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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions about ACCESS should be directed to McLean at jmclean@ua.edu.

CCBP executive committee updates followed.

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

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

Tera “CeeCee” Johnson, co-chair of the Student Involvement and Support Committee and president of the student organization Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnership and Engagement (SCOPE), shared that a calendar for SCOPE meetings is available through her or on the SCOPE website at http://ccbp.ua.edu/scope-4/.

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

Those interested in speaking to SCOPE students about their work in community engagement should contact Johnson at tejohnson2@crimson.ua.edu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additionally, PTLA has an upcoming ESC presentation this year.

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

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

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

Engagement scholarship in action reports followed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting was adjourned at 1:08 p.m.


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

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