Category: Events

Brown Bag session

By Alecia Perez
Center for Community-Based Partnerships

On January 13th, UA faculty and graduate students interested in the intersections of engaged scholarship and the digital humanities participated in the first Engaged Scholarship Brownbag Series, sponsored by the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) and the Alabama Digital Humanities Initiative (ADHI), directed by Tom Wilson, associate dean for Library Technology.

Elliot Knight is the Founder and Co-Director of Black Belt 100 Lenses.

Held at the Alabama Digital Humanities Center in Gorgas Library, the meeting featured graduate student Elliot Knight and TCF faculty member Andy Grace as guest speakers. Over the last four years and with support and partnerships between CCBP and the Black Belt Community Foundation, Knight has offered the 100 Lenses program in all 12 Black Belt counties in Alabama. Students are recruited from throughout the Black Belt to stage exhibitions in which they tell their community stories through photography, videography, writing and speaking.

The 100 Lenses program also conducts a summer camp for students from throughout the Black Belt, who stage exhibitions in which they tell their community stories through photography, videography, writing and speaking. The third annual 100 Lenses summer camp is scheduled for June 10-14 and will bring together over 50 high schools students to collaborate with one another. Students will share photos and stories from their hometowns with one another, work with community artists and creative writing instructors and produce an exhibit that will be displayed around the state and online. The 100 Lenses 2012 summer camp will be June 10"“14.

Andy Grace founded the After the Storm project.

Grace, a faculty member in the Department of Telecommunication and Film and director of the Documenting Justice Program, told the group about his work creating an online interactive documentary project called “After the Storm.” The project will examine the City of Tuscaloosa’s long-term response after the April 27th tornado by using the stories of residents, city officials and business owners to create a tapestry of voices of those who are working to rebuild.

Dr. Heather Pleasants, organizer of the Engaged Scholarship Brownbag Series and director of community education at CCBP, called the brownbag series "emblematic of the very nature of engaged scholarship at The University of Alabama. Engaged scholars come in many forms, and their work often involves interdisciplinary collaboration."

The first brownbag of the current academic year was held in the fall and focused on research related to Hispanic/Latino families and children. Suggestions for future brownbags are welcome. For more information about the series, email Dr. Pleasants at For more information about the Alabama Digital Humanities Initiative, visit

Mathews Center to Host Forum on High School Dropouts

By Kirsten J. Barnes
Center for Community-Based Partnerships

A David Mathews Center forum entitled "Our Community, Our Future: The Role of Citizens in Solving the High School Dropout Problem" will be held March 6, at Auburn University-Montgomery's Taylor Center from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is free and lunch will be served. To register click here.

During the past 10 years, Alabama's high school dropout rate has plunged from 15.58 percent to 7.08 percent, according to figures for 2008"“2009 released by the Alabama Department of Education. The national dropout rate for the same period was 8.1 percent.

Chris McCauley, executive director of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life in Montevallo, hopes the forums sponsored by the center will help uncover ways that communities can reduce the rate even further.

In recent months the center polled Alabamians and asked questions concerning public issues that citizens could come together to address, McCauley said. "We were working toward what public issue concerned Alabamians the most."

The two issues that emerged were the dropout rate and the economy."

The dropout rate seemed to be a more manageable topic, so the center conducted forums in 28 counties on the issue.

McCauley said the forums were not meant to solve the problem, but instead to help community members talk through the retention rate to develop ways to solve the issue as a community.

"The Mathews Center doesn't take a stance on the issues. It's up to the people in the community to come up with the ideas. We provide factual data and a framework to deliberate and think through what they can do. A lot of great ideas come up," McCauley said, including youth mentoring programs and additional support services for single parents.

State officials welcome this effort by the Mathews Center.

"The forums are having an absolute major impact on the dropout rate," said Kay Atchinson Warfield, an education administrator with the dropout prevention and support unit of the Alabama Department of Education. "What we have found is that the public does not understand all the variables that impact the success of a student."

She said by raising the level of awareness in the community these forums can directly affect students by informing their parents.

"These public forums have provided a level of awareness that has never been done in our state before. It's everybody's issue," said Warfield, who has actively participated in the process.  "The schools cannot do it alone. We've got to have partnerships with public services because it takes us all working together to have an impact."

Both McCauley and Warfield said they were amazed by the ideas that came out these community conversations.

"Central High School in Phenix City had some of the most innovative students thus far," McCauley said. "The students produced a documentary of the dropout rate in Phenix City and will present this at AUM."

The forums are modeled after the Kettering Foundation's National Issues Forums.

"The goal is to work with citizens across the state and get them to take action on issues that that impact them," McCauley said. "We outline some of the contributing factors and some of the outcomes. For example, there is a correlation between the dropout rate and prison population. We give citizens the opportunity to come together and work toward solving problems in unique ways. It's an action driven project."

Spring Creative Writing Club Schedule Announced

By Kirsten Barnes
Center for Community-Based Partnerships

TUSCALOOSA "” The Creative Writing Club for Tuscaloosa area high school students grades 9"“12 has announced its spring schedule. Sponsored by the University of Alabama's Master of Fine Arts, the club will meet 4:30"“6 p.m. in Room 301 Morgan Hall each Wednesday, beginning February 1 and ending April 25. The spring session will conclude with a group reading and publication of an anthology of all participants’ writing.

“The Creative Writing Club is a great way for high school kids interested in writing to meet others who share that interest," said Robin Behn, professor of English and director of the club. "The emphasis is on fun and trying new things with writing in a stimulating environment. Most kids who come the first day want to bring all their friends the next week!”

The 12-week program is free and allows young writers to work closely with published poets and prose writers from one of the country's premiere creative writing programs.

In addition to the after school program, a two-week Creative Writing Camp is held every year in June. The Creative Writing Camp meets daily, Monday through Friday afternoons, for two weeks.

To register for the weekly spring sessions, send an email with the student's name, address, phone number, email address, school name and grade level to For more information, visit Registration for the summer camp begins in April.

The program works to inspire student writers from across Tuscaloosa County and is made possible through support from the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, the University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Alabama Department of English, and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

2012 Realizing the Dream Legacy Series

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell delivered the keynote address at the Realizing the Dream banquet on Jan. 13. Realizing the Dream awards were also awarded. Click on photos below for more information.


Engaged Scholarship in Walker County


 RESEARCH "“ SERVICE "“ PARTNERSHIP Receive 8 credit hours partnering with Walker County communities! 3 hours for NEW 490 and 5 hours for Summer 2012 internship

Join us for LUNCH and Introductory Q & A, 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 7, New College Lounge, Lloyd 216

With New College faculty, Walker Area Community Foundation Executive Director Paul Kennedy; Director of Operations Cristy Moody; and Walker Area Transformational Coalition for Health (WATCH) board member Dr. Karl Hamner, assistant dean of Scholarly Affairs, Capstone College of Nursing and School of Social Work

NEW COLLEGE Spring Course and Summer Community-Based Research Internship

Engaged Scholarship in Walker County

Institutions of higher education and local citizens are rich sources of knowledge for addressing complex, socio-economic issues facing Alabama communities. This academic course/internship provides the opportunity to experience the dynamic work of engaged scholarship by combining UA student academic research and service-learning with the wisdom and civic commitment of community partners in the Walker County area.

The spring 2012 NEW 490 course is a prerequisite for the 5 credit hour, two-month, summer internship in Walker County. It will cover principles and practices in community-based research and civic engagement, and it is specifically designed for the project development necessary for an engaged scholarship experience. Enrollment in this course indicates the intention to live and work as an embedded community-based research intern in Walker County during June and July 2012.

Class meeting times to be determined in consultation with students and Walker County partners. For more information about the course, internship opportunities, and internship application requirements, contact Lane McLelland, or 205-348-2642. To view a presentation of the Summer 2011 pilot internship program given at the Alabama Possible Lifetime of Learning Summit, go to: 

Auburn Announces First Academy for Community & Civic Engagement, May 14-16, 2012

The Community and Civic Engagement Initiative within Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts announces the first annual Academy for Community and Civic Engagement for faculty throughout the southeast in the arts and humanities who are interested in incorporating civic engagement/service learning practices into their courses, outreach scholarship, and P & T documentation. ACCE will provide an intense 3-day workshop for successful applicants.

The purpose of the Academy for Community and Civic Engagement is:

  • To promote and develop community and civic engagement initiatives among faculty and colleges in the region;
  • To encourage faculty to develop courses with civic engagement/service learning experiences for students;
  • To foster collaborative teaching, research, and outreach efforts among faculty and across universities; and
  • To provide resources and support for community and civically engaged faculty.

For more information, contact Dr. Giovanna Summerfield, Associate Dean for Educational Affairs (email:, phone: 334-844-2890), or go to:

CCBP Awards Ceremony 2011 in Pictures

Faculty and staff, students and community partners convened for the fifth Center for Community-Based Partnerships Awards Ceremony in Tuscaloosa on April 22.

Representatives of the Community Affairs Division of The University of Alabama presented awards for outstanding engagement activities initiated by students, faculty, and partners. David Wilson, the keynote speaker and president of Morgan State University, accepted an award for leadership in engaged scholarship.

More information to follow in subsequent posts.




Homegrown Farmers Market WILL GO ON this Thursday, May 5

Hello ladies and gents,

I hope that this email finds you and your loved ones safe and sound after that terrible storm. Canterbury Episcopal thankfully was not damaged and has been functioning overtime as a collection center for donations. I hate that our fourth year will begin in these circumstances, but Homegrown will be sure to contribute to the relief effort however we can. Despite the turmoil around us (and today’s gloomy weather), everyone needs good fuel, a little pep in their step, and a hearty laugh every once in a while. So come out to the market and enjoy yourselves.

The market this week will function both as its normal fun-loving self and as a drop-off point for donations for the ongoing disaster relief. Customers are encouraged to donate produce and other goods purchased at the market in addition to bringing outside donations. Cash donations will be accepted in order to provide food assistance for those affected by the storms. Other items that can’t be purchased at the market but are still needed include: canned/boxed food, can openers, tarps for covering roofs, medical supplies, batteries, flashlights, hygiene products, ponchos, underwear and socks; baby items including diapers, diaper cream, wipes and formula; pet supplies including newspapers, dog/cat food, carrying crates and litter; new and gently used children's toys.

Limited parking for market customers will be available on Canterbury’s lawn this year.

In addition to the extensive variety of produce that’s normally available, this year the market will feature locally grown, all natural grass feed beef and goat cheese.

Another exciting addition: Homegrown now accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps. An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) machine will be at the market to transfer SNAP funds into $1 and $3 tokens with the Homegrown Alabama label. As part of an incentive program, Homegrown will match every $10 spent using SNAP with an additional $5 in tokens (while funds last).

Musicians Ham Bagby and Friends will perform at the opening market. We’ll also have children’s activities, including face painting and coloring booklets.

I hope to see you there!


Homegrown Alabama

(205) 210-9621

Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market Kicks Off at UA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. "“ The Homegrown Alabama Farmers Market will open on Thursday, May 5, with a Cinco de Mayo celebration and will continue every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. through Oct. 27 at the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel lawn on Hackberry Lane between Bryant Drive and University Boulevard.

Homegrown Alabama is a nonprofit, student-led group at The University of Alabama. The program seeks to educate students and community members about the value of local produce, as well as to foster partnerships between local farmers, UA and the greater Tuscaloosa community.

The Cinco de Mayo celebration will feature Mexican food and music, and artisans will be on hand along with the weekly vendors who sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods, beef, cut flowers, coffee and tea, eggs, homemade herbal teas, soap, pralines, canned goods, hot foods and arts and crafts.

Homegrown Alabama recently received approval to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer, the system for distributing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

A machine will be located at the market to transfer EBT-SNAP funds into $1 and $3 tokens with the Homegrown Alabama label. Tokens can be used to purchase fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, maple and honey products, and seeds and plants that produce foods.

As part of an incentive program, Homegrown will match every $10 spent using EBT with an additional $5 in tokens, while funds last. The tokens cannot be refunded but will never expire and can be used at any Homegrown Farmers Market throughout the 2011 season or any season thereafter.

In addition to accepting EBT, Homegrown Alabama will continue its participation in the Canterbury Episcopal food pantry program, Deacon's Deli, which distributes vouchers to its patrons to purchase produce at the market. Market vendors and customers will also be encouraged to donate fresh food to Deacon's Deli and Meals on Wheels.

For more information on the EBT incentive program and how to donate, call 205/210-9621, or visit

Story courtesy of The University of Alabama.


Click here to download an application 

The Community Service Center is accepting applications for a summer Habitat project in Baldwin County, Alabama known as House United.

We are excited about this new project where 20 UA students will work with 20 Auburn University students to build an  entire house for a family in just one week, and we want to encourage you, or other students that you know, to apply for this unique opportunity.

The dates are June 12-18.  The cost is $250 which covers meals, lodging, and transportation.  The deadline for applications has been extended to Wednesday, April 27–the application is attached.  Please consider volunteering for this opportunity, and please feel free to forward this message to other students who may be interested in participating. If you have questions about this project, please direct them to:

Wahnee Sherman, Ed.D.

Director, Community Service Center

The University of Alabama

Box 870292

Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Make a Difference.Change the World. VOLUNTEER.