Category: Events

Center for Community-Based Partnerships Honors Engagement Scholars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Ed Mullins, 205-246-3334    

In a playful comment that drew enthusiastic applause and could signal future directions in academic research, a leading scholar told community partners and University of Alabama faculty, staff and students here Friday, May 1, 2009, that "publish or perish" may one day give way to "partner or perish."     

Speaking to a crowd of about 200 at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships' third annual engagement scholarship awards luncheon, Dr. Hiram E. Fitzgerald of Michigan State University outlined forces pushing universities toward more active engagement with society.     

This more active relationship, Fitzgerald said, "has generated a fresh vision about the democratic purposes of higher education and how universities contribute to the public good."     

Quoting Alfred North Whitehead that " "¦ shielding a university from "¦ the world "¦ is the best way to chill interest and defeat progress" and that "unapplied knowledge is shorn of its meaning," Fitzgerald said the time has come for higher education to form partnerships that directly address society's most critical problems.     

Although it could be said that the associate provost for University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University was preaching to the choir, the Hotel Capstone crowd gave him sustained applause when he concluded with the "partner or perish" observation, which he attributed to Dr. Barbara A. Holland, director of the National Service Learning Clearinghouse.      

Following Fitzgerald's speech, Vice President of Community Affairs Samory T. Pruitt, who is also executive director of CCBP, began the awards ceremony by calling Fitzgerald back to the podium to honor him with the "Distinguished Special Achievement in Engagement" award. In doing so he recognized Fitzgerald's leadership as president of the National Outreach Scholarship Conference and leadership in a dozen other groups as well as for his hundreds of research papers, articles and books, and millions of dollars in research projects, much of it on behalf of infants and children.     

 Assistant Provost Janet Griffith presided over the awards ceremony, which recognized the best from campus and community for 2009. She was assisted in distributing the awards by Dr. Judy Bonner, executive vice president and provost, and Dr. Joe Benson, vice president for research.     

Here are the winners:     

CATEORY: Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort   

The Creative Writing Club (CWC) was formed in 2004 by Prof. Behn as an outreach project of the M.F.A. in the Creative Writing Program. MFA students serve as mentors to Tuscaloosa area high school students and celebrate their creative writing achievements via public readings and publications. CWC demonstrates to the community the riches that result when top-notch graduate student writers interact with motivated young writers. Thanks to external grant funding, the program has grown to include 15 high schools, a summer Creative Writing Camp and a new course to train Alabama high school teachers in teaching creative writing. A high school textbook is being developed to capture the original creative writing lessons of Prof. Behn and her students.      

This partnership between the School of Library and Information Studies and the Tuscaloosa Public Library provides 21st century information technology literacy training to senior citizens. Funded by a seed grant from the CCBP, the project allowed students to deliver information literacy skills to a population outside the library in partnership with community agencies. The program was evaluated at two levels: goals-based evaluation and instructional-based evaluation and is summarized in the paper, "Deconstructing Walls: Educating Students for Civic Librarianship."      

A team-based wellness program emphasizing five health challenges:
            "¢Eat five fruits and vegetables
            "¢Drink five glasses of water
            "¢Think five positive thoughts
            "¢Move for 30 minutes five days a week.
            "¢Lose five pounds per person
Launched by UA's Office of Health Promotion and Wellness in 2007 and repeated annually, the program originated as a campus-wide effort for the University community but expanded in 2007 to include community partners DCH Regional Medical Center, the City of Tuscaloosa, Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa Inc., and the American Heart Association. The program is being adapted for use at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. The partnership brought together more than 850 UA employees and some 1,000 Tuscaloosa community participants and continues to be shared with potential community partners via presentations at national conferences.     

Dr. Parker led a UA interdisciplinary team in partnership with the Tuscaloosa Senior Ministry Association to foster collaboration among 10 community faith-based organizations to address gaps in services to senior adults and to promote greater use of existing local, state and national resources. Students worked with the group in interviewing local service agencies and local pastors/lay leaders and developed directories of resources related to aging. They completed a phone survey of 400 local church members regarding the services. Several presentations and publications have resulted from the work. Future plans include more interdisciplinary work with similar groups to develop caregiver support programs, life review programs and home visitation/transportation programs. 

CATEGORY: Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort  

Faculty leaders: Drs. Pauline Johnson and Philip Johnson
Students: Phillip Moncayo, Malcolm Abrams, David Bearden. Joseph Blackwell, Keith Blackwood, Lauren Blue, Conor Brown, David Dozier, James Elder, Bryan Fair, Robyn Gilstrap, Joseph Godwin, Josh Hamilton, Brian Hannan, Kristopher Harbin, Jennifer Hetherington, Jake Hinson, Gurunath Kampli, Agata Kargol, Ryan Maley, Nick McEwen, James McGee, Jason McGee, Rebecca Midkiff, Caleb Miles, Jameson Prater, Rakesh Salunke, Hunter Spurgeon, Andrew Steinmetz, Leslie Threlkeld,  and Ben Welch    

In collaboration with Kinterbish Middle School and residents of Cuba, Alabama, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) students and their partners planned, procured materials, designed and constructed a community baseball field. The partners assessed need, developed a plan taking into account health, safety and liability, documented their work, and implemented the plan. As with all EWB projects, the project effectiveness will be assessed and its application to other communities evaluated.   

Faculty leader: Dr. Bruce Berger
Students: Mary Katherine Alsip, Mellie Bassett, Allison Bridges, Alex Cole, Sarah Beth Combs, Natalie Crawford, Laura Doty, Emily Eddleman, Ali Frederick, Jami Gates, Elizabeth Hard, Nathan Horne, Kara Beth Lawrence, Maeci Martin, Allison Milwood, Tyler Nance, Partick O'Rourke, Carla Pennington, Shanshan Qian, Sara Beth Ritchey, Adam Rogers, Meghan Stringer.     

Responding to the needs presented by community partners including the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Literacy Council of West Alabama and Tuscaloosa Rotary Club, a 22-person student team developed a campaign to increase awareness of the literacy problems in the area and to motivate students to take action to solve the problems. They conducted research on the issue and began to shape messages and define tactics that would be used. The result was the Literacy Is The Edge campaign that employed communication channels ranging from TV public service announcements by UA football players to Facebook groups in support of the effort. The work saw the immediate creation of a new student group, LITE, and the training of 77 student volunteers as active reading tutors in the community. The LITE student group is charged with sustaining and growing these efforts working with community partners now and in the future. 

Ms. Peterson led the agricultural medicine research project into a collaboration involving both white and African American farmers to address mutual health issues. She coordinated information gathering from multiple focus groups around the state endorsed by the larger African American farm community. The Agromedicine Program is an integral component of the UA Rural Health Leaders Pipeline to help "grow our own" rural Alabama doctors. This work continues and has been greatly enhanced by this project that resulted in a multi-county, diverse policy committee of farmers that guides the efforts to address agricultural health issues in Alabama, including the Black Belt.  

Under the leadership of UA sophomore and Creative Campus Intern Michael Wynn, the Creative Campus Assembly addressed the need within the Tuscaloosa and University communities to recognize the abilities of artists affected by chronic illness or disabilities and to contribute to social services and support for persons with disabilities. Through a partnership with the Office of Disability Services and Very Special Artists (VSA) Arts of Alabama, the group produced its first signature event of a planned series, The Unbound Art Show. This first event is a launching point for a sustained, developing relationship with VSA Arts of Alabama for the future. The March exhibit opening event hosted about 100 students and community members statewide. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith founded VSA Arts in 1974 as an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

CATEGORY: Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort   

AERN is a community-UA partnership that provides the resources and impetus for residents in rural counties to increase homegrown prosperity through entrepreneurship. The people of Marion in Perry County treasure their lifestyle and heritage and want to see it preserved and enhanced. The Perry County Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of John Martin, revitalized its partnership with the University focusing on two main projects: Attracting arts and business to downtown through a revitalization effort that has seen five new businesses in Marion occupying renovated space downtown. Mr. Martin and the University are also cooperating on a second project to restore the Perry County airstrip. UA supplies computers, software, Internet access and research assistance for Perry County entrepreneurs who make the improvements happen.   

The Tuscaloosa Housing Authority provided leadership in staging Culture Fest 2008, one of the most successful and best attended multicultural events in Tuscaloosa history. McKenzie Court, which had been rebuilt and landscaped with public housing funds, was the host for the event that featured music and festival foods from many cultures. Other partners included UA's Crossroads Community Center, the Tuscaloosa Police, Fire and Transportation departments, and Shelton State Community College.     

Distinguished Achievement Award "” Campus    

A renowned national leader in engagement scholarship, Dean Dahl has certainly gone "above and beyond" in her efforts to enhance The University of Alabama's role in the critical area of engagement scholarship and outreach that is truly making a measurable, sustainable difference in the communities with whom we collaborate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded The University of Alabama its Community Engagement Classification in January 2009. Dean Dahl was co-chair of the team that spent months preparing UA's application.     

Distinguished Achievement Award "” Community   

The "spiritual leader" and chief advocate for the movement to improve literacy in our community through creation of the Literacy Council of West Alabama whose mission is to champion the power of literacy to improve the lives of children, adults, families and communities in West Alabama, Mr. Aycock has engaged the business, education and government communities in the literacy challenge and energized our leaders to embrace a shared vision of a functionally literate citizenship. 

 A community-based partnership pioneer, Ms. Loftin provided the energy and ingenuity to develop partnerships with her hometown of Dothan and The University of Alabama establishing a model that would be duplicated in many communities throughout the state. She partnered with her alma mater to advocate for children and families through such statewide programs as BabyTalk and PAL, serving parents and children throughout the state. She is a founder of the grassroots movement to develop Family Resource Centers throughout Alabama and statewide programs in support of healthy marriages in partnership with Auburn University. An advocate for prevention of child abuse and neglect, Ms. Loftin has led the formation of many community partnerships, some of them decades ago, that continue to flourish today.   

Distinguished Special Achievement In Engagement   

To thousands of engagement scholars, "Hi" Fitzgerald is "Mr. Engagement Scholarship" in the United States. His tireless leadership of the National Outreach Scholarship Conference, his efforts to improve the mental health of families and children, and his hundreds of other professional, personal and volunteer achievements put him in the company of engagement leaders you can count on one hand. Fitzgerald is the author or co-author of more than 50 books, more than 500 peer-reviewed research articles, papers and abstracts, and the recipient of research grants totaling more than $10 million. There are few more versatile or productive academic leaders than this year's recipient of the Distinguished Special Achievement in Engagement than Dr. Hiram E. Fitzgerald of Michigan State University.  

 

PLA to Graduate Second Class on May 5, 2009

By Sydney Holtzclaw, Student Intern, CCBP

The Tuscaloosa Parent Leadership Academy (PLA), a partnership between the University of Alabama and city and county schools, will graduate its second class at a ceremony and dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m., May 5, 2009, in the Bryant Conference Center's Rast Room.

Featured speaker will be Dr. Tommy Bice, deputy state superintendent of education for instructional services. He is responsible for curriculum and instruction, assessment and accountability, federal programs, the Alabama Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, and several other areas.

PLA is a two-semester program that strengthens relationships among family, schools and community. Participants meet monthly. Led by University of Alabama faculty and other educators, they develop leadership skills, improve their ability to support their child at home and at school, and establish better relations among family, school and board of education.

"Parents who graduate from PLA increase their knowledge of the entire education process, from classroom instruction and discipline to outside learning. They become contributing partners with local schools and school boards in their children's learning," said Christopher H. Spencer, associate director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, who was chief organizer for this year's PLA.
                                               
"Many of the graduates are already active in their schools and we expect others to join them because of their new experience," said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs. "Through this academy, which approximates graduate-level instruction for lay persons, they are acquiring competencies and learning strategies that will make them better parents and a valued resource in helping their children and the schools they attend meet today's challenges."

This year's class was drawn from 10 elementary schools in the city system and 10 in the county system.

The graduation ceremony is the culmination of the 2008-09 academic year's program. Special speaker Bice, who joined the Alabama Department of Education in June 2008, is expected to stress the need for progress in math and science, as well as other school reforms.

Faculty in UA's Colleges of Education and Human Environmental Sciences, and various community organizations play key roles in the PLA. Dr. Joyce Levey is superintendent of city schools, and Dr. Frank Costanza is superintendent of county schools.

For more information contact Christopher H. Spencer at 205-348-7374 or christopher.spencer@ua.edu.

PLA 2008-2009 Graduates and Their Schools

FROM CITY SCHOOLS
Rajuan Sherman, Alberta Elementary
Marilou Baker and Aaron Kuntz, Arcadia Elementary
Audrey Wilson Cottrell and Jackie Lanier, Central Primary
Sharon Long, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elementary
Sharon Archibald and Emma Williams, Northington Elementary
Camille Page and Monique Petty, Oakdale Primary
Cindy Bramble and Jackie Kuehn, Rock Quarry Elementary
Tanika Bizzell and Tiffany Jenkins-Green, Skyland Elementary
Brenda Lewis and Sharon Smothers, University Place Elementary
Mary Hanks and Sabrina Sentell, Woodland Forrest Elementary

FROM COUNTY SCHOOLS
Rhonda Goins and Tanya Stark, Buhl Elementary
Allison Duncan and LaDonna Youngblood, Cottondale Elementary
Maribelle Magana, Crestmont Elementary
Phillip Booth and Errica Walker, Faucett-Vestavia Elementary
Betsy Williamson and Brandi Wolfe, Flatwoods Elementary
Nikki Anthony and Jamie Wright, Holt Elementary
Kelly Hayes, Lake View Elementary
Georgette Miniard and Tracie Thomas, Matthews Elementary
Shannon James and Paula Sisk, Maxwell Elementary
Angela Ashcraft and Angela Campo, Taylorville Elementary

CCBP Awards Luncheon Scheduled for May 1, 2009

CCBP Awards Luncheon Invitation

 

The Council on Community-Based Partnerships invites University and community partners, as well as potential partners, to its Third Annual Awards Luncheon at noon, Friday, May 1, 2009, in the Hotel Capstone on the campus. The luncheon, which will be held in the Ballroom, will recognize outstanding community engagement projects of faculty, staff, students and community partners.

Before the luncheon, award winners and seed-funding recipients will present poster displays of their work in the hallway outside the Ballroom.

A foremost engagement scholar and theorist, Dr. Hiram E. Fitzgerald, will be the keynote speaker. Fitzgerald is vice president of Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University and president of the National Outreach Scholarship Partnership (NOSC), of which The University of Alabama is one of nine members and the only college or university in Alabama that is part of the group.

"Join us as we celebrate the best work in the dynamic area of engagement scholarship," said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs. Award recipients will receive additional grant funds to continue work in the area for which they are being honored.

If you plan to attend the luncheon, e-mail Nancy Bohannon, nancy.bohannon@ua.edu, by noon Wednesday, April 29, to reserve a seat. There is no charge.

Chancellor Portera to Speak at CCBP Awards Luncheon on May 2, 2008

May 2, 2008

Release on Receipt
Contact: Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, 205-348-8375, samory.pruitt@ua.edu

TUSCALOOOSA "” Chancellor Malcolm Portera will be the keynote speaker at the second annual awards luncheon of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships at noon at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel Ballroom on the campus on May 2, 2008.

Awards will recognize students, faculty, and community partners and distinguished special achievement in campus and community engagement. A call for nominations went out in March. Winners will be announced at the luncheon, which will also highlight major engagement
achievements over the past year.

"We are especially pleased that Dr. Portera will be our speaker as we honor excellence in engagement," said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, UA vice president for Community Affairs. "Dr. Portera is a pioneer of campus/community collaboration in the Southeast."

Criteria for the winning projects include community need, academic objectives, documentation of actions to achieve and measure success, and evidence of sustained collaboration.

Among last year's awards, several of which were later featured at a national conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were a student newspaper in West End Tuscaloosa, an after-school dance program, a program to broaden career perspectives, a community garden project, a school photo-documentation project, a children's healthcare project, and a city schools pre-K program.

Assistant Provost Janet Griffith chairs the awards committee. "Projects that extend the classroom, maximize scholarly output, and develop collaboration and capacity within communities "“ rather than just providing one-time services "“ will be recognized and receive small grants that will help achieve ongoing results," Griffith said.

Also at the luncheon, speakers will outline major benchmarks in campus/community engagement, including launching a new research journal and plans to seek Carnegie Engagement classification for the campus.

Dr. Portera is no stranger to campus/community collaboration. His involvement with community partners in industrial development helped bring $5 billion in capital investment to the Southeast. As chief executive officer of The University of Alabama System, the state's largest higher education enterprise, he oversees an enterprise of more than 49,000 students, 25,000 employees, and an economic impact surpassing $5 billion.

Dr. Portera received bachelor's and master's degrees from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in political science from The University of Alabama.

Prior to his current tenure as Chancellor of the UA System, Dr. Portera was the 16th president of Mississippi State University. His administrative career began in the 1970s when he worked in The University of Alabama's offices of academic affairs and research and was executive assistant to two presidents before becoming a vice president.

Dr. Portera has been instrumental in the creation of several research and instructional programs, including the Materials in Information Technology Program, which achieved National Science Foundation recognition as an engineering and materials research center.

In 2003 he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, comprised of 100 living Alabamians elected on the basis of service to the state.

Chancellor Portera and his wife Olivia are natives of West Point, Miss. They have two sons and two grandsons.

Community Affairs will send out invitations to the event this week. Members of the public who would like to attend should send an e-mail to bohannon@ua.edu or call 205-348-8376.

The Office of Community Affairs established the Center for Community-Based Partnerships in 2006 to coordinate and energize campus and community programs that integrate teaching, research and outreach.

Minority Business Forum III Scheduled for May 6 at Bryant-Denny Stadium

May 6th, 2008

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher H. Spencer,
205-348-7374, chspencer01@ua.edu

By Jessie Gable
CCBP Intern

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. "” To encourage more partnerships with minority contractors and vendors, the UA's Community Affairs and Financial Affairs offices have teamed up to host the third Minority Business Forum on Tuesday, May 6, at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Like the first two, held in March and October 2007, this forum is themed "How to do Business with The University of Alabama." The forums offer minority owned and operated businesses lessons and tactics for getting more general business, construction and vending contracts, managing risks, and improving networking and communication with the University.

"Response has been great and we expect another large crowd," said forum coordinator Christopher H. Spencer, associate director for Community Development at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

Dr. Lynda Gilbert, vice president for Financial Affairs, and Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, will welcome attendees and introduce the program.

There will be two panel discussions, one on finance led by local bankers, and the main event, "How to Do Business with the University," featuring UA officials who work directly with contractors. They are Tim Leopard, assistant vice president for Construction; Trip Farmer, director of Contract Administration; Judy Voss, associate director for Purchasing; Vicki Santani, contract administrator; Lane Cox, associate purchasing manager for Facilities; Jeanine Brooks, Action Card director; and Robin Coleman, Action Card specialist.

Among the main speakers will be Bob Pugh, UA director of Risk Management, and Teresa Wilson, public information officer with the Small Business Administration district office in Birmingham.

At the luncheon local minority businessmen will talk about their experiences doing business with the University. They are Robert Thomas of Thomas Cleaners; Mehul Vashi of Quiznos; and Willie Darden of Darden Contracting and Remodeling.

"Attendees will learn, among other things, how to work through red tape that at first can be discouraging," Spencer said, "but with experience can be worked through resulting in success for the local business man or woman."
But the value of the forums goes beyond the technical information attendees will receive, Spencer said. "From evaluations of the first two forums, we learned that networking with others in your same situation and breakout sessions about specific types of contracts were also well received."

"It's not difficult to do business with the University, but you do need to understand the process," said Spencer, "and that's why we are offering these forums."

Since the two forums, Spencer said, minority businesses have won bids to build sidewalks and other structures related to new dormitory construction and other goods and services.

Maurice Muhammad of Warren Asphalt Construction of Tuscaloosa attended the early forums and said that dealing with large institutions can be overwhelming to small-scale contractors. After attending the forum, Muhammad said he had a better understanding of how to place winning bids. A byproduct of the forum, he said, is that he picked up some tips for marketing his business better.

"These forums began turning the theoretical ideas into the actual process," Muhammad said. Warren Asphalt Construction has won several bids with the University related to parking lots, parking decks, hauling and trucking services.

Charles Hicks of Omega Co. in Birmingham has long been associated with the University of Alabama. Before joining Omega he worked as a recruiter for the College of Engineering. Hicks made contacts at the forums and established a relationship with Tim Leopard, assistant vice president for construction.

Churches hold "roots" celebration with African, African-American neighbors

March 6th, 2008

By NiCarla Friend 
Contributing Writer 
Release on Receipt

Contact: Ed Mullins, Center for Community-Based Partnerships, 205-246-3334, lemullins13@aol.com

Holy Spirit and St. Francis Catholic churches joined forces for their 16th Annual African and African American Heritage Celebration during African American History Month.

The event, which dates to 1993, was held at St. Francis Catholic Church on the UA campus. Its purpose is to give members of the Tuscaloosa community who are natives of present-day African countries and Tuscaloosa area African Americans the opportunity to join with the members of the two churches and others by worshipping and dining together.

The celebration was organized to improve race relationships on the UA campus. Now the event brings different ethnic groups together for an event that starts with a performance by various choirs followed by a Mass and concludes with a feast where African and African American dishes are served.

Native Nigerians Dr. Yomi Wilcox and her husband, Tony Ojo, prepared all of the African dishes. From the first celebration, participants have used ingredients originally brought to the Americas by slaves.  

The preparation of one of the dishes, moi-moi, begins with removal, one at a time, of the eyes of black-eyed peas. The peas are then blended with corned beef and onions. Curry, cayenne and other seasonings are added. The mixture is then poured into packets of aluminum foil and cooked for approximately five hours. Another dish, obe ila, is a spinach and okra soup that is a descendent of gumbo, which comes from gombo, an African term for okra. obe iresi, jollof rice and adiye (stewed chicken) also appeared on the menu.  

This year's event, on Feb. 23, attracted over 160 people. "The [dinner] is an educational time for the community. A lot of people don't realize that a lot of the dishes we eat here originated from Africa," says Mary Snow, a member of Holy Spirit Church who plays an instrumental part in the celebration. She has helped cook at each celebration since the first one.  

Dr. Linda Dover, retired English professor from Stillman College and co-organizer, said the dinner would not be possible without the strong support from the two pastors, Reverends Gerald Holloway (St. Francis) and Jerry Deasey (Holy Spirit) and their respective church communities. "The food, the fellowship, and the people create the warm ambiance," she said.  

Dr. Estelle Ryan Clavelli, associate director of Community Education at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships at the University, found an opportunity at the dinner to announce the possibility of Tuscaloosa forming a sister-city relationship with Sunyani, Ghana, in West Africa. This would be the third sister city of Tuscaloosa. The others are Narashino in Japan and Schorndorf in Germany.  

By becoming a sister-city, Sunyani would begin formal exchanges with Tuscaloosa and continue to receive University of Alabama students who travel there during the summer months.  

The Tuscaloosa's Sister City Commission would welcome official visitors from Sunyani at a later date to determine future opportunities. Additional information about the exchange is available from Lisa Keyes, director of the Sister City Commission. She may be reached at 205-469-2183.

"Black Belt 100 Lenses" Reception Scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17

January 17th, 2008

TUSCALOOSA "” Highway signs and vintage buildings, crop rows and fishing holes are some of the images Sumter County students have captured as part of a Black Belt documentary project.

On Thursday from 4-6 p.m., the fruits of "Black Belt 100 Lenses," a joint project of the Black Belt Community Foundation and The University of Alabama will be on display during a reception at the University of West Alabama's Webb Hall Gallery in Livingston. The public is invited.

The project brings together 7th through 11th grade students to document their communities in still photographs. The Sumter County pilot will be carried to other Black Belt counties, including Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Wilcox.

"To celebrate the conclusion of the Sumter County pilot project, an exhibition will be on display at Webb Hall Galley at the University of West Alabama Jan. 17 until March 1," said Christopher H. Spencer, UA adviser for the project.

"Anyone from Alabama "” especially from small towns or who just want to see how photography can have an impact on people and communities "” will want to visit the exhibition", said Whitney Greene, Black Belt Arts Initiative coordinator and co-director of the project. "It's amazing how well these young people have captured the culture and challenges of the Black Belt through their photography."

In addition to the students' work, local artist Linda Munoz will have several works on exhibit. Munoz was commissioned to create artwork using the students' photographs as inspiration. Pieces on display include a quilt and a glass mosaic that represents many of the students' themes.

Elliot Knight, a graduate student in American Studies from Opelika, who is also an intern at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, has been one of the principal instructors for the project that uses photovoice, a research technique that blends grassroots photography with social science to record and reflect community strengths and problems.

"I have enjoyed working with the students," Knight said. "Their dialogue surrounding the photographs has been as powerful as the photographs themselves."

Contact:   Christopher H Spencer, Associate Director, Community Development at 205-348-7374 or chspencer01@ua.edu.

UA’s CCBP Awards Program to Honor Campus and Community Partners

April 23, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. "“ The University of Alabama Center for Community-Based Partnerships will hold its first honors luncheon Friday, April 27, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Tuscaloosa, beginning at noon.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Arthur N. Dunning, vice president for public service and outreach and associate provost at the University of Georgia. Dunning oversees one of the nation's most comprehensive outreach operations. The former UA faculty member has been a key adviser to Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, UA's vice president for community affairs and executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, known as CCBP.

In his remarks, Dunning will trace the development of UGA's outreach efforts and explain how they have changed both campus culture and the state. In his seven years at the University of Georgia, Dunning has mobilized human and fiscal resources to address the challenges of connecting his university to needs of citizens and communities.

Awards will be made in four categories: distinguished service, outstanding student-initiated project, outstanding faculty/staff-initiated project and outstanding community-partner initiated project.

"These outstanding projects and individuals connect the outreach mission of the University to its teaching and research functions while serving the needs of our local community, the state of Alabama, the region, the nation and the world," Pruitt said. "They operationalize our motto: Engaging Communities and Changing Lives."

Winning projects will receive funds to be used in future projects or to extend current ones, Pruitt said. All of the nominated projects involve faculty, staff, students, curriculum and formal research, Pruitt said.

Following the luncheon, attendees are invited to attend an open house at the Cannon House, 824 4th Avenue, the home of CCBP, next door to the Sheraton. Special guests of the open house will be students participating in P.A.S.S. (Preparing Alabama Students for Success), a School of Social Work project.

CCBP began in 2006 as an initiative of the Office of Community Affairs. It mobilizes the resources of the University to address problems identified jointly by community and academic partners. Its purpose is to engage communities, expand the classroom and laboratory, and promote better education, health, economic and cultural opportunities for all Alabamians.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is in the midst of a planned, steady enrollment growth with a goal of reaching 28,000 students by 2010. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

Open-Air Market on Sept. 13th, 2007

Sept. 13, 2007

Bring Home-Grown Produce, Blues to Ferguson Plaza

Contact: Christopher H. Spencer, 205-348-7374, chspencer01@ua.edu

Homegrown Alabama will bring an open-air market to the Ferguson Center Plaza on The University of Alabama campus Thursday, September 13, from 3-6:30 p.m.

This is the second on-campus farmers market hosted by Homegrown Alabama in collaboration with the Ferguson Center, the Office of Community Affairs, and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority.

Homegrown Alabama is a student-led group that seeks to educate students about the value of local produce, as well as to foster partnerships between local farmers and the University.

"The market is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with area farmers and support our local economy," said Christopher H. Spencer, associate director for community development in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, which helped organize the event.

Fourteen farmers and vendors from the Tuscaloosa-Northport area, the Black Belt and elsewhere around the state will participate. Produce for sale includes sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, melons, peaches and okra. Jars of home-prepared honey, jams and jellies, fresh pastries and eggs and plants will also be for sale. 

Alabama Blues Project, featuring Debbie Bond and Radiator Rick, will perform during the market. Homegrown Alabama, with help from the Alabama Farmers Market Authority, will sell "Buy Fresh/ Buy Local" t-shirts and tote bags. Bama Dining will provide a drink kiosk.

Partners for the event include the UA Office of Community Affairs, Ferguson Center, Bama Dining and the Alabama Farmers Market Authority.

Homegrown Alabama, formed in 2005, has about a dozen student members from varying academic majors and colleges. Homegrown's advisers are Carl Bacon, director of the Ferguson Center, and Mildred P. Switzer, instructor of human nutrition and hospitality management.

Key student planners are Keri Coumanis, Molly McNutt, Clay Morrison, Sierra Perkins and Andrea Mabry. The students are either members of Homegrown Alabama or currently enrolled in Nutrition and Hospitality Management 490, an independent study course in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

"These students have worked diligently throughout the summer and the first few weeks of fall semester to ensure that a fall farmers market would take place," Spencer said.

To learn more about Homegrown Alabama's mission, or to become a member, visit www.homegrownalabama.org.