April 27, 2007
The Center for Community-Based Partnerships honored nine of its most successful projects and their leaders at its first awards program Friday, April 27, at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Tuscaloosa. More than 250 university and community leaders attended the ceremony.
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Arthur N. Dunning, vice president for public service and outreach and associate provost at the University of Georgia and a three-time graduate and former faculty member at The University of Alabama. Dunning also received the first award of the day, a Distinguished Achievement Award for his national leadership in community-partnered research and service.
Dunning urged academic scholars to convert their research and instruction in ways that can be used by ordinary people. The people of Alabama's Black Belt may not ever be interested in your basic research, he said, "but if you can translate that research into something that makes an impact, it will be recognized.”
Receiving awards for projects initiated by students were:
"¢ Amanda Brozana, for The West End Journal and WestEndJournal.Com, a newspaper and website that cover western Tuscaloosa around Stillman College, where Brozana, a UA doctoral student, is an instructor.
"¢ Stephany Collins, a senior photojournalism major, for her work with Creative Campus to integrate the arts into local school curricula.
"¢ Students in the School of Social Work for P.A.S.S. (Preparing Alabama Students for Success) "“ Jacauel Lakesha Lee, Stephanie Workman, Jacquelyn Johnson, Kathleen McNamara, Paulette Martin, R. Taylor Putnam, Rita Smith, William Thompson, Krista VanDerwood, Debra Watkins. They mentor and instruct Black Belt area students on college-bound goals, helping them to see themselves as future college students
For projects by faculty and staff:
"¢ Dr. Carmen Taylor, assistant dean, College of Arts and Sciences, for SMILE (Science and Math Involved Learning Experience), which engages students in learning and enjoying math and science.
"¢ Dr. Pauline Johnson and Dr. Phillip Johnson, associate professors in the College of Engineering, for community projects at home and abroad through Engineering Students Without Borders.
"¢ Dr. Heather Pleasants, assistant professor, College of Education, for Our Voices, which enables black middle school students to tell their stories in new forms of media.
For projects by community partners:
"¢ Carol Eichelberger and Jean Mills, for Tuscaloosa Community-Supported Agriculture through New 226 Organic Farming, a course open to community and campus members through New College.
"¢ Dr. Alesa Judd of Centreville, for Bibb County Child Caring Project through Bibb County Public Schools.
"¢ Mayor Walt Maddox, Shelly Jones, Earnestine Tucker, Stephen Black, for Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative. the city's pre-kindergarten initiative.
Distinguished Achievement Awards, for sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in public service and outreach went to:
"¢ Dr. Jim Hall, director, New College, campus
"¢ Felecia Jones, executive director, Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma. Ms. Jones' was recognized for her leadership in an organization that since 2003 has raised funds to sustain an operation that now includes a full-time staff of five and has distributed more than $300,000 in small grants in support of health, education, the economy and the arts to nonprofit organizations throughout the Black Belt.
Dunning, who has advised Dr. Samory Pruitt, vice president for community affairs, in his efforts to establish the University's engagement programs, explained how engagement based on the university's teaching and research strength can put a university at the center of the public's concerns.
Pruitt praised the projects recognized at the luncheon, saying, "These outstanding projects and individuals connect the outreach mission of the University to its teaching and research functions while serving the needs of our local community, the state of Alabama, the region, the nation and the world. They operationalize our motto: Engaging Communities and Changing Lives."
Winning projects will receive funds to be used in future projects or to extend current ones, Pruitt said. All of the nominated projects involve the community, faculty, staff, students, curriculum and formal research, Pruitt said.
Following the luncheon, many attendees attended an open house at the Cannon House, 824 4th Avenue, the home of CCBP.
CCBP began in 2006 as an initiative of the Office of Community Affairs. It mobilizes the resources of the University to address problems identified jointly by community and academic partners. Its purpose is to engage communities, expand the classroom and laboratory, and promote better education, health, economic and cultural opportunities for all Alabamians.