Category: Council on Community-Based Partnerships

For Second Straight Year, New Faculty Tour of Black Belt Reveals Progress, Challenges in the Region

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

For the second consecutive year, the Division of Community Affairs led a new faculty tour of cities and their landmarks in West Alabama and the Alabama Black Belt Region. In addition to new faculty, many staff and students in the division also attended.

The bus tour allowed participants to explore new places, meet new people and engage with new communities as part of the University’s expansion of its community-engagement capacity and opportunities in the region.

During the first day of a three-day tour, participants visited schools and museums in Eutaw (Greene County) and Greensboro (Hale County) before stopping for a session at Stillman College, a private historically black college in Tuscaloosa with close ties to and common interests with the University.

At each stop, communities shared their success stories, but also identified areas of need in hopes of encouraging UA faculty, staff and students to become more involved with this region.

For example, during a panel discussion at Robert Brown Middle School in Eutaw, Greene County School Superintendent James Carter requested help in developing programs for special needs children, telling the delegation he would appreciate their getting with him after the visit “for any suggestions on how we can better serve our special needs students in Greene Count. We also need help with our struggling students. So, if you have conducted research or have strategies we can use, I would like to hear about them.”

It was mentioned that UA’s Gear Up program was only one of several programs that partner with the Greene County Schools to prepare students for college. Several summer camp opportunities were also mentioned, among them several specifically aimed at students with social or economic hardships. Those include Alabama Summer Computer Camps (July 10–14); Art in Nature Camp (July 24–28); various reading and writing programs (June and July), Multicultural Journalism Workshop (June 2–11); Rural Health Scholars Program (May 28–June 28)’

The tour also provided opportunities for faculty and graduate students to forge new partnerships in other areas. Not only did the tour present scholars with needs, it also provided an opportunity to learn about the history of these rural areas.

In Greensboro, the tour stopped at the Safe House Museum, which was preserved as a museum after the house was used to keep the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. safe from an attack by the Klan during the Civil Rights Movement. The home was owned by Theresa Burroughs’ mother.

On the stop, Burroughs recalled her mother making homemade biscuits for King. “My mother loved to make biscuits, and Dr. King loved biscuits. He could eat four or six,” said Burroughs, explaining that King, Albert Turner and Hosea Williams would call their home from Selma to tell them they were coming over for breakfast. “My mother would start making biscuits. By the time they drove up out there, the biscuits would be ready.”

During the stop at Stillman College, the group not only learned the history of the college, but found out about old and new collaborations. “Over the years, we have had dual degree programs with the University of Alabama,” said Dr. Mary Jane Krotzer, Stillman vice president of institutional effectiveness. She said the two schools currently have an active dual enrollment program, which allows full-time students at either school to enroll in two additional courses at the other school without paying tuition.

UA’s Vice President of Community Affairs Samory T. Pruitt, who is a member of the Stillman Board of Trustees, said the tour allowed him to see ways in which new collaborations can be started and others renewed and sustained.

“I’ve heard some of the discussions and we may not have anyone in the room today who is interested in every area that was mentioned, but we are capturing the discussion from this session and we will share it with those with similar interests when we return to campus,” Pruitt told the panelists at Stillman.

Most tour participants were seeing the Black Belt for the first time. However, a few were familiar with the areas and even the tour itself. “This was a really rewarding experience the first year,” said James Gilbreath, an instructional and reference librarian at Gorgas Library who has been at the University for three years. “This year, I’m here to give context to new faculty members.”


DAY 2, Thursday, May 10

On Day 2 of the New Faculty Community Engagement Tour the group of nearly 40 faculty, staff and students traveled to Carrollton, Ala., in Pickens County, to attend a panel discussion at Pickens County College and Career Center.

Here, panel members included representation from Whatley Health Services Inc., Pickens County Family Resource Center and Pickens County Community Action Committee and Community Development Corporation, Inc.

Although UA already has partnerships within the county, many of the new faculty members and graduate students were unfamiliar with the services offered in senior, food and family services, childcare and education.

“At the Family Resource Center we work with two demographics; one is the elderly. We manage the senior care facilities throughout the county,” said the Rev. Rodney Shamery. “We serve lunch and provide activities to the elderly in the community. The second group we serve is young people and their parents.”

Shamery, who coordinates the Fatherhood Program funded by the Children’s Trust Fund, discussed the STAR (Students at Risk) Program and the services its two locations provide to families in need.

“We help at-risk children learn the social and cognitive skills they need to be successful,” he said. “We also work with non-custodial parents to help them renew their relationship with their children. We teach them how to interact with the other parent, work with them to find employment and teach them the soft skills they need to maintain employment.”

From there the group traveled to Sumter County, where they visited the Livingston Civic Center for a panel discussion.

“I live in a town where incomes are very limited. So I want to bring people to the table,” said community activist Lovie Burrell-Parks. “I started a monthly community needs assessment that has gotten people talking about what they want to see in the community.”

Based on this needs assessment, Burrell-Parks will operate a five-day summer camp for children and their parents. “This will bring people from Panola and surrounding areas together,” Burrell-Parks said.

Like Burrell-Parks, the Rev. Bob Little, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church in Panola, has been involved in his community. Each summer for the last eight years, his church has conducted a six-week vacation Bible school.

“We teach our children oration, song, memorization, music and writing. We average about 25–30 kids and most of our kids have been on the A-B Honor Roll for the last five years,” Little said. “We teach them things that will help them be productive and successful. We have members who now write their own books.”

Additionally, the church has its own recording label and it sings every genre of music, not just gospel.

“We’re here in the backwoods of Alabama but utilizing technology to broaden our horizons,” Little said. “We are limited in resources, but we still have great potential. We have to be creative to bring resources into our community.”

The center is located on a river with a breathtaking view that participants looked out on during the panel discussion.

“This tour has been what I had hoped it would be,” said Dr. Edward Geno, M.D., faculty member in the College of Community Health Sciences’ Department of Family Medicine specializing in family, internal and rural medicine. “I heard about the efforts and the dedication of these people and how they have interacted with the college to promote some of the needs of their community. These are impressive individuals who have overcome a lot personally and in their community.”

Geno, who works to develop medical leaders, said he was most impressed by the people affiliated with Hill Hospital of Sumter County and Whatley Health Services because of the leadership required to sustain a rural medical facility or practice. “They had healthcare leadership initiatives, which is a huge need in graduate medical education,” Geno said.

In Marion, Alabama, in Perry County, the participants visited historic Judson College, which was established in 1838 specifically to educate women and continues this tradition today.

From there, the group attended a panel discussion at Marion Methodist Church, after which they visited with UA Honors College students participating in the Black Belt Experience.

“I thought the tour would be a good way to see parts of Alabama that you don’t normally see, meet people that you normally wouldn’t have the chance to interact with, and hear about some of the issues that they are facing, and to see if there are ways the University can partner with them to address those issues and maybe improve the quality of life for the people in those areas,” said Alabama Transportation Institute Outreach Director Justice Smyth IV, whose family owns a farm in Uniontown (Perry County). “This has been an eye-opening experience; not just for me, but for the group,” he said.


Day 3, Friday, May 11

The New Faculty Community Engagement Tour concluded its three-day exploration of West Alabama and the Black Belt Region with stops in Uniontown, Thomasville, and Camden, ending in Selma, where the group crossed the historic Edmond Pettus Bridge.

Uniontown (Perry County) Mayor Jamaal Hunter hosted the group at the City Recreation Center. He was joined by Emefa Butler, founder of the non-profit CHOICE (Choosing to Help Others In our Community Excel); Gilbert Sentell of Sentell Engineering; and John H. Heard III, superintendent of Perry County Schools.

About the tour participants, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president of UA’s Division of Community Affairs, said, “These are people who have gotten up at 7 o’clock in the morning and have ridden the bus for 12 hours because they were interested in hearing more about these communities and making their skillsets available to help in whatever way they can.”

Panelist discussed the needs of their area, including wastewater treatment plant concerns, transportation, education and communication.

As a result of a diminishing population, Uniontown has struggled with finding the funding needed to upgrade its water and wastewater treatment facility.

“In 2012, we were able to finally obtain funding to do some improvements to the water system and replace all of the water meters,” said Sentell. “This will allow the city to grow.”

Butler, who returned to Uniontown after living in Birmingham, founded CHOICE in 2009 in an effort to improve home community.

“It’s one thing to talk about where you are from and it’s another thing to invite people to where you are,” said Butler, who is hoping to form a communication network and solve transportation problems in her rural community.

“It only takes a little. Whatever you have, you can make a difference in the Black Belt,” Butler said. “Through community partnerships it will happen.”

She will open a Youth Resource Center on June 23 to improve “self-sufficiency, employability and the overall quality of life of the people” in Uniontown, she said. “I hope someone will donate a bus, van, or a car so that transportation will not be a barrier for our youth and young adults.”

After networking with panelists, the group traveled to Thomasville Civic Center in Clark County before touring the Golden Dragon Plant, which produces copper tubing. Afterward, they traveled to Camden, (Wilcox County), where they toured Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center and made purchases of locally made crafts and artwork.

Dr. Tracey S. Hodges, assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction, who just completed her first year in Tuscaloosa, was impressed with what she saw on the tour.

“With little resources the communities are doing great things. So, whatever the University can contribute I think they’ll just blossom,” Hodges said. “I do research in literacy and pretty much everyplace we’ve been has mentioned that as a problem.”

However, not all of the touring faculty are new to UA. Dr. Suzanne Horsley, associate professor of advertising and public relations, conducts service learning with her classes and attended the tour for ideas.

“I really don’t do community-based research, and I wanted to have a better concept of what that meant and what other partners are doing in the area,” said Horsley, who has been at UA for nine years. “It’s been really cool today to learn what other folks are doing, from supporting grant writing, to developing projects, to getting students to help figure out what the community’s needs are.”

She also welcomed the opportunity to meet people “from parts of campus that I wouldn’t normally get to talk to.”

After leaving Camden, the group visited the Selma Interpretive Center before traveling to the final panel presentation at the new Head Start program in Selma, operated by the Black Belt Community Foundation, a long time partner with and active in the Division of Community Affairs’ Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

“When this facility opened up this was a big wow factor, because children are our future, education is our future and we have a big workforce development issue in our city,” said Selma Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley.

Although Selma is a part of the Black Belt Region, it has more tourism opportunities than most cities in the regions. “Our biggest partner is the state tourism department,” said Barja Wilson, executive director of the Selma Redevelopment Authority, adding that the city is working to getting listed on more national registries to increase tourism. Additionally, a $2 million expansion of the Interpretive Center will break ground soon.

Nathaniel Shannon, a doctoral education psychology student, attended the tour all three days.

“In looking for research projects, my classmates and I found that the Tuscaloosa area was saturated with research,” Shannon said as a reason he decided to attend the tour. “I also knew that surrounding counties needed research and that there are areas where I can share my knowledge and people can share their knowledge with me.”

At the end of Day 3, veterans of the first two years of the New Faculty Engagement Tour we talked with, as well as many newcomers, came away exhausted but full of new ideas for future scholarly engagement and unanimous in their perception that their experience was a valuable one.

Typical of the reaction to the experience was the following statement by Dr. Greg Bell, assistant professor and senior data analyst in the Institute for Rural Health Research, College of Community Health Sciences:

“Please know how grateful I am to have been invited to attend the community engagement tour. I was able to attend the Black Belt session on Friday and found it to be both informative and inspirational. I finished the (very long!) day with ideas for a couple of grants that I will now be able to pursue with the benefit of local knowledge and some newfound UA resources. I hope this great program continues to thrive as a catalyst for difference-making programs and meaningful research.”

Council Hosts Twelfth Annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Council on Community-Based Partnerships hosted its Excellence in Community Engagement Awards on April 18 at the Bryant Conference Center with more than 200 people in attendance to share in the celebration of research and service activities of The University of Alabama and its community partners. It was the 12thannual awards ceremony.

The luncheon is a culmination of the efforts of faculty and students working to fulfill the University’s teaching, research and service mission through partnerships with community groups.

Each year this program recognizes faculty, community partners and students who work to change the lives of others through their engagement research efforts by granting seed funds, graduate fellowships, undergraduate scholarships, travel grants and a variety of other activities.

Not only does this event serve to recognize and encourage social consciousness that manifests itself through active problem-solving, this year’s event recognized a person who has been an integral part of CCBP since its inception. CCBP Director of Communication and Research Dr. Edward Mullins was this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Special Achievement in Community Engagement Award.

“Every year with this program I’ve had the opportunity to present the very first award. It’s the highest award that we give and it’s to someone who has made a significant impact on the landscape of community-engaged scholarship and through their work and through their lives have made a tremendous difference in the quality of lives for others,” said Vice President of Community Affairs Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, recalling such past recipients of the award as UA Chancellor Dr. Mack Portera, former UA President Dr. Judy Bonner, and current president of Morgan State University Dr. David Wilson,. “These are all giants and the person who will receive this award today is also a giant.”

Mullins, a retired dean of UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, according to Pruitt, has dedicated his entire life to helping others achieve their educational potential.

“Years ago,” Pruitt recalled, “when we had this hair-brained idea of trying to do this kind of work on our campus, Ed was retiring from the College of Communication, and he said to me, ‘I’ve got a sense that I know what you’re trying to do, and if you’ll find a corner somewhere in an office with a computer I’ll help you.’ And help me he has. From our research journal to our inclusion in ESC (Engagement Scholarship Consortium), to our Carnegie Classification and countless conversations about strategy and staffing, he’s always been there.”

Pruitt gave special credit to Mullins for his role, along with that of founding editor Dr. Cassandra Simon, in the development of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES), now in its second decade of publication. It is published at the University and today is considered the leading journal in engaged scholarship.

Mullins came up with the original design and format for the publication and with the editorial philosophy that writing for the journal would place a priority on a style of writing that would be accessible to non-academics. As Simon put it in her original column about the journal, “We want JCES to look different, to be different, and to make a difference.” Apart from JCES publisher Pruitt, Mullins is the only member of the original staff still working for the journal.

Three awards were made in the faculty, staff and community partner Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholars category. They were Laurie Bonnici, associate professor, School of Library and Information Studies; Justin Washington, graduate student in the Culverhouse College of Business; and Jim Page, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

A veteran community-engaged scholar, during the past year Bonnici was a visiting scholar at the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Washington used his UA-acquired entrepreneurial skills to assist with funding to start programs and to help existing programs such as the Tuscaloosa Boys and Girls Club.” Under Page, the chamber was cited for its work with supporting youth, former inmates and nonprofits.

Five people received the Excellence Award for Outstanding Engagement Effort. They were: Amanda Lightsey of Tuscaloosa’s One Place; Lauren Martin, an undergraduate student in Honors College; Melanie Acosta, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Darrin J. Griffin, assistant professor of communication studies; and Yuehan Lu, associate professor of geological sciences.

These awards come with a $2,000 stipend to help the scholars continue their work. For example, Griffin said the funds would enable his team to produce weather workshops for the deaf community preliminary to seeking larger grants in the future.

The Council awarded two seed grants. One went to Dr. Abbey Gregg, assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and the Institute for Rural Health Research in the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS), and Dr. Elwin Crawford in the state Department of Public Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services. They received $3,520 to assess community needs related to mobile integrated healthcare intervention. The second was to Dr. Robin A. McWilliam, professor of special education and multiple abilities to support his work with Alabama’s Early Intervention System, Community Service Program of West Alabama. McWilliam was awarded $4,902 for telehealth research for families with infants and toddlers.

Graduate fellowships were awarded to Temilade Ayo Aladeokin and Kim Wang, doctoral students in social work, and for a student to be named later to work with Dr. Yuehan Lu, assistant professor in geological sciences.

The council also assists students and faculty with travel to present their research at scholarly conferences around the world. This year’s $1,000 travel grant recipients were Emily Brown, master’s student in biological sciences; Dr. Abbey Gregg, CCHS; Dr. Mary Kelley, assistant professor with the Capstone College of Nursing; Ashley Stewart, anthropology doctoral student; and Calia A. Torres, psychology doctoral student.

“I went to Tucson, Arizona to attend the American Ornithological Society annual meeting. It’s a nationwide conference on bird research,” said Brown. “I got to speak to someone who has been working with red-cockaded woodpeckers for 30 years and learning from what he’s learned from his research really helped me to frame my papers and research that I am working on.”

Another highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the Zachary David Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship, named for a CCBP work-study student who died the night before he was to graduate magna cum laude with a degree in economics. This year’s recipient was Kathryn Taylor, a sophomore in communication studies who came to CCBP and immediately involved herself in its mission.

“It is the best department on campus,” said Taylor, who followed her older sister to UA from Connecticut. “I work alongside so many professional people and it’s been such a great opportunity for me to grow professionally. Working with them sets you up for a passionate future doing what you love.”

Dr Peter Hlebowitsh, dean of the College of Education and chair of the executive committee Council, brought welcome to the audience and gave a brief report on the achievements of the past year. He praised the award recipients and their partners for their “remarkable individual efforts” and “life-reaching work.”

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

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — The Council on Community-Based Partnerships held its first meeting of the academic year Wednesday, Sept. 6, in the Bryant Conference Center Birmingham Room on campus. Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, opened the meeting.

Pruitt gave an update on plans for a new collaborative space that will be located in Capital Hall. Set to open for the fall 2018 semester, the space will initially house six student groups that are focused primarily on a community engagement mission. They include groups representing the Department of Social Work, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the Honors College and the College of Community Health Sciences. Pruitt said that most of these groups have 20 students on average. He described a high-energy space with the feel of a popular coffee house. The University is investing in excess of $1 million for the necessary space renovation. Considered Phase 1, the space will bring together students across disciplines who are interested in community-engaged scholarship. With an eye toward Capital Hall becoming the community engagement center for The University of Alabama’s campus, Phase 2 will likely include shared space with some of our community partners.

In other news, Pruitt reported that we plan to recognize members of the original Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship editorial board at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference in Birmingham. He also reminded those present that if they have not yet registered for the conference, Community Affairs can help them with their registration.

Pruitt introduced ACCESS, the Alabama Centralized Community-Engaged Scholarship System, and turned things over to Matthew Hudnall and Laura Myers from UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety. They have been working with the Division of Community Affairs and its Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) since early this calendar year to develop a tool that will allow faculty, staff and students to see what is happening at UA in the area of community-engaged scholarship, which will in turn aid in building relationships across campus, in opportunities for collaboration and in shared publishing possibilities.

Hudnall and Myers gave a front-side demonstration of the project, sharing that data is input and then is able to be filtered and searched. At present, the sample data is grouped by counties. They reported that as more data and counties are added, the system will expand in such a way that those interested will be able to search projects with more filtering capabilities, including active and completed projects and other categories. Additionally, ACCESS will have video loading capabilities.

Dr. Jim McLean, executive director of the CCBP, said that once the initial data input is complete, a more thorough test will be conducted and there will likely be campus-wide submissions through a Qualtrix survey. He indicated that the site will go live after faculty have had opportunity to share input and make suggestions, and that the project is being driven through faculty, as they are involved with both students and communities.

Among the noted advantages of utilizing this technology are that ACCESS will provide an effective and efficient means by which to learn about all of these types of projects occurring at UA by gathering all of the appropriate data into one place. This will create additional opportunities for collaboration and will provide an opportunity to expand our students’ understanding of community engagement. The program can also be utilized by President Bell and others while making area-specific presentations to community groups, legislators and others. It was also pointed out that this will change the way we collect data. Rather than collecting for a report, which becomes obsolete almost as soon as it is printed, ACCESS will provide a method for ongoing data collection and reporting.

Questions about ACCESS should be directed to McLean at

CCBP executive committee updates followed.

Dr. George Daniels, chair of the Excellence in Community Engagement Recognition Committee, requested that council members begin identifying projects they believe are worthy of recognition during the Council’s April 2018 Excellence in Community Engagement Awards luncheon. He shared that it is usually February when participants are asked to submit nominations for these awards, as well as for seed grant funding.

Daniels also shared that there are two upcoming opportunities to present work. The first is the Engaged Scholarship Consortium (ESC) conference, to be held September 26-27 in Birmingham. The second is the Gulf South Summit, which will take place April 4–6, 2018, also in Birmingham. The deadline for Gulf South Summit submissions is October 27, 2017. For more information:

Tera “CeeCee” Johnson, co-chair of the Student Involvement and Support Committee and president of the student organization Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnership and Engagement (SCOPE), shared that a calendar for SCOPE meetings is available through her or on the SCOPE website at

SCOPE’s first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, and all interested individuals are invited to attend. SCOPE has several workshops planned that are both presentation-based and skills-based. Some examples of the activities SCOPE will offer throughout the semester are a PIE Workshop, a talk on West Alabama AIDS Outreach and a wide variety of other presentations. SCOPE welcomes all interested individuals at these sessions.

Those interested in speaking to SCOPE students about their work in community engagement should contact Johnson at

Ms. Lane McLelland spoke briefly about Practicing Inclusive Engagement (PIE) Workshops offered by Crossroads Community Center. She explained that the subject of inclusive engagement is a lifelong practice; not just diversity training.

Crossroads typically offers a 1.5-hour or two-hour interactive experience. Subjects included in the workshops are: inclusive activity, language, and the use of interactive activities for skill building. The workshops focus on practicing together while learning to listen to all of the voices in the room, as well as learning how to ask questions in a non-offensive manner.

Crossroads is available to conduct PIE Workshops for classes, interns, community members and organizations, churches, etc. Workshop activities can be adjusted to meet specific organizational goals.

Following McLelland’s report, McLean gave a brief overview of the Grants and Sustainability Workshop, sharing that the first round of this workshop has secured around $10 million in funding for the 10 teams that participated.

The second round of workshops began in mid-August. This second round will occur over a 10-month period that more closely matches the University calendar. The focus of the first session covered obtaining funding through federal grants and through corporate and foundation grants. These workshops were immediately followed by individual coaching sessions.

The next session is scheduled for December and will be on the topic of sustainability and fundraising. The final session in March will be on the topic of forming effective teams to write grants and also on drafting a proposal and quality circle reviews of the proposals.

There will be a final coaching session and a celebratory dinner in June 2018.

Dr. McLean is arranging a third round of workshops for next year. He has negotiated with David Bauer and there are tentative dates for the third round of workshops.

The purpose of these workshops is ultimately to make a positive difference in our communities — a difference we are already seeing from the first round of workshops.

Dr. Holly Morgan, director of Community Education at CCBP, shared an update on the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA). Morgan reported that PTLA is beginning the new academic year with several additions to the PTLA family, including the addition of two additional district partners, bringing the total number to six. Additionally, a middle school academy has been added for the current academic year.

Morgan reported that the academy is comprised of 65 percent elementary schools. The numbers for this year’s PTLA are as follows, and represent impressive growth over the previous year. For 2017–2018, there are 32 elementary participants (up from 24 elementary participants last year) and 17 middle schools. That is a grand total of 49 schools this year that will include 227 academy participants.

The six academies included in the program are: Pre-K Academy, Elementary Parent Academy, Hispanic Parent Academy, Teacher Academy, Middle School Parent Academy and Middle School Teacher Academy. The PTLA hopes to grow in the future at the middle school level. Teams are working together on a collaborative model project.

Additionally, PTLA has an upcoming ESC presentation this year.

Dr. Beverly Hawk, director of Global and Community Engagement at CCBP, gave brief updates on Global Café and the Fulbright Scholarship program.

Global Café will begin Sept. 19 with international faculty. Additionally, anyone who is interested is welcome to send his or her students to participate. All are welcome to serve as a conversation partner or to seek one. This includes graduate students and community members. Global Café also welcomes people who are considering traveling internationally and wish to brush up on their foreign-language conversations skills. Last year, conversation partners completed 1,300 hours of one-on-one English language practice conversation, doubling the number of hours from the previous year.

Speaking on Fulbright, Hawk reported that The University of Alabama has 14 Fulbright participants around the globe this year. She encouraged those present to send prospective Fulbright Scholars to her as soon as possible so that she may help them get the application process started. She also reported that many countries participating in Fulbright don’t require fluency in a local language to obtain a certificate to teach English, and shared that Fulbright participants receive a stipend, an airline ticket and a medical insurance policy through the program, and that their student loans are frozen during their participation.

Engagement scholarship in action reports followed.

Dr. K. Andrew Richards, assistant professor of sport pedagogy, and UA student Ms. Victoria Nichole Ivy shared information with the group about the Alabama TOPS program, which focuses on Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) through an after-school physical activity program.

The program offers pre-service teachers the opportunity to teach in an alternative environment, to combine a focus on physical activity with responsibility, to gain 60 hours of teaching experience over two semesters and to develop long-term relationships with students. It provides them with opportunities to understand the realities of teaching grounded in real-world experience, to get to know students as people first and foremost and to overcome the struggles that come with the challenge of developing culturally appropriate lessons. Additionally, this experience helps pre-service teachers learn to maintain patience and teaches them how to formally collect data that will indicate children’s needs, as well as use that data to adjust the curriculum to address those needs. Another observation was that these pre-service teachers’ social justice values increased over the year.

Program participants spend three days each week at the Holt after-school program, which utilizes games and activities to facilitate enjoyment and engagement and use that as a way to open the door to have conversations with after-school program participants about respect, self-control, and a variety of life skills that children need to be able to learn, as well as teach them how to transfer the lessons they have learned beyond the gym. Two physical education (PETE) courses are integrated into the curriculum. The program includes relational time, awareness talk, lesson focus, group meeting, and finally, reflection time. Through this program, the Holt children build positive personal relationships with mentors and each other, gain an understanding of the TPSR goals and their meaning and improve movement concepts and physical activity skills. Following participation, the Holt children indicated a strong appreciation of University time and presence.

Ms. Amanda Lightsey, chair of the Community Partnership Support committee and executive director at Tuscaloosa’s One Place, shared that she is working with other non-profits around Tuscaloosa to learn how to better engage community partners and then get them to engage with The University of Alabama. She has learned that many community partners do not know how to pursue opportunities with UA, and she and those with whom she is working have created a list of six questions geared toward helping them figure out how to move forward to solve that dilemma. Questions include:

  • Do you partner or have you currently partnered with local colleges and universities?
  • Would you know how to find a research partner, faculty member, or department with a local college or university if you had a research project or idea?
  • Would you be willing to participate in a research project?
  • Have you partnered on a research project before?
  • What are the reasons that you would be willing to partner with a college or university?
  • What are the reasons that you would not be willing to partner with a college or a university?

Lightsey discussed how Tuscaloosa’s One Place partnered with different universities throughout the state and shared that the organization works with family issues and impacts about 8,500 people, or 2,500 families, per year. She indicated that one of the things that is most impactful for Tuscaloosa’s One Place is having UA faculty members on their board. These members provide oversight to the agency, expertise into programming, research grants and help with fundraising.

Lightsey also reported that there are more than 2,000 student volunteers at Tuscaloosa’s One Place every year. She said that UA interns are always quality interns and they provide invaluable help to her and her team. Additionally, she reported that Tuscaloosa’s One Place can also count those internship hours as match on their grants.

She also indicated that UA does a lot of staff development such as the Doing What Matters conference. She has found that once people get involved in one way, they tend to stay on and begin to get involved in other ways, as well.

Announcements followed. The next Council meeting will take place Wednesday, October 25, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center, Rast B. Spring semester meetings are scheduled for Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Bryant Conference Center, Rast B, and Thursday, March 22, 2018, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at a location to be determined. The date for the 12th Annual CCBP Awards program is Wednesday April 18, 2018. The time and location are to be announced.

Meeting was adjourned at 1:08 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.

Research Team Uses Council Funding to Begin Hobson City History Exploration

By Yiben Liu
CCPB Graduate Assistant

Hobson City is using a methodology known as photovoice to explore the town’s historical preservation while allowing its youth to become engaged in the town’s history and future. Hobson City is a predominantly African-American town of about 800 residents on the outskirts of Anniston in Calhoun County.

According to principal investigator Dr. Michelle Robinson, photovoice is a qualitative participatory action research methodology that combines photography with grassroots social action to facilitate community change and identify and raise awareness of community strengths. The vehicle for this methodology is photography, giving credence to the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Robinson, who was an assistant professor of English at The University of Alabama at the time, received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to support the project through spring 2019. She got the idea for the research from Hobson City mayor Alberta McCrory in 2015 when the two met at an event in Florida honoring author Zora Neale Hurston.

Mayor McCrory identified multiple areas for research, of which the team selected three: reconstructing community history, achieving National Registry certification for Hobson City structures and sites and stimulating youth engagement. On two occasions fires destroyed town records, making reconstructing the town’s history difficult.

Beginning in March 2016, Robinson and her team recruited five teen girls involved in local community activities. Three UA graduate students trained the teens and taught them some basic photographic skills such as lighting and angle. Participants used iPads to capture their own experiences within the community and what they learned about the town. They were asked to focus on questions such as “What image comes to mind when you think of Hobson City?”, “What in Hobson City would you like to know more about?”, and “What would you like to see changed in Hobson City?”

“We’re hoping these young ladies come to see themselves as activists or advocates for change in their own communities,” said Robinson.

In fall 2016, an exhibit titled “#blackgirls4change: The Hobson City 9, Cultivating Community and Creating Change” was displayed at the Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa from August 24–September 30. The 29 photographs were taken by the teens, three graduate students and Robinson. A statement articulating the idea of each picture was also on display, and a reception was held at the gallery on September 2.

Following the exhibit, the Robinson team was writing two research papers for peer-reviewed journals, and a second photo session, using 35-millimeter cameras and involving a more diverse group of students, was being planned.

“I like the fact that we are engaged in something that is meaningful beyond the ivory tower of academy. That is actually functioning in a community,” said Dr. Robinson. “That means everything to me.”

Robinson nominated Mayor McCrory for the Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort award for 2016, and the funds from the award, given by the Council on Community-Based Partnerships at its annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards luncheon that year, were used to stage the first photo exhibit.

“We would not have been able to get to that culminating experience without the support from CCBP (the Council),” said Robinson.

Robinson also expressed appreciation for the David G. Bauer Grant Acquisition and Sustainability Program in which she and Mayor McCrory participated. She credited her success in gaining the NEA funding to what she learned in this program. “It was pivotal to this process,” she said. The program was sponsored by the UA Division of Community Affairs through its Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

The Council on Community-Based Partnerships 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 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.