences in addition to the larger national conference, which could mean additional conference hosting opportunities in Alabama. An item for exploration is finding a way to acquire funds for and implement multi-state engaged scholarship grants.


The meeting continued with no committee report items that needed to be shared with the group. It was announced that the seed funding and award calls for the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) Awards opened Saturday, October 1.

Dr. Jim McLean, CCBP executive director, introduced Dr. Holly Morgan, the new director of Community Education, bringing CCBP to full staffing capacity. Morgan joins the CCBP from the UA College of Education. She has previously worked with the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) and other educational groups.

Morgan updated the Council on the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA). She reported that PTLA currently consists of four school systems, including 50 teachers attending the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) and 78 parents attending the Parent Leadership Academy (PLA), which includes elementary, parent and Pre-K groups. The PLA includes six sessions throughout the academic year, while there are four TLA sessions for teachers. The focus this year is on uniting parents and teachers around their schools’ improvement plans. (Note: The final sessions of the year were held Nov. 17 and Dec. 1.)

Dr. Tonyia Tidline, CCBP director of Student and Community Engagement, reported that she is working to add students to the primary engagement organization under her leadership, Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnerships and Engagement (SCOPE), as well as to increase their interest in and production of research. She shared an informational handout and reported on the group’s recent and remaining activity schedule for the semester. She said the Student Showcase will take place Wednesday, March 22, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Ferguson Student Center. The theme will be “Brought to You by Students, for Students.” Plans include placing an emphasis on works in progress in hopes of inspiring students with ideas they can use to work with faculty. Dean Carvalho will be the keynote speaker for the event, with Billy Kirkpatrick from West Alabama AIDS Outreach also speaking.

Reporting on engagement scholarship in action were representatives of the Alabama TOP Program and the Dallas and Marengo Counties Veterans Needs Assessment Project.

Dr. Tania Alameda-Lawson, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, and Dr. Michael Lawson, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research, Methodology and Counseling, with Dr. Andrew K. Richards, assistant professor of Kinesiology and UA student Victoria Shiver, discussed the Alabama TOP Program. Their research explores two fundamental problems of education: 1) the rapidly growing student populations in the U.S. that are underserved by schools and 2) the phenomenon that less than 15 percent of variance in children’s academic achievement relates to their schoolwork. The challenge educators face is how to address these non-school factors so that classroom engagement and learning can occur for all students.

Working through an interdisciplinary effort to integrate best practices, the program follows a framework that includes: 1) positive engagement with student peer groups, 2) families, 3) helping children see that school is a positive place for them and 4) academic engagement.

Program leaders hope to synchronize these four pillars through intervention, utilizing the involvement of faculty members, students and community members working together in teams. The primary objective is to train families to provide programs and support to other parents in the community through door-do-door outreach, as well as by convening parents to identify barriers and challenges so as to identify potential solutions. The program will provide technical and financial support for the parent-run program development. Primary partners for the project are Tuscaloosa One Place, Holt Elementary, the UA College of Education, the UA Department of Kinesiology and the UA School of Social Work.

Dr. David Albright, associate professor and Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health, reported on the Dallas and Marengo Counties Veterans Needs Assessment Program. Funded through the CCBP Council Awards, this program assessed gaps and opportunities within Dallas and Marengo counties for approximately 4,000 veterans. Albright reported that additional funding has been received and the program is now being extended to include Wilcox County. There are two phases to the program: 1) interviews and 2) focus groups of providers offering services to veterans in the tri-county area. (A report documenting Phase 1 findings was to be generated by December 2016.)

The next Council on Community-Based Partnerships meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. in the Capital Hall training room.

The Annual CCBP Awards Luncheon will take place Friday, April 14, 2017, with poster presentations at 10 a.m. and the luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Bryant Conference Center, Sellers Auditorium.

The Council exists to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University. All academic disciplines, as well as a number of students and community members, are represented on the Council. The Council conducts an awards program, oversees project funding, proposes methods to integrate teaching and research and seeks outside funding, all with the goal of fulfilling the Division of Community Affairs’ motto: “Engaging Communities and Changing Lives.”

The Division of Community Affairs was created in 2004 and is recognized nationally and internationally for its leadership in community engagement. The division provided the leadership for the recent reaffirmation of the University’s Carnegie curricular and community engagement classification. The division publishes the Journal of Community Engaged Scholarship, one of the leading refereed journals in the field.



Student’s Prize-Winning Photos Capture UA Spirit


By Taylor Armer
CCBP Graduate Assistant

A Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) senior student assistant, Jianlong Yang, won first and second place in the “Crimson Captured” category at the 2016 Education Abroad Photo Contest.

While entering the competition was his opportunity to show his work, Yang, a management major from Zhengzhou, China, said that he also wanted to “share his view of the University of Alabama campus.”

These captured moments earned Yang, a self-taught photographer, a $150 credit toward tuition and fees for Spring 2017, frames for his winning photos, and recognition at the competition display on the 2nd floor of the Ferguson Center.

His first place winner, “Roll Tide,” captured a Million Dollar Band member playing the trombone during UA’s Homecoming Parade on Oct. 1. Yang’s attention was drawn to the University’s battle cry emblazoned on the banner attached to the instrument.


“The banner, and the band’s uniform, are symbols of campus pride,” Yang said. “It’s special and provides meaning for all of us.”

The second place winner, “We Were Here,” captured a group of graduating seniors seemingly propping up Denny Chimes, reminiscent of tourist photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.


“It took many attempts to get this one right,” Yang said, “but it was a moment that makes you want to capture it.”

At CCBP, Yang works under Dr. Edward Mullins, director of research and communication, and other directors.

“Jianlong is an exceptionally talented photographer with both the eye of an artist and the technical precision of a scientist,” Mullins said. “In my many years as a professional journalist and a teacher of journalism, I’ve not seen many with both of these traits to the degree that Jianlong has them.”

Although an undergraduate management major, Yang hopes to attend graduate school at the University to continue his study of photography.

His love of photography developed after his father gave him his old camera, exposing him to another way of life. From that moment, Yang transitioned from a “nerd playing computer games” to a visual artist intent on “exploring new things.”

“I started going outside more to find beautiful places to shoot,” he said. “It was my chance to see the world, [to make life] meaningful.”

Among the many places he has explored are the Rocky Mountains, the Alabama coast, and, of course, many aspects of the UA campus.

Other first place winners were Danielle Whitehurst, landscape, Mackenzie Senogles, local color, and Olivia Boswell, UA spirit.

Council on Community-Based Partnerships Holds First Meeting of Fall Semester; Next Meeting Will Be October 26

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships held its first luncheon meeting of the fall semester Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Bryant Conference Center Rast Room on campus. The next Council of Community-Based Partnerships meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 11:30 a.m., in the Birmingham/Central Room, Bryant Conference Center.

Dr. Samory Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, welcomed attendees and reported on the recently completed multi-day fall meeting of the Division of Community Affairs Board of Advisors, a group of active alumni who distinguished themselves as student leaders. One board member has endowed a scholarship designated for underrepresented students. Dr. Pruitt also spoke about the upcoming 17th Annual Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Conference, which will take place in Omaha, Nebraska, Oct. 11-12. As president of the executive committee of theESC board, Pruitt has begun drafting the ESC 2020 report, a three-year strategic plan addressing vision, focus and impact. The University of Alabama delegation for 2016 includes 31 faculty, staff, students and community partners, with seven members of the delegation making presentations.

Dr. Carl Pinkert, vice president for Research and Economic Development, presented an overview of the economic impact the University has on the state of Alabama. He also addressed the dramatic reversal of state funding vs. other funding for higher education throughout the past 40 years — noting the shift from the majority of funds coming from the state — and the need this shift has created to look for other opportunities to leverage resources at the state and federal levels, as well as through private partnerships working with industries and foundations.

Pinkert talked about the importance of developing a culture where research is perceived as important, as well as the necessity to share information that can help bring people from across campus together to work more collaboratively with shared equipment and resources. He informed the group that his office has created a separate strategic research plan that would feed into the campus-wide set of priorities outlined in the UA strategic plan.

His office is looking at spearheading several new institutes on campus, including water, energy and environment; transportation and the automotive industry; cyber and IT; and military demographics and sustainable civil infrastructure. He also discussed a life research institute that will cover cradle-to-grave research and indicated that a director search is under way. He encouraged those present to share information with their colleagues about upcoming workshops and networking opportunities that could help individuals from across campus form additional working partnerships. He also spoke of plans for a development center designed to help faculty members reach their goals of developing enhanced, competitive, high-quality external funding proposals. Pinkert concluded by discussing the importance of achieving greater visibility on campus by sharing accomplishments through appropriate media and contact with colleges, schools and departments.

img_3200Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, new chair of the Council’s Executive Committee, told the Council that community service and engaged scholarship are taken very seriously in the College of Education, where he serves as academic dean, and went on to note that the college is hiring a service-grant writer who will work with the school partnerships program and community-based service programs such as Crossing Points. He discussed efforts under way to shift the current 40/40/20 financial allocation for teaching/research/community service and outreach, acknowledging the need to recognize that some of these efforts overlap. He emphasized the desire in the college to utilize the Council to achieve goals in the area of outreach. He noted the importance of pooling resources for a common cause to better our communities, citizens and families, and for awakening social consciousness, particularly among new faculty members.


Executive committee updates followed.

Dr. Martha Crowther, professor of psychology, gave the report for the Faculty Teaching and Research Support Committee on behalf Dr. Rebecca Allen, professor in the Alabama Research Institute on Aging and the Department of Psychology. Crowther reported that there were 11 applicants during the last travel-funding cycle and that three of the applicants were selected. The committee hopes to receive more applications for the next funding cycle and is discussing ways to make more people aware of the availability of these applications and resources.

Crowther then gave the report for the Proposal and Seed Funding Support Committee. The deadline for applications for seed funding is Feb. 15, 2017, with the funding cycle beginning Dec. 1, 2017. The committee expects to notify recipients of funding by March 15, 2017. Awards of up to $5,000 are available. The committee plans to engage in interesting and creative ways to be certain that the campus community is aware of this funding source, which should increase the number of applicants.

Dr. George Daniels, assistant dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences, followed with the Excellence in Community Engagement Recognition Committee report. He said that in the past, the committee has focused on the spring awards luncheon, but that they are looking at ways to spend time during the fall semester doing event planning and outreach improvement. He said that people are often doing community-engagement work but calling it something else. The committee plans to contact those individuals early — rather than waiting until the spring semester — to make them aware of upcoming seed-funding, travel grants, fellowship, awards and opportunities. Daniels also indicated that committee members plan to discuss innovative ways to increase participation in the annual CCBP Awards Luncheon, which is scheduled for Friday, April 14, 2017 (the Friday following Honors Week). His committee is looking into ways to help community partners better engage and to assist students in learning how to produce videos that showcase work supported by the Council.

Dr. Jen Nickelson, associate professor of health science, gave the report for the Academic Conference and Presentation Support Committee. The committee has added two new doctoral students: Eric Conrad and Dashauna Ballard. The travel award, which is open to students, community members, faculty and staff, is up to $1,000 for travel to a conference for training or presenting work on community engaged scholarship. Nickelson noted that this is a great way for individuals to showcase the work they are doing, as well as to receive training on how to do this type of work. The committee has decided to return to two funding cycles per year. The next deadline is February 15, 2017. The second cycle deadline will be September 15, 2017.  The committee plans to contact applicants regarding a decision within one month of the application deadline.

Amanda Waller gave the report of the Community Partner Support Committee. She indicated that she has recruited several local nonprofit directors to work on a subcommittee that will help get the word out about community partnerships, including West Alabama AIDS Outreach and the West Alabama Food Bank. They have created a survey to get a feel for what keeps prospective community partners from partnership with UA. The survey will be distributed to local nonprofits in West Alabama, and they are also considering statewide distribution. Utilizing survey results, they will create a plan to share information on how to create community partners for UA. Waller also reported that Tuscaloosa’s One Place has formed a new partnership with UA that will look at the importance of physical education in school-aged students.


UA student Tera “CeeCee” Johnson reported for the Student Involvement and Support Committee. Members of the committee spoke at the recent Board of Advisors (BOA) panel on behalf of Scope and Global Café. Several BOA members have indicated interest in having them speak at further workshops. Additionally, Johnson announced that SCOPE has a new director, Dr. Tonyia Tidline, who serves as the director of Student and Community Engagement in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. Johnson indicated that they have been able to recruit more student SCOPE members since Tidline’s arrival. She also shared that the International Student Association has shown interest in the work of the Global Café. CCBP held its first Global Café of the fall semester September 27. A panel spoke on international families. The event was well attended.

CCBP updates followed.

Dr. Jim McLean, executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, shared specific information about the grant program previously discussed by Pinkert. McLean indicated that three of the four days of grant workshops scheduled for the academic year have been held. The first three workshops focused on government grants, foundation grants and grants from corporations. One workshop — scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5 — remains. It will focus on the fundraising and sustainability aspects of grants.

The final coaching session will take place March 7, 2017. The hope is that all teams and individuals will have at least one proposal to share at that time. Ten UA community teams are engaged in this learning series, as are 12 individuals, for a total of 55 participants. There will be a celebratory dinner at the Hotel Capstone on March 7. Each team will have an opportunity to report at the dinner. Based on the success of this first round of workshops, a second round has been approved. David Bauer, the current coach, will return to campus to coach the second round of workshops.

McLean also reported that the Capital Hall facilities are now available at no charge to anyone on the University campus who wishes to use them. There is a conference room that will accommodate 8–10 people, as well as a training room that seats 30–40 depending on configuration. There is also a computer lab that houses 12 computers, with space for eight additional computers as the Center grows. The lab has a Wi-Fi connection specific to that room. Additionally, the CCBP is in the planning stages for the creation of an Engagement Resource Center. That facility will be available to faculty, staff, students and the community at large. Additionally, the CCBP has made arrangements with Parking Services to be able to issue their own visitor parking permits. Dr. McLean also announced the hiring of Dr. Tonyia Tidline.

Tidline introduced herself to the Council. She indicated that she will focus on the scholarship process of the SCOPE program, working with UA faculty and other students. She indicated a desire to reach out to communities to engage in programs and processes that will have impact and resonance in those communities. She sees her role as working with faculty and community on innovation, partnership, getting out of our own backyard and building relationships in the community.

Tidline said she seeks to build bridges and facilitate communication with the community. She announced that Dr. Pruitt would be speaking to SCOPE students about engaged scholarship at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, in Capital Hall, and encouraged those present to let the students in their areas know about this opportunity to hear directly from Dr. Pruitt about what Community Engaged Scholarship means and how they can be involved with the program. (Note: This meeting was held and attended by one of the largest number of students in SCOPE’s history.)

Dr. Pruitt introduced Diane Kennedy-Jackson as the Division of Community Affairs’ new publications coordinator. He also welcomed to the Council the dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Susan Carvalho.

The Council exists to connect faculty, staff, students and community partners in research-based projects designed to solve critical problems identified collaboratively by community members and the University. All academic disciplines are represented on a Council made up of campus and community members. The Council’s various committees oversee project funding, conduct an awards program, publish a research journal, propose methods to integrate teaching and research and seek outside funding, all with the goal of fulfilling the Division of Community Affairs’ motto: “Engaging Communities and Changing Lives.”

The Division of Community Affairs was created in 2004 and is recognized nationally and internationally for its leadership in community engagement. The division provided the leadership for the recent reaffirmation of the University’s Carnegie curricular and community engagement classification. The division also publishes the Journal of Community Engaged Scholarship, one of the leading refereed journals in the field.

10th Annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards

Photos by Jianlong Yang and Fuyan Zhang
CCBP Student Assistants

2016 Poster Session
Record Number of Research Posters Submitted for 2016 Awards Program.

By Taylor Armer
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Dr. David Francko, dean of the Graduate School and associate provost, was among those honored at the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships’ (CCBP) 10th annual Excellence in Community Engagement luncheon Friday, April 29.

Award recipients, UA leaders, community partners, alumni, faculty, staff and students all gathered in Sellers Auditorium of the Bryant Conference Center to attend the program’s largest awards luncheon to date.

Vice President for Community Affairs Dr. Samory Pruitt surprised Dean Francko when he called him to the stage to receive the 2016 Distinguished Special Achievement in Community Engagement award, the organization’s highest award.

“We tried to keep it a secret,” Pruitt said. “There’s no one more deserving of this award. His name is synonymous with our work at CCBP.”

The award commemorated Francko’s dedicated service as the inaugural chair of the CCBP executive committee, a group that enabled Pruitt to decentralize many of the CCBP program activities.

“Working with CCBP and serving on the executive committee has been one of the highlights of my career,” Francko said. “It has been a pleasure.”

Special guests for the occasion were more than 30 members of the newly selected Community Affairs Board of Advisors, meeting in Tuscaloosa for the first time. The group consists of high-achieving UA graduates who will advise Community Affairs on campus-wide initiatives that increase student success and retention and facilitate student involvement in entrepreneurship, innovation and development of global and community leaders by mentoring current students and assisting in the recruitment of outstanding future leaders.

Tera “Cee Cee” Johnson, a CCBP student employee, received the Zachary David Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship for her work with many of the CCBP programs. Johnson’s character and loyalty to the Center reflected key attributes of the late Zach Dodson, the CCBP work-study student for whom the scholarship is named.

Calia Torres, Johnson’s co-chair on the Center’s Student Involvement and Support Committee, received the student Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar award. Her graduate fellowship with SCOPE (Students for Community Outreach, Partnership, and Engagement) and community partnership with Whatley Health Services were listed among her many contributions to the community.

Dr. Beverly Thorn, professor in the department of psychology, received the faculty Distinguished Community Scholar award, in part for her work with Federally Health Qualified Centers, including Whatley. A nominator remarked Dr. Thorn “truly cares about the people with whom she works,” making “her an effective and trustworthy researcher and leader (in forging) collaborative relationships and partnerships.”

One of Thorn’s community partnerships has been with Ms. Deborah Tucker, chief executive officer of Whatley Health Services, who received the community partner Distinguished Engaged Scholar for her outstanding health services leadership across the state.

Dr. George Daniels, chair of the Excellence in Community Engagement Awards Committee, presented awards in seven categories. They are as follows:

· Dr. Beverly Thorn, professor of psychology, Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Faculty.

· Dr. Rebecca S. Allen, professor of psychology — Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Faculty.

· Ms. Teri Henley, advertising and public relations instructor — Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Faculty.

· Dr. Teresa Wise, associate provost for International Education and Global Outreach — Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Faculty.

· Ms. Fan Yang, social work doctoral student — Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Student.

· Ms. Alberta McCrory, mayor of Hobson City, Ala. — Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Community Partner.

· Mr. Buddy Kirk, Ms. Patti Presley-Fuller, and Mr. Alan Harper — Pickens County Friends of the Hospital, Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship/Community Partner.

Daniels also recognized seed fund recipients Dr. Natasha Dimova and Dr. Yuehan Lu, assistant professors of geological sciences. Dr. Dimova’s project, “Establishing Alabama GeoKids Initiative,” will develop a curriculum for teaching Earth Science to minorities and underrepresented student groups in the Tuscaloosa area. Dr. Lu’s project, “Determining Sources and Quality of Inorganic and Organic Nutrients Exported from Agricultural Watersheds,” will work to identify non-point sources of organic and inorganic nutrients in the state’s agricultural watersheds.

Dr. Rebecca Allen, chair of the Faculty Teaching and Research Support Committee, recognized graduate fellowship recipients for work promoting community engagement. They are Ms. Andrea Newman, psychology doctoral student; Ms. Megan Briggs, geography master’s student; and Ms. Jessica M. Bertram, social work doctoral student.

Dr. Jen Nickelson, chair of the academic conference and presentation support committee, recognized Ms. Lindsay Turner, executive director of the Druid City Garden Project as the 2015-16 travel fund award winner. Turner will present her research “Longitudinal Effects of an Elementary School Garden Program on Children’s Health, Food Choices, School Engagement, and Learning” at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference, June 2-4, in Madison, Wisc.

Dr. Nickelson also recognized the 21 research poster presentations, the most ever accepted, that were displayed before, during and after the awards luncheon. 

            In wrapping up the awards ceremony, Dr. Pruitt underscored the success of community engagement at the University over the past 10 years. After thanking program master of ceremonies Dr. Ed Mullins, CCBP director of communication and research, for his years of service to the awards program, Dr. Pruitt congratulated all of those recognized for their accomplishments.

            “To change the world, you first have to change your part of the world,” Pruitt said. “What you’ve seen and heard in the projects and recognitions today represents our efforts at changing our part of the world.”   

Heart Touch Takes Diversity Program to Holt Elementary School

By Peter Mullins and Jianlong Yang
Photos by Jianlong Yang
CCBP Student Assistants

HOLT — Social Work graduate student Fan Yang is using her awarding-winning Heart Touch program to help elementary students understand cultures different from their own. Yang, from China, has been working for the past two years to enhance cultural competency and understanding between different ethnic groups. She engages a diverse range of foreign volunteers from the University of Alabama to work with small groups of children as a way of bonding and sharing cultural differences.

Most recently, she took her program to Holt Elementary School in Tuscaloosa County, where Peng Shi, a tai chi instructor from Tuscaloosa, demonstrated the art to 30 fourth and fifth grade students. Earlier, she originated a pen pal program between elementary students in Alabama and China to help them get to know each others’ likes and interests.

Yang’s program addresses the need for young Americans and foreign students at the University of Alabama to understand different cultures. She affirms this purpose by saying: “Both populations [of Americans and foreign students] need to know each others’ culture very well. But they just don’t have access. That’s why I created the program to provide a blackboard so that each population could collaborate in order to know both cultures.”

Yang has plans to expand her program’s resources of foreign volunteers to include Korean students. This will be an addition to her already existing group of Chinese, Japanese and American volunteers.

“We have about ten Korean students right now as volunteers at Northington Elementary School. We are trying to add a Korean culture component after these volunteers know Heart Touch better,” Yang said.

Yang came up with the idea for the Heart Touch program while working as an intern at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. She won a CCBP Award for Student Excellence in Community-Engaged Scholarship in 2014.

In October, she began a program with Pandora White, an African-American graduate student in biochemistry, to help women and minorities see themselves as future engineers and scientists.


Ping Shi teaches Tai Chi to Holt Elementary School students for Heart Touch Program.
Fan Yang, left, the founder and leader of Heart Touch Program, and Ping Shi, Tai Chi instructor, pause during a break at Holt Elementary School.