Category: News

UA’s CCBP and Barnes YMCA Celebrate Another Successful Swim to the Top Partnership

By Yiben Liu
CCBP Graduate Assistant

About 150 children, parents, teachers and local officials celebrated the success of the four-week Swim to the Top swimming program at a showcase event Thursday, June 29 at the Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA. The program is led by Dr. Holly Morgan, Community Education director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), an initiative of the Division of Community Affairs.

Greeted by white and blue balloons symbolizing the sea and beach, these summer campers ages 4-14 were recognized for their achievements. They also enjoyed a dinner of sandwiches, fried chicken, fruit, rolls sponsored by Chick-fil-a Northport and a cake emblazoned with the program’s sea-turtle logo made by CCBP staff.

In its fourth year, Swim to the Top is a swim training and survival program designed to save lives of at-risk children and youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 3,500 drownings annually from 2005 to 2014. About one in five were children aged 14 and younger. This year, Swim to the Top program was a collaborative effort among Center for Community Based Partnership (CCBP), Benjamin Barnes Branch of the YMCA, Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority (PARA) and UA’s department of kinesiology.

The swim-safety program received prominent local television coverage during this year’s sessions, as well as a follow-up interview of its leaders by Fox 6 News after a near drowning over the pre-July 4th weekend in Blount County. Fortunately, the child survived, but the incident served to emphasize the importance of partnerships like that of the University and Barnes YMCA.

In addition to swimming lessons, participants were taught leadership development, nutrition education, fitness training and academic enrichment. And each Thursday, they took golf lessons with the assistance of members from Tuscaloosa’s First Tee nonprofit. Lessons in putting, chipping, pitching and full swings were taught in the gymnasium using modified clubs and tennis balls in lieu of golf balls.

On Thursday June 15, students conducted a special science experiment called the egg-drop challenge. Children were challenged to find effective ways to wrap eggs to help them survive an approximately 8-foot drop. The teacher then dropped the eggs to test their ideas. The aim of the experiment was to give the students some basic cognitions of physical rules such as gravity and packaging.

At the final showcase, Benjamin Barnes YMCA Youth Programs Director Laura Payton gave the welcome and thanked parents for their trust in allowing their children to participate.

Tuscaloosa County PARA Program Supervisor Mark Harrison pointed out that the program not only provides life-saving skills but also leadership that will be useful to the youngsters when they occupy responsible positions as adults. He said the PARA junior lifeguard program always welcomes advanced swimmers. “We’ve got the position for you,” he said.

UA kinesiology professor Dr. Matthew Curtner-Smith noted another important aspect of the program: Research shows that more physically active children perform higher academically and their psychological satisfaction is higher than inactive children. He also urged the parents to keep their children active after the program, both in swimming and other sports.

Dr. Morgan thanked all the people in the room for helping to build the “community” that makes who everyone is. “We appreciate and are honored that we have got the chance to make memories with you this summer,” she said.

She also announced that the program was granted six scholarships from the Tuscaloosa’s First Tee worth $2,500 in First Tee instruction. The first scholarship was issued to Swim to the Top participant Blake Easterwood, who also gave the invocation before dinner.

During dinner attendees enjoyed a slide show of videos and photos of activities that took place in the program, and a special step show presentation led by Swim to the Top physical fitness instructor, Bernel Jones, and members of Omega Psi Phi.

After the dinner, UA swim leader Jenni Jensen and fitness leader Colin Pennington, Tuscaloosa County Schools enrichment leaders Mishon Flanigan and Julia Sanders gave short talks on behalf of the instructors and teachers. They reviewed the lessons learned, recognized students’ achievements and thanked supporters.

“This year has been incredible,” said Jenni Jensen, a PE teacher and a former UA student. “We were extremely well organized. The kids came ready to swim.” According to Jensen, now in her fourth year with the program, many participants have come every year and showed great improvement. She said she and the team of nine other instructors — all UA students majoring in kinesiology or sports pedagogy — were thrilled to see the children “exceed expectations.”

“On the first day they screamed and ran away from the water, and today we are able to see them floating by themselves, swimming with noodles on their own, no need to hold onto anybody, jumping in off the side,” Jensen proudly listed the skills her students had gained. “There is a complete 180 change, and it wouldn’t have happened without this program,” she said.

Lazhaiva Lyles, 9, said she had joined the program every year and will come back next year. “I’ve learned how to dive in a pool, how to float on my back and front,” she said. “It’s fun!” Her friends gathered around her and cheered when she was talking.

Dr. Samory Pruitt, vice president of UA’s Division of Community Affairs gave the closing remarks and thanked participants and leaders. “This program just keeps getting better every year and I look forward to seeing how these great program leaders and teachers will make it even better next year.”

SCOPE Displays and Discusses Original Engagement Scholarship at Awards Luncheon

  • April 27th, 2017
  • in SCOPE

By Taylor Armor
CCBP Graduate Assistant

University of Alabama graduate and undergraduate students shared their community-engaged scholarship efforts at the Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnership and Engagement (SCOPE) Showcase, Friday, April 14 at the Bryant Conference Center.

 The SCOPE presentations were the opening act for the 11th Annual Council on Community-Based Partnerships Excellence in Community Engagement Awards Luncheon. Moderated by Tera Johnson, SCOPE’s vice president, the showcase began with a student panel in which Charles Shipman II, Kathryn Taylor and Douglas Craddock Jr. spoke enthusiastically about their varied experiences with community-engagement scholarship. Panelists fielded questions from distinguished guests such as the Vice President for Community Affairs Dr. Samory Pruitt, Executive Director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) Dr. James E. McLean and Director of Crossroads Community Center Lane McLelland.

Each panelist agreed that building and sustaining relationships with community members was the most effective pathway to success in engaged scholarship. Craddock, a doctoral candidate in higher education, said that ensuring the sustainability of programs helps to improve trust between researchers and community partners.

Craddock, a Birmingham native, said,

“We ask ourselves ‘what’s next? Where do we go from here? By addressing those questions in the research and outreach, we let [the community] know that we are here for them, not for our own agenda but for their betterment.”

Craddock’s perspective stems from his involvement with sustained projects like CCBP’s Swim to the Top, a four-week enrichment program now in its third year that not only teaches at-risk students how to swim but also incorporates reading and math skills, physical fitness and nutrition information.

“Moving our third student Showcase to the same day as the Community Engagement Awards program proved to be beneficial to both Showcase and awards program participants,” said McLean, SCOPE adviser. “The venue was far more elegant for the Showcase and drew a larger audience to hear the student presentations and see their posters than would otherwise have been the case. This arrangement also enabled larger numbers of SCOPE students to attend the luncheon and more interaction among all groups.” 

Panelists shared specific stories that have shaped their experiences as members of SCOPE and/or as student employees at CCBP. Taylor, who works as a language partner with the center’s Global Café program, told a story about her Global Cafe experience. After sharing her vocabulary and spelling study method with the son of her Chinese language partner, the seven-year-old came boy brought back his perfect score to show to Taylor. Taylor, from Niantic, Connecticut, said such experiences help to make her efforts worthwhile.

Whether students have limited traditional research experience like Taylor or an extensive background like Craddock, SCOPE provides  a welcoming environment for all UA student and other young scholars with an interest in community engagement research. Shipman, a third-year computer science major, has been a member of SCOPE since the fall semester and has witnessed much student growth in their interest in and understanding of research

“At SCOPE meetings, we learn about opportunities, projects and programs that students can get involved with, and I think that it helps ease their minds,” said Shipman, a Montgomery, Ala. native. Often students get overwhelmed with coming up with their own ideas but in settings where ideas are shared, as is the case with SCOPE, this becomes less of a problem, he said.

SCOPE was the birthplace of many research ideas for scholars like Craddock, who gave his first project presentation at a SCOPE symposium. The travel award recipient said that purposefully involving students in community-engaged scholarship, whether as part of a class or part of an organization, could change their perception of this rapidly growing area of research.

“By showing them the work, you show why it’s needed,” he said. “You tell them that they’re not doing this just on behalf of the University, or just for a grade. You show them that they’re doing this for the betterment of other people,” thereby adding a compassion component to their research.

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.”

Parents and Teachers Collaborate on School Improvement Projects in Parent Teacher Leadership Academy

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Fuyan Zhang


By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

 

The Elementary Parent Leadership Academy, Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy and the Pre-K Parent Leadership Academy, projects of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), held sessions on March 9 that focused on connecting schools to communities. The program as whole is known as Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA).

Approximately 90 parents and teachers gathered at the Bryant Conference Center where they received information about acquiring financial support for school projects through grants and educational advocacy.

PTLA stresses cooperation to improve the quality of education for children by getting parents involved with teachers and administrators at the school, which is “exactly the premise upon which the program was founded,” said Dr. Holly Morgan, CCBP director of community education.

Although the curricula for parents and teachers are different, this year the projects have become a collaborative effort, which both groups displayed during the session. “In the past the parents were the only group who created a project, which benefited the school,” Morgan said. “This year, we had a new structure and the projects had to be tied to a school improvement goal. Every school ­— per the state of Alabama — has to have a school improvement plan.”

The teacher and parents selected a goal for their project and began plans to turn their ideas into reality. During the session, the parents and teachers explained their projects, some of which had already been implemented.

Carol Fuller, who teaches second grade at Walker Elementary School in Northport, said she valued participation in PTLA so that she could help her students through interaction with their parents. “I wanted to work on building relationships with parents to help students overall,” said Fuller, who is in her 21st year of teaching.

Walker’s PTLA team developed a program that reintroduces the Accelerated Reader Program to get students excited about reading and aims to help the school meet its reading improvement goals. “We’ve already seen a five percent increase in reading scores,” Fuller said. “The librarian keeps reading cards with goals for each student.”

At Buhl Elementary School first grade teacher Emily Glasgow has teamed with parent Kim Pate to help parents keep up with what is going on at school. Pate, disguised as Betsy Bulldog, creates Facebook videos that answer parents’ questions.

Although the rural school has approximately 200 students, the Betsy Bulldog Facebook page is averaging more than 400 views for each video. “This is definitely a new way to connect with our parents and our community,” said Glasgow, who has taught for 13 years. Both groups will graduate from the program on April 20.

 For more background and information about PTLA, go to https://ptla.ua.edu/.


PTLA is a joint initiative of the Tuscaloosa City and County School Systems, the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and the faculty in the University of Alabama’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences. It utilizes research–based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family-school partnerships.

The mission of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships is 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.

PTLA Hosts Superintendents, Teachers and Parents for Collaborative Panel Session


By Taylor Armer
CCBP Student Assistant

For the first time in the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy’s (PTLA) history, superintendents and central office personnel from participating school systems served as panelists at the program’s fourth session of the 2016–2017 academic year.

The joint session, on Thursday, January 19, in Sellers Auditorium of the Bryant Conference Center, explored the topic: “School and Board of Education Relations: Effective Communication and Collaboration in Family, School and Community Partnerships.”

Superintendents Dr. Wayne Vickers, Alabaster City School System; Dr. Michael Daria, Tuscaloosa City School System; Dr. Walter Davie, Tuscaloosa County School System; and Federal Programs Director Scott Walker, Lamar County School System shared with PTLA members how they have fostered and facilitated communication and collaboration practices as leaders in their perspective districts.

Dr. Holly Morgan, director of Community Education at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, said she was delighted to have school system representatives at this panel discussion, which consisted of questions drafted by the PTLA, as well as by parents and teachers in attendance.

“In addition to this being the first time that superintendents have participated as PTLA session panelists, this session also marks the first time that parents and teachers have collaborated on a singular project that is directly tied to a school improvement goal,” said Morgan. “Through this collaboration, we anticipate great things for the future.”

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Vickers, with more than 26 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in public school districts throughout Alabama, said that in addition to creating a “safe and productive learning environment” in all schools, “human interaction with parents” has helped school leaders and officials, himself included, connect with students and families outside of the classroom.

“The responsibility of a superintendent is to share with principals and assistant principals that we want to find out that extra layer,” Vickers said. “We want to hear it, whether it is uncomfortable, and whether it’s positive or negative.”

Walker, who is also interim principal of Lamar County High and Intermediate School, agreed with Vickers and added that effective internal and external communication equals “a shared vision of academic success for every student” with parent engagement central to achieving this goal.

Under Daria’s leadership, the Tuscaloosa City School System has worked to sustain communication among all levels of school leadership — principals, teachers, superintendents, school board — and parents by implementing a strategy that has provided “constant feedback” from a sampling of parents in the district.

“We have a team that interviews teachers, students and parents,” he said. “It’s just a snapshot [of that school]. We get that, but when you triangulate all of that information, you get a really good sense of where that school is academically, with school culture, and with its relationship with students, parents and stakeholders.”

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Daria, who served as executive director of personnel and assistant superintendent prior to his current role, emphasized that “intentional, purposeful communication” with parents, and the school’s faculty and staff should be a continuous effort for superintendents.

“We must ask ourselves how do we make sure this [communication] happens on an ongoing basis,” he said, “not just when it’s critical to get information out, but also when it’s critical to get information in.”

Direct contact with school board leaders has been one of the traditional ways parents and teachers have provided feedback to their respective districts. Although the process differed slightly by school district, panelists recommended following the established chain of command in communicating a question or concern to school leaders.

Before ending the panel portion of the night’s session, school district leaders offered strategies to PTLA members on how to best incorporate effective communication into their proposed action plans.

Davie, a UA alumnus with 27 years of education experience as both a teacher and administrator in Tuscaloosa, advised members to consider ways to “enhance established actions plans” by thinking of the key to two or three things needed to advance their respective schools.

“I would challenge you to think about [several things],” he said: “What is the focus and vision for your school? What has been identified in your school’s action plan by teachers, parent leaders and school board members as key things needed to move your school forward? And how can we further support what’s happening with those plans?”


PTLA is a joint initiative of the Tuscaloosa City and County School Systems, the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and the faculty in the University of Alabama’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences. It utilizes research–based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family-school partnerships.

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.

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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.

 

 

Parent Teacher Leadership Academy to Host Speaker Marsha Greenfeld December 1

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) at The University of Alabama will host Marsha Greenfeld, senior program facilitator at Johns Hopkins University, as a guest speaker at its all-day teacher workshop, to be held Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus.

“We are happy to have Marsha Greenfeld, of the National Network of Partnership Schools, with us to share her knowledge and experience regarding school, family and community partnerships,” said Dr. Holly Morgan, director of community education in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships.

Greenfeld, who works with the prestigious university’s National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS), will lead the second session of the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA), titled “Communicating Academic Goals Necessary for Student Success.” Her knowledge of goal-oriented partnership programs stems from time spent as a teacher and district-level facilitator for partnerships in the Baltimore City Public School System. Additionally, she worked in the technical assistance branch of the Office of Federal Grants Programs in Washington, D.C. Public Schools and as a partnership coordinator in the national office of Communities in Schools.

Established at Johns Hopkins University, NNPS provides professional development for schools, districts, states and organizations, utilizing research-based approaches to implement and sustain programs of family and community involvement to increase student success in school.

The PTLA is expanding the NNPS model during the 2016–2107 school year to foster leadership and develop partnerships with members of the Parent Leadership Academy (PLA), Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA), Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy (HPLA) and Pre-Kindergarten Parent Leadership Academy (PKPLA) in their respective classrooms, schools and communities.

“We believe that [Greenfeld] will help us to ‘connect the dots’ between the framework set forth by the National Network of Partnership Schools and the goals of the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy,” said Morgan.

The NNPS framework is comprised of six types of involvement: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating. Informed by these central concepts of involvement, parents and teachers of participating schools will join together to build a one-year action plan to improve school, family and community partnerships.

“All academy members will work collaboratively in their respective school teams in order to design a PTLA partnership project,” said Morgan. “The partnership project should be guided by at least one of the school’s improvement goals.

“We are thrilled to have 43 teachers from Tuscaloosa City, Tuscaloosa County, Lamar County and Alabaster City Schools as participants in the Teacher Leadership Academy for the 2016–2017 school year. Additionally, the Parent Leadership Academy hosts 75 parent participants from these same school districts,” said Morgan, who went on to note that both parents and teachers are selected for participation by their school’s principal.

“We look forward to welcoming all who are participating in the December 1 workshop, and to a productive day of learning and planning for the future,” said Morgan.


The Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) is a leadership program that utilizes research-based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family/school partnerships. It is a joint initiative of the Tuscaloosa City and County School Systems, The University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships and the faculty in the University’s College of Education and College of Human Environmental Sciences.

Student’s Prize-Winning Photos Capture UA Spirit

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

Seven from UA Present at Annual Engagement Scholarship Consortium

Tuscaloosa, Ala. — The University of Alabama was well represented at the 2016 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) annual conference, held Oct. 11-12 in Omaha, Nebraska. UA was the first non-land-grant institution selected for membership in the ESC and regularly sends a large delegation to the annual conference. In addition to those presenting, many staff members and students were in attendance.

Dr. James McLean, executive director of UA’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), and Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, UA vice president for the Division of Community Affairs and president of the executive committee of the ESC Board of Directors, presented their work at the conference.

“The Engagement Scholarship Conference provides a wonderful opportunity to share our engagement research experiences and learn from others,” said McLean. “For example, Dr. Pruitt and I shared our experiences developing and implementing UA’s Winning Grants and Sustainability Program. This program trained University/community teams to successfully acquire external funding through grants and sustain their programs through fundraising.”

CCBP, an initiative of UA’s Division of Community Affairs, designed and implemented the 15-month program, which enrolled 10 University/community teams that are partnering to solve community problems.

Also presenting in Omaha was UA doctoral student Vicky Carter, along with Drs. Cassandra Simon and Josephine Pryce, associate professors in UA’s School of Social Work. The trio co-authored “Navigating Authentic Engaged Partnerships: A Workshop for Community Partners.”

“The voices of community partners throughout the research process are vital in authentic community-engaged partnerships,” said Carter prior to the conference. “Unfortunately, community partners are oftentimes not included in a substantial way, but rather limited in their involvement. This presentation will include an initial description of authentic community engagement with an emphasis on the elements of ideal engaged partnerships.”

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Carter went on to say that such partnerships include trust, respect, mutual benefit, good communication, resource sharing, democratic decision-making, commitment by all partners (university, students and community), and agreed-upon vision, mission, goals and evaluation.

“Community partners will be informed of the importance of participation in research due to their position as experts and cultural brokers in the community, their wealth of knowledge and resources, and knowledge of the dynamics of the community,” Carter said. “Guiding principles of engaged research will be discussed, such as inclusion of partners from beginning to end of the project and inclusion in reporting and dissemination of the project results.”

Dr. George Daniels, assistant dean in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, and UA doctoral candidate Douglas Craddock Jr. (Higher Education Administration), presented “My Brother’s Keeper After the Obama Administration: Three Approaches for Engaged Scholarship.” Their work, along with that of Dr. Austin Jackson, assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, and Joshua Bates, a program assistant at The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, answers the question: What happens when three research institutions answer the call to expand opportunities for men of color? Their workshop showcased three approaches to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative — one in rural West Alabama and the others in urban communities in Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan.

Daniels’ and Craddock’s work utilizes youth engagement sessions to bridge the gap and connect concerned, passionate individuals in the West Alabama area. Craddock went on to say that the investigators plan to build upon existing ideas, programs and services as they relate to young men and boys of color.

“The central focus will be to answer the call to action as it pertains to aiding and improving the status of our young men and boys of color,” said Craddock. “By bringing together individuals who have a real passion and genuine desire for the betterment of our youth, we intend to create solution-focused dialogue and engage in action-oriented discourse.”

The ESC is a non-profit educational organization comprised of 36 public and private higher education member institutions. The organization’s goal is to build strong university-community partnerships, anchored in the rigor of engaged scholarship, that emphasize collaboration and that are designed to help build community capacity. This is accomplished through community-based partnerships and programs implemented by member institutions and community organizations working together. Academic leaders and students from these member institutions meet annually to share their research and to discuss issues, information and theories regarding campus-community partnerships.

In addition to those presenting at the conference, the 31-member University of Alabama delegation included Marcus Ashford, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Carol Agomo, director of Community and Administrative Affairs; Karyn Bowen, marketing coordinator for Community Affairs; Diane Kennedy-Jackson, publications coordinator for Community Affairs; Dr. Patricia Sobecky, associate provost for Academic Affairs; Dr. Tonyia Tidline, CCBP director of community engagement; and students Dominique Anderson, Brenna Barber, Cameryn Blackmore, Dillon Drew Connors, Aaron Cornelison, Thometta Cozart, Krystal Rena Dozier, Tera Johnson, Sarah Keller, Ashley Brook Loftis, Kyle Marowski, Sarah Saeed, Neil Shah, Elizabeth Tillotson, Mary Elizabeth West and Undraquetta Williams.

The institutions within the consortium are separated into five regions: East, North Central, South, West and International.

The 2016 conference is hosted by the North Central region, which includes Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, Purdue University, The University of Kansas, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Wisconsin.

The 2017 conference will be hosted in Birmingham by the South region, which includes Auburn University, East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina State University, The University of Alabama, University of Georgia, University of Louisville, University of North Carolina – Asheville, University of North Florida and The University of Tennessee – Knoxville.

Pruitt, in his role as president of the executive committee of the ESC Board of Directors, presented a strategic action plan to consortium leaders in Omaha.

“Our vision is to promote excellence in the leadership, scholarship and practice of engaged scholarship both locally and globally,” Pruitt said. “Our current impact can be seen in the increasing number of successful and sustainable community/campus partnerships that address critical societal issues and improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities through the scholarship of engagement.”

“As we plan for the future of the ESC, we in the South region look forward to hosting this annual conference in 2017,” he said.


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.