Category: News

Fall 2015 Fulbright Scholarship Informative Events

Fulbright Scholarships for Students
Students are invited to learn more about Fulbright Scholarships by participating in three informative events on campus scheduled for 8/25, 8/27, and 9/2.  Attend as many of these events as you can.  The Fulbright Program of the U.S. Department of State connects American students with more than 150 countries by offering undergraduate and graduate students funding for an academic year of study, research, and teaching.  Please remember the campus application deadline is Tuesday, September 8, 2015.


UA Student Fulbright Winners Share Tips for Overseas Scholarships
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 | 3:30 pm | 900 Anna Avenue

UA Fulbright winners will share their experiences and explain what it is like to serve on a Fulbright grant overseas.  Student-to-student, they will offer tips for the application process and answer questions.  Following the panel, there will be a reception celebrating our UA Fulbright success.  Fulbright Campus Program Advisors will be available to answer questions about the application process.  Open to the Public.  To be held at the UA Center for Community-Based Partnerships, 900 Anna Avenue (directly behind the Arby’s on University, near Newk’s). 
For more information and a map, click here. 

The Fulbright Scholarship: Overseas Opportunities for Students
Thursday, August 27, 2015 | 3:30 PM |  258 BB Comer

Dr. Michelle Williams, a Fulbright Ambassador who served as a Student Global Health Researcher in 2011, will speak about the Fulbright Scholarship.  She will explain how to apply.  Everyone is invited to hear about Fulbright Overseas Scholarship Opportunities for Students.
For more information, click here.

How to Win a Fulbright Scholarship to Go Abroad for a Yea
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 3:30 PM | 3108 Ferguson Student Center

UA Student Fulbright Winners will share secrets for a successful Fulbright application.  Everyone is welcome to come and learn about Fulbright opportunities.  Campus Fulbright Program Advisors will be present to answer questions about the application process.
For more information, click here.

AlabamaREAL Focuses on Youth Entrepreneurship

  • January 27th, 2014
  • in News

AlabamaREAL is a project of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships and the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. The project builds partnerships with Alabama’s public schools to provide teacher training and activities-based instruction materials. It offers presentations and activities for youth that focus on entrepreneurship and business related activities. Project staff also engage with various UA divisions and external partners to provide and promote entrepreneurship education, including assisting with the STEM Entrepreneurship Academy and Entrepreneurship Week events.

UA's Pauline and Philip Johnson Define the "Scholarship of Engagement"

By Kirsten J. Barnes
Graduate Assistant
Center for Community-Based Partnerships

(Editor’s Note: Work by two engineering professors at The University of Alabama provides insights into the field of engaged scholarship, while also highlighting aspects of a sister discipline, service-learning.)

Engineering professors Dr. Pauline Johnson (pink shirt) and Dr. Philip Johnson (next to her, in Indiana Jones hat), shown here with their students in Peru, have blended service-learning and engaged scholarship that has gained international attention through the Engineers Without Borders organization and their own published research.
Engineering professors Dr. Pauline Johnson (pink shirt) and Dr. Philip Johnson (next to her, in Indiana Jones hat), shown here with their students in Peru, have blended service-learning and engaged scholarship that has gained international attention through the Engineers Without Borders organization and their own published research.

Reflecting on their years at UA, the husband and wife engineering team of Dr. Philip Johnson and Dr. Pauline Johnson concluded that their students were naive when it came to understanding global engineering. Few had traveled outside the United States; some had not even been outside the Southeast. Those who had traveled abroad had gone for the most part as tourists.

Having visited 99 countries, many of them in the third world, the Johnsons were determined to do something about their students’ insularity.

“There are a lot of places in the world that are much, much, different from the United States,” said Dr. Philip Johnson, who has taught in UA’s civil, construction, and environmental engineering department for 23 years. “As an educator who routinely talks to students about sustainable engineering projects, I know that unless they go to a third-world country they don’t fully understand what that means.”

The couple are co-sponsors of UA’s Engineers Without Borders chapter and have helped develop the International Engineering Service-Learning Program at UA. Together they create learning experiences based on modern engineering practices through partnerships with UA’s Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. In all, the couple has accompanied more than 50 students on international trips to Peru, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Dr. Philip is a petroleum and civil engineering specialist, while Dr. Pauline’s expertise is in water and wastewater treatment.

“We started in 2005. I think we’ve had seven trips abroad with the students,” said Dr. Pauline, who is in her 18th year on the UA faculty. “Engineers Without Borders likes for you to go back to the same community to build on what you’ve done and check on the systems you’ve already created.”

In addition to partnering with UA groups and non-profits in the destination country, students collaborate with universities in the host country. In Peru they worked with students and faculty from the University of Iquitos, which provided field equipment and took part in field testing, surveys, group discussions, shopping for supplies and social outings.

These experiences build invaluable soft-skills (problem solving, communication) while introducing them to the inevitable global challenges of their career path, according to the Johnsons.

In an article they published along with Noam Shaney of Peru in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES) in 2008, they argued that service-learning opportunities develop leadership, teaming, management, communication and cross-cultural skills. In addition, the students grow personally as they learn flexibility, adaptability, maturity, independence and the ability to analyze, adjust to and appreciate local culture and context. The students also gain a global perspective, an appreciation of the societal implication of their work, and the satisfaction of working with a client in taking an international community project from conception and planning to fruition.

Their purpose in traveling widely with their students, Dr. Philip said, was “to do something for the students to help them experience the world. When you work with people on projects and incorporate the locals from the community, you really get a different perspective and feel for the community.”

Because these trips are in conjunction with the student organization Engineers Without Boarders, the students set the agenda and decide which country to visit and which projects to take on once they arrive.

Many of the students they get are the very best students in the College of Engineering, and are already motivated when they join Engineers Without Borders, which provides outlets for this motivation.

These trips have career implications for many students. For example, one student joined the Peace Corps after returning from a trip. Another student had her immediate sights set on medical school but instead pursued a master’s at Oxford University before starting medical training.

The Johnsons say most of the students have the opportunity to travel with them on only one trip because of costs. However, Ynhi Thai is an exception. As an undergraduate, she traveled with them to Peru in 2006 and Cambodia in 2009. Born in Vietnam, Thai immigrated with her parents to the United States where they made Long Beach, Miss., their home.

“On the first trip we were basically surveying the area to see what the villagers needed,” said Thai, who completed her master’s degree in medical anthropology from Oxford University this month (August 2012), after earning her bachelor’s in chemical engineering from UA in 2010.

UA Engineers Without Borders demonstrate safe drinking water practices to a Peruvian villager as part of their international engaged scholarship activities.
UA Engineers Without Borders demonstrate safe drinking water practices to a Peruvian villager as part of their international engaged scholarship activities.

During her trip to Cambodia, Thai participated in a project to build a water treatment plant for the 20,000 people in the province. “Our first job was to test the water filters to make sure they were working properly and that the people knew how to take care of them.”

Although her international background gave her some idea of what to expect in the area, it was still an enlightening adventure. A developing country “is really eye-opening,” she said. “The trip encouraged me to initiate a project in Cambodia.”

When the group returns from a foreign project, the Johnsons encourage them to develop their own ideas, which helps them become decisive leaders, traits essential to a successful engineering career where failure to prioritize can sink a budding career.

Having discovered that in real-world Amazonian settings that expensive equipment is not the best way to go, Thai and a UA professor submitted a proposal to the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation to purchase a water treatment tester for field use. They knew there was a need for an inexpensive, portable water testing kit that didn’t require power, said Thai. “It’s important when testing water to be able to get good results right away.” Their grant was funded for $100,000.

Not all of the Johnsons’ work is international. They and their students have taken on water and recreational projects in nearby Hale and Greene counties and have helped with storm-damage repairs in several communities near the University.

But as their JCES article points out, international settings seem to create the greatest opportunities for learning. “Experience abroad forces students to deal constructively with cultural differences and situations they would not otherwise face,” Dr. Philip said, adding “there is no comparison between working in an environment where getting supplies is relatively easy and in primitive environments, where a one-way trip to the hardware store is twelve hours from the village you’re working in.”

The Johnsons’ published research concludes that overseas projects facilitate valuable across a broad learning spectrum, but especially in organizational and communication skills; learning without the aid of formal instruction; experiencing other cultures; personal growth; and expanding views of the developing world.

In addition to their article in JCES, the Johnsons have also published “Safe Water Evaluations in the Peruvian Amazon” (with Andrew Magee, Rebecca Macdonald, and Beth Todd) and “Illuminating Villages and Minds in Rural Peru” (with Hannah Betty and Todd), both in the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering.

With the ability to work in environments and work across language and cultural barriers, the Johnsons’ students gain intangible skills and knowledge about themselves as people and professionals. They develop confidence, Dr. Philip said, “because the obstacles put in front of them seemed overwhelming, but they managed to put it together pretty well “¦ [and] they return home believing they can accomplish anything.”

UA Chinese Student's Project Promotes Cultural Understanding

  • July 29th, 2013
  • in News

By Sirui Shao
CCBP Intern

Fan Yang began her Heart Touch project this semester with the aim of enhancing cultural competency and to contribute to greater understanding and knowledge of other ethnic groups.

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A CCBP Awards program attendee talks with Fan Yang about her award-winning project during the poster session of the 2013 CCBP awards program.

Heart Touch connects primary school students between America and China by providing opportunities for them to communicate through writing letters as pen pals.

"I hope each student who takes part in this project can understand different cultures and get some knowledge about different countries," said Yang, a School of Social Work graduate student at The University of Alabama, who added that knowing different cultures is really important for personal development.

This project collaborates with Tuscaloosa's One Place, a family resource center, which assists people in achieving their full potential. The center provides resources to promote self-sufficiency, strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect improving the quality of life for all members of our community.
So far, Heart Touch has about 100 fourth grade students from each country and 30 volunteers who oversee the project. Most of the volunteers are graduate students at The University of Alabama. However, there also are two or three undergraduate students involved.

The program has a six-week curriculum, with the first three weeks focusing on presentations given by Yang and other UA Chinese student volunteers. To promote the program, Yang and her volunteers visited Tuscaloosa's One Place four days a week for one semester to conduct classes. During the class, students ate foods provided by Lailai, a Chinese restaurant in Northport.

Afterward, Yang taught the American children about Chinese culture by telling them stories and other interesting things related to China, such as the Chinese New Year, Chinese foods and Chinese names. Yang and her volunteers also teach them life skills related to safety.

Yang selected a primary school in Hunan, China as the cooperating school for the pen pals because Hunan is where she received her bachelor's degree. Therefore, she was familiar with the province, which made it easier for her to connect with schools.

Letters arrive every two-to-three weeks via email. After receiving these emails, Chinese student volunteers scan them before translating them from Chinese to English or English to Chinese. They then give the emails to the Chinese and America children. Children respond to the letters they receive in English or Chinese, and then volunteers perform their translations again and the cycle repeats itself.

"I will continue doing this project at least one year," said Yang. "I hope I can expand it into various countries. We need more volunteers."

Dr. Beverly Hawk Joins Center for Community-Based Partnerships, Continues Her Commitment to Fulbright Scholar Program

  • July 29th, 2013
  • in News

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Dr. Beverly Hawk, director, Office of Program Services.
Dr. Beverly Hawk, director, Office of Program Services.

Dr. Beverly G. Hawk is not new to The University of Alabama or the Division of Community Affairs. In fact, she retired in 2013 after six years as director of UA's Crossroads Community Center, but she could not let her time at UA end there. So, when the opportunity arose this year to continue working with Community Affairs in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), she did not hesitate to accept the director of the Office of Program Services position.

Her multitude of duties now include coordinating CCBP's Language Learning Lab and overseeing the campus Fulbright Scholar Program application process. But one of her main duties, says colleague Dr. Edward Mullins, is as the division's "ace proofreader and copy editor for the scores of brochures, publications, programs, grant applications, websites, grant applications and other print, web and video materials we produce." Mullins is director of the Office of Research and Communications at CCBP.

"I've worked in media at all levels and all forms and I've never seen a better, more constructive copy editor/proofreader," Mullins said, "She catches the usual things, like mistakes in spelling and grammar, but she is also alert to matters of tone, common sense and history, which makes her very valuable indeed to our extensive publishing, video and web operation here at the center."

Her new position allows her to expand the boundaries of her cultural community to include areas outside of the University and the nation through work with engagement scholarship. "Community engagement as practiced at the University has gone international," Hawk said, "and Community Affairs understands that and the University sees that. Part of my position is to help faculty and students get U.S. Department of State grants to go overseas and engage communities around the world."

"CCBP is a perfect fit for Hawk's talents and energy," says Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president of Community Affairs. "She brings together senior leadership, student energy, community wisdom and scholarly expertise, which makes for an especially creative collaboration."

Hawk enjoys international and multicultural work and says the Fulbright Scholar Program allows her to encourage UA students to take part in a program that helped shape her own career as an African Studies scholar. Hawk serves as the campus' adviser and coordinator for the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Hawk has been deeply involved in the Fulbright Program throughout her career, serving on the social science faculties of the University of Nairobi in 1994 and the University of Malawi in 2001. As part of her Fulbright service, she taught grant proposal writing at universities in Morocco, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi.

"The more you travel and the more cultures you encounter the more humble you have to be because you realize how big the world is and how little you know," said Hawk, who has visited more than a dozen countries. "You have to be comfortable making mistakes and apologizing for those mistakes and being willing to listen and learn."

As the former director of Crossroads, Hawk has interacted with students from all over the world. "Crossroads is a place for people to come together and bring the positive fruits of their cultures and share them to embrace practical tasks," said Hawk, who came to UA from Miles College in Birmingham, where she taught international studies, research methods, public administration and government. "If you are a positive person, then you'll want to be associated with a place that brings positive people together. As director of Crossroads, it was my honor to coordinate so many great leaders on campus."

Collaboration is really what engagement scholarship is all about, she said. "When we bring people together from different walks of life to weave something positive out of their collaboration, we get a beautiful result," she said.

Hawk's book, Africa's Media Image, published by Praeger, received a Sigma Delta Chi Award in 1992. It analyzes how the American press portrays Africa and was published in the year that the United States military went into Somalia to halt atrocities and address illness and starvation of the nation's citizens at the hands of its own military forces. "Because of this timing, the book still sells," Hawk said.

Hawk also served as editor for six years of African Issues, a journal of the African Studies Association and was elected to the association's International Board.

The social scientist-turned-author learned to write out of necessity. "I had something I needed to say to people that I had never met and would never meet. That's how I became a writer."

In 2000, Hawk received the Millennium International Volunteer Award, an award given by the State Department for initiatives in pursuit of international understanding. In 2004, she received the John Carroll University Alumni Medal in recognition of her work with AIDS orphans, and in 2005 she received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award to continue her consultations with universities overseas.

Hawk received her bachelor's degree in political science from John Carroll University in her native Ohio, master's in African studies from Howard University, and master's and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In announcing her new appointment, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, said, "Our division and the hundreds of students we work with every semester are extremely fortunate to have a person on our staff with the encompassing humanitarian spirit and wealth of knowledge of Dr. Beverly Hawk."

7th Annual Awards Program Concludes Highly Successful Engagement Scholarship Year at The University of Alabama

  • July 29th, 2013
  • in News

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Students Kelsey Balzli, Jacquie McMahanon, Benjie Ladrillono, Julia Gardial and Haley Flanagan stand with Dr. Samory Pruitt, left, and Acting Provost Joe Benson with the certificate acknowledging their award winning ant-bullying project in the student-initiated engagment project category.
Students Kelsey Balzli, Jacquie McMahon, Benjie Ladrillono, Julia Gardial and Haley Flanagan hold the certificate acknowledging their award-winning anti-bullying project in the student-initiated engagement project category.

The Center for Community-Based Partnerships celebrated its big day on Friday, April 26, at Hotel Capstone on the UA campus, recognizing the year's top projects and scholars, while taking a look back on the University's most successful year ever in the engagement scholarship field.

Here are some of the accomplishments and current and future plans outlined by several speakers at the seventh annual awards program, including Dr. Heather Pleasants, CCBP director of Community Education:

  • UA became the first non-land-grant institution to host the National Outreach Scholarship Conference, the most important international conference dedicated to engaged scholarship (now known as the Engagement Scholarship Consortium "” ESC), setting records for overall attendance (613, twice the previous conferences' average), for student attendance (145, 115 of whom made presentations), number of states represented (39), colleges and universities (84), and community organizations (47).
  • Dr. Samory T. Pruitt was named vice president of the ESC Board of Directors.
  • The Parent Leadership Academy was one of only 15 school leadership programs to receive the National School Board Association's Magna Award. Dr. Heather Pleasants, CCBP director of Community Education, is the director of the program.
  • The Teacher Leadership Academy, an initiative that will provide professional development for teachers invested in building strong family-school partnerships, will be launched in the coming year.
  • Beginning this summer, STEM/Entrepreneurship Camp, which blends the science/technology/engineering/math fields with entrepreneurship will be launched this summer and will include in-service training for teachers.
  • Eleven seed fund awards (click here for seed fund award announcement) were announced, up from four last year, aimed at positive change and tangible benefits for schools, organizations and communities across the state and nation and even around the globe.

Dr. Edward Mullins, director of research and communication at CCBP, introduced the various speakers and program segments. "When you see students, faculty and members of the community working together to improve schools, athletic facilities, health, water supplies, to stop bullying, produce more scientists and engineers, those are just a few of the signs of engagement scholarship. But there's more to engaged scholarship than "˜doing things'," he said.

"There is also the research component. Just conducting these projects is not sufficient to qualify as engagement scholarship. Only when teaching, research and service are integrated does true engaged scholarship occur. Only when scholars have collected and analyzed the data and reported the results, i.e. presented and interpreted the evidence, have we closed the circle on engagement scholarship."

Pruitt began the awards portion of the program by announcing an award that surprised the recipient.

"It is an absolute honor and a pleasure for me to present the Distinguished Special Achievement in Engaged Scholarship Award to my friend and colleague, Dr. Joe Benson," Pruitt said. "Joe has been an outstanding advocate for engaged scholarship. He's been here every year to help us give out the awards. In addition to that, over half of the dollars for the seed funds each year have come from Joe's budget."

In accepting his award, Benson said: "I did not see this coming. It's a good thing I came today. I very much appreciate this award and the thoughtful presentation, but the real award goes to you all because this effort started very, very small and there were many, many questions as to whether this [engagement scholarship as an academic movement] was something that could actually succeed.

"Through the hard work of people like Samory (Pruitt), Ed (Mullins), Janet (Griffith), Heather (Pleasants) and all of you, this has grown into a real honest to goodness research effort on this campus," Benson said. "I think The University of Alabama has to be very, very proud for the accomplishments that this initiative has brought. And in my mind this initiative is still in its infancy. I think the really good things are still to come. So, I am very, very pleased to be here today to recognize you for what you do."

Pruitt expressed appreciation for the early critiques and suggestions Dr. Benson made with regard to what is now the leading journal in engagement scholarship, the UA-published Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, but in the beginning had some rough edges.

Janet Griffith, assistant provost, as she has done each year, presided over the awards presentations. Following is a summary of those awards:

Distinguished Achievement in Engagement Scholarship "” Faculty/Staff

Dr. Karl Hamner wears many academic and engagement hats. He is the Assistant Dean of Scholarly Affairs for two major campus academic programs, the Capstone College of Nursing and the School of Social Work. He is the person behind the initiation of the UA-Veterans Administration Collaboration, begun in 2007 to increase collaboration and expand research, education and training, including the VA-funded Rural Health Training and Education Project that trains nursing, medical and social work students to serve rural veterans. There is the 2008 Walker Area Transformational Coalition for Health (WATCH), a rural health network addressing health in Walker County. WATCH has received local, state and federal funds to improve health and is now becoming the Health Action Partnership of Walker County, partnering with the United Way of Central Alabama and the Health Action Partnership of Jefferson County. Finally, there is the Holt Community Partnership, which Hamner helped found in 2009. The partnership is dedicated to making Holt a vibrant, healthy and safe community. After the 2011 tornado, the partnership has taken on helping rebuild the community. Hamner co-chaired this year's Holt Community Festival. In addition to his administrative and teaching duties, Hamner is a health researcher, evaluation consultant and a training specialist and has conducted many multicultural health and social research studies. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993.

Distinguished Achievement in Engagement Scholarship "” Student

Jackie Brodsky, a Ph.D. candidate in Communication and Information Sciences, got her start in community-engaged scholarship while a master's student helping senior citizens become fluent in information technology at a local senior center. The project sparked her interest in the research/evaluative aspects of engaged scholarship. Today, she is the graduate research assistant for Project ALFA (Accessible Libraries for All), helping prepare 30 master's students to facilitate information access for people with disabilities by creating partnerships with community agencies serving these populations. Brodsky is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles on accessibility and plans to continue to conduct research in this field as a fulltime faculty member. Brodsky's mentor is Dr. Laurie Bonnici, with whom she has worked on several projects throughout her master's program and whom she credits with inspiring her to concentrate her research in the community-engagement field. They have co-authored one peer-reviewed journal article, and Dr. Bonnici is her dissertation committee chair.
(Click here for Brodsky's remarks.)

Distinguished Achievement in Engagement Scholarship "” Community Partner

Friends describe Mason Bonner as the ultimately dependable partner for any project, the kind of partner all organizations want on their team. He has worked closely with CCBP on the entrepreneurship education component of the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED ) Initiative. He has helped CCBP organize workshops in several rural counties in West Alabama, and he has developed a business plan workshop and competition for students in Lowndes County. He has participated in a teacher-training institute hosted jointly by Alabama and Mississippi REAL programs in which teachers from these states and Georgia received activities-based training and curriculum resources. In addition to his partnership work with CCBP, Bonner is one of the founding members of A Few United Men, a 501(c)3 organization that provides mentoring and tutoring for at-risk youth in West Alabama.

Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Efforts

  • Dr. Marcus Ashford, associate professor of mechanical engineering. Project title: Rockets and Race Cars. This hands-on approach heightens students' interest in and mastery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Dr. John Giggie, associate professor of history. Project title: Religion and Civil Rights. Students explore the role of religion and African-American churches in the civil rights movement.
  • Dr. Jeffrey G. Parker, associate professor of psychology. Project title: Practicum in Positive Youth Development and Civic Engagement. Students learn civic engagement principles to help improve the community of Holt in areas ranging from schools to law enforcement, from courts to at-risk youth.

Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Efforts

  • Jackie Brodsky, with Dr. Laurie Bonnici, School of Library and Information Studies. Project title: ALFA "“ Accessible Libraries for All. A professor and her protégé developed this program that enables individuals with disabilities to access information in the digital age.
  • Fan Yang, School of Social Work. Project title: Heart Touch. This project builds cultural competency for children in the after-school program of Tuscaloosa's One Place. Among the activities was a pen-pal exchange between children here and in China.
  • Kelsey Balzli, Jacquie McMahon, Benjie Ladrillono, Julia Gardial, Haley Flanagan, graduate students in advertising and public relations. Project title: "I Can" Anti-Bullying Campaign for Tuscaloosa City Schools. Tuscaloosa middle school students received training in strategies to prevent bullying. They created posters, newsletters, and other means of communication to reach parents, students and faculty to combat the problem.

Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort

  • Rev. Larry W. Corder, Alberta Baptist Church; Rev. Kelvin Croom, College Hill Baptist Church; and Dr. Chandra Clark, instructor in telecommunication and film. Project title: Alberta City History Project. Alberta City ministers formed a partnership with UA's Dr. Chandra Clark to preserve the history of the area following destruction by the April 27, 2011 tornado that devastated the Alberta City community.
  • Rev. Richard L. Morgan, Mary Rogers Brooks, Georgia White, Linda O'Rourke and Jane Wells, First African Baptist Church; Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, Phyllis P. Rogers, Erica Walker and Rebecca Hood, Plum Grove Baptist Church; Rev. Kelvin Croom, Marcie McMullen, Jahnese Hobson, Regina Hughes, Rena Heard, Willie Robinson and Jessica McCaskill, College Hill Baptist Church; Dr. Rebecca Kelly, Dr. Pamela Payne Foster, Dr. James King and Dr. Martha Crowther, The University of Alabama; and Marvin Wilson, the Joseph and Lauretta Freeman Foundation. Project title: Saving Lives, A Community-University Faith-Based Initiative for Health and Well-Being. University health researchers combine forces with local churches to combat illness using faith, scripture and health science. A five-month pilot study completed with three local churches addressed key health concerns such as cancer, obesity and diabetes.
  •  Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, Plum Grove Baptist Church, and Dr. Karen Baynes-Dunning, associate professor, Human Environmental Sciences. Project title: West Side Scholars Academy. Pastor Gardner and his church collaborated with Dr. Baynes-Dunning to enrich the scholarship of middle school students in Tuscaloosa city and county schools. The students study various academic disciplines and will travel to Costa Rica this summer.

A research poster session, organized by Tommie Syx of the CCBP staff, preceded the awards program. Veteran attendees agreed that it was the largest and best poster session of any held in conjunction with the awards luncheon. More than 20 posters were on display.

Miller: Just Getting the Degree Is Not Enough

  • July 29th, 2013
  • in News

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

MillerMelanieWeb
Dr. Melanie Miller, director, Office of Student and Community Engagement

In about a year from now, Dr. Melanie Miller will have worked for The University of Alabama for 20 years, but she still maintains a youthful outlook about her work, possibly because so much of that time has been spent working with young people both inside and outside of class. Although she has held several positions "” director of the Women's Resource Center, associate director of the Russell Student Health Center, executive director of Crimson Care, and most recently associate dean of students "” they all have one thing in common: helping students make the most of their UA experience.

"I always tell students that there is a difference in getting a degree and getting an education," said Miller, who earned three degrees from UA "” bachelor of science in social work, master of arts in community counseling, and doctorate in higher education administration. "If students only leave here with a degree, we have failed them."

So it's no surprise that Miller and her position as director of Student and Community Engagement in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships within the Division of Community Affairs are a good fit.

In the new position, Miller works to involve undergraduate and graduate students in community activities and volunteer experiences that will complement their classroom studies and strengthen their knowledge of and experience in research. She believes helping students get involved in the community gives them a better understanding of how their education is directly linked to solving problems within the community.

"I want to help students grow and develop during their time here. The whole campus should be a learning environment for students," said Miller, the mother of two college students. "Education should be about transforming the total student. They need to be able to make meaning of how they can apply whatever information or skills they are getting in the classroom to their daily lives."

The engagement activities Miller facilitates, however, are more than social development. Under Miller students will also learn how to do research that fosters intellectual growth and helps undergraduate and graduate students alike get additional research and analytical skills.

"I think it's important to get students to understand that they can be involved in activities outside of the classroom, especially research," Miller said. "Many are already involved in service-learning activities."

One of Miller's primary responsibilities will be overseeing SCOPE, Scholars for Community, Outreach, Partnership and Engagement, a program begun in 2009. One of her objectives is to increase the number of student members and get more undergraduate students involved.

"There are certainly ways to plug more undergraduate students into projects as research assistants, even if they are not initiating research projects independently," Miller said. "I look forward to collecting more information by collaborating with different departments on campus and finding a way to connect more students to existing research initiatives."

Although she has worked at UA since 1995, she has also served as a field placement supervisor and has taught such courses as Cooperation and Conflict; Leadership Through Social Justice Activism; and Leadership Through Volunteerism. All of these courses had a service-learning component.

This background, along with her work on social justice issues and her many years of experience working in community non-profits, will clearly benefit Miller in her new role.

"One of our goals at CCBP is to collect information on community needs," Miller said. By systematically collecting information and developing sources regarding community needs CCBP and the campus will be able to match up community needs and faculty and student resources to prioritize the areas of greatest need, she says.

The Tuscaloosa native believes her new role allows her to use her expertise to put students on the frontlines of improving the quality of life for citizens living in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding communities, connecting them in ways that will transform their own lives.

Miller said, "It helps students develop skill sets while exposing them to different settings. It helps them become better citizens when they graduate, enhancing their sense of giving back to the community."

About Miller's appointment, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt said, "The addition of Dr. Miller comes at just the right time as more and more students seek to enrich their lives and improve the quality and value of their coursework by becoming engaged with the larger community. We are very fortunate to have a person with her training and interests for this important work."

For more information on SCOPE or any of the other engagement projects Miller is involved in, call her at 205-348-6929 or email her at mmiller@ua.edu.

McLelland: New Job Is Real-World Test of Her Preparation

  • July 29th, 2013
  • in News

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

McLellandLaneWeb
Lane McLelland, director, Crossroads Community Center

Looking back on her first year in her new job as director of Crossroads Community Center, Lane Busby McLelland, the former assistant director of New College, remains both challenged and excited by her new responsibilities, which she sees as a real-world test of her academic preparation.

That preparation includes a master of arts in ethics and social theory, a master of divinity and a bachelor's in international studies and conflict management.

"I loved what I did in New College, but coming to Crossroads gives me the opportunity to develop my fundamental areas of interest even more," she said.

Crossroads Community Center provides leadership at UA in cultural programming and intercultural education by developing and hosting a variety of cultural events and dialogue programs that build community. Crossroads pursues its mission by coordinating the energies of faculty, staff and students in the creation, implementation and evaluation of cultural programs on campus.

McLelland sees her new job from several points of view. "I love working with people of different perspectives and backgrounds and to see them work together, whether that work is international, cultural or intra-cultural. Because I'm coming from a program (New College) that values interdisciplinary work, I bring varied experience from multiple perspectives. My life has been interdisciplinary."

Before beginning a teaching career at Shelton State Community College in 1999 and taking a position teaching full-time at UA in 2006, McLelland worked in the private sector in religion and ethics. During the mid-1990s she worked in Atlanta for several agencies in which she gained cross-cultural experience, including working with the 1996 Summer Olympics.

All of these experiences prepared her for Crossroads. "My work in Atlanta and with New College has always emphasized embedding students in community based-projects," McLelland said, opportunities for students and community members to talk and work together.

McLelland said she missed teaching during her first semester at Crossroads, but hopes to develop a new course that can be taught in New College that will also be beneficial to Crossroads.

"I hope to offer some special courses that meet the goals of the academic department and the goals of Crossroads: Deliberative decision-making and deliberative-dialogue," McLelland said.

In addition to her academic and service credentials, McLelland is also an ordained minister. She has served as a minister at Chinese Community United Methodist Church in Oakland, Calif., and Trinity United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. She taught at Tunghai University in Taiwan and later worked with China-related organizations in Washington, D.C.

In appointing McLelland, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, said, "Crossroads Community Center provides important intercultural leadership and dialogue programs for the campus and communities both near and far. We are most fortunate to have someone of Ms. McLelland's background, credentials and motivation in this position."

McLelland succeeds Dr. Beverly Hawk, who has joined the Center for Community-Based Partnerships as director of program services. McLelland received her bachelor's degree from UA and both graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

For more information on Crossroads, call McLelland at 205-348-6930 or email her at lane.mclelland@ua.edu.

Holt Festival

  • April 12th, 2013
  • in News

2013 Community Festival Flyer

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

The Holt Community Festival will be held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at the Holt High School football stadium.

"It’s a chance to celebrate with Holt and show the positive side of Holt," said Dr. Karl Hamner, co-chair of the festival and assistant dean of scholarly affairs for nursing and social work at The University of Alabama. "It's a very vibrant place."

Now in its fifth year, the festival is presented by the Holt Community Partnership, collaboration between UA and Holt High School. Additionally, the Partnership includes area citizens and organizations committed to improving and reviving the Holt community by working together to provide education, social and health services.

"It started as a educational partnership between UA and the high school that grew into a partnership of organizations that are invested in Holt," Hamner said.

Hamner said the event also has taken on new meaning since the tornado devastated the area in April of 2011. Holt was one of the hardest hit areas.

"They are our neighbors and the area has been long neglected," Hamner said, explaining that the festival is a way to draw attention to Holt and the needs of the community. "A lot of our students are involved in helping grow the community."

Partners include the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education, Alabama Consortium for Education Renewal, the UA College of Education, the Capstone College of Nursing, the UA School of Social Work, Tuscaloosa's One Place, Nucor Steel, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Department, Holt High School faculty members, and members of the Holt Community.

"It’s going to be fun," Hamner said. "They’ll be music and various activities. Various organizations will have booths and there will be children’s activities."

This year's festival will feature music and entertainment, food, vendors and games. People should just come out to have fun, Hamner said. Admission is free. However, lunch items will be sold for $1 each.

Vendors are welcome, but each must preregister by contacting khamner@ua.edu.
For more information, call (205) 799-6808 or (205) 454-9791.