Category: spotlight

CCBP/SCOPE Meeting to Feature Fulbright Panel, Global Café Success Stories, and Research Posters

The final meeting of the semester of the Council on Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) will partially overlap with the annual SCOPE Student Showcase program on Wednesday, April 13, enabling attendees to attend both events. Here is the schedule:

• 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Student Engagement Scholarship Showcase. This annual event, sponsored by SCOPE (Students for Community Outreach, Partnership, and Engagement), will take place in the Heritage Room of the Ferguson Center. All UA faculty and students are invited to attend. Dr. James E. McLean, CCBP executive director, oversees SCOPE activities.

• 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. — CCBP meets for lunch and final meeting of spring semester, also in the Ferguson Center’s Heritage Room. A five-student panel presentation will take place during the last 45 minutes of the Council meeting, beginning at 12:15 p.m. The panel will report on the international successes of the CCBP Global Café program and the Fulbright Advising Initiative. 

Tera Johnson, an undergraduate student in psychology, and Sarah Saeed, a graduate student in Social Work, will represent Global Café.

Speaking about their Fulbright experiences will be: Jilisa Milton, a social work graduate now working on a combined graduate degree in law and social work, who received a Fulbright English Teaching Award to Indonesia for 2014–15; Brandon Hooks, an international studies major, who is a Fulbright Teaching Award finalist to Spain for 2016–17; and Pandora White, a doctoral student in biochemistry, who is a Fulbright Research Award finalist to Poland for 2016–17. 

Cameryn Blackmore,  a doctoral student in political science, will moderate the SCOPE poster session, which is available for viewing during the Showcase and immediately before and after the Council meeting. Presenters and their poster titles are as follows: Antonio Gardner, Georgiana Logan, Rebecca Keating, Theresa Mince and Shawn Verberten, “Engaging Students in the LIVE Program”; Calia Torres, “Predictors of Patient Engagement in a Group Intervention for Chronic Pain: An Evaluation of Common Factors”; and Emma Sophia Kay, “Expanding HIV/AIDS Outreach Services to the Latino Community.”


Those wishing to attend lunch should email to make a reservation.

Heart Touch Takes Diversity Program to Holt Elementary School

By Peter Mullins and Jianlong Yang
Photos by Jianlong Yang
CCBP Student Assistants

HOLT — Social Work graduate student Fan Yang is using her awarding-winning Heart Touch program to help elementary students understand cultures different from their own. Yang, from China, has been working for the past two years to enhance cultural competency and understanding between different ethnic groups. She engages a diverse range of foreign volunteers from the University of Alabama to work with small groups of children as a way of bonding and sharing cultural differences.

Most recently, she took her program to Holt Elementary School in Tuscaloosa County, where Peng Shi, a tai chi instructor from Tuscaloosa, demonstrated the art to 30 fourth and fifth grade students. Earlier, she originated a pen pal program between elementary students in Alabama and China to help them get to know each others’ likes and interests.

Yang’s program addresses the need for young Americans and foreign students at the University of Alabama to understand different cultures. She affirms this purpose by saying: “Both populations [of Americans and foreign students] need to know each others’ culture very well. But they just don’t have access. That’s why I created the program to provide a blackboard so that each population could collaborate in order to know both cultures.”

Yang has plans to expand her program’s resources of foreign volunteers to include Korean students. This will be an addition to her already existing group of Chinese, Japanese and American volunteers.

“We have about ten Korean students right now as volunteers at Northington Elementary School. We are trying to add a Korean culture component after these volunteers know Heart Touch better,” Yang said.

Yang came up with the idea for the Heart Touch program while working as an intern at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. She won a CCBP Award for Student Excellence in Community-Engaged Scholarship in 2014.

In October, she began a program with Pandora White, an African-American graduate student in biochemistry, to help women and minorities see themselves as future engineers and scientists.


Ping Shi teaches Tai Chi to Holt Elementary School students for Heart Touch Program.
Fan Yang, left, the founder and leader of Heart Touch Program, and Ping Shi, Tai Chi instructor, pause during a break at Holt Elementary School.


An Evening at Global Café – Celebrating International Education in Tuscaloosa

Celebrating International Education in Tuscaloosa

As part of the Annual International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, The University of Alabama celebrates International Education Week with a variety of programs and activities that involve the entire community. 

Global Cafe participants from the U.S. and around the world invite you to join us as we celebrate international education in Tuscaloosa.  Our campus and community partners will lead a panel on career opportunities in International Education.   This event is free and open to the public.  Food and conversation will begin at 5:00 pm and the panel discussion will begin at 5:30 pm.  All are welcome.

You are the focus at Global Café.  Evenings at Global Café are opportunities to socialize and meet leaders from campus and community organizations. Each event is created by campus and community partners working together, Capstone International Center,Graduate Parent Support, Tuscaloosa’s One Place, the CCBP Student Leadership Team, Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa City Schools, the Tuscaloosa County School System, and Tuscaloosa Public Library.

Global Café takes place at The University of Alabama Center for Community-Based Partnerships, 900 Anna Avenue (directly behind Arby’s on University Boulevard). Free parking is available and bus stops are near. For more information, please check our website,, email, or call 205-348-7392.

More information and map:





Heart Touch Program, Chemistry Grad Student Collaboration Designed to Eliminate Career Stereotypes and Spread Cultural Diversity

By Peter Mullins
CCBP Student Assistant

Two university graduate students have begun a collaboration designed to change the stereotype of science and engineering as a career for white males only. While doing so, they also seek to educate the community about different cultures.

Fan Yang, a native of China, is a graduate student working in UA’s Crossroads Community Center. She is also a doctoral student in Social Work, who, along with Pandora White, an African-American graduate student in biochemistry, seeks to promote career opportunities in science regardless of race, sex and country of origin. Their efforts are part of Heart Touch, a program begun and directed by Yang for the past two years to enhance cultural competency and create greater understanding and knowledge between and among different ethnic groups.

Their most recent effort, on Oct. 12 in Shelby Hall on the UA campus, was entitled “#welooklikeresearchers.” Attendees were treated to dinner and a talk by White on career opportunities in science open to both men and women and to all racial and ethnic groups. White’s principal interest is in diabetes research.

“If people are rarely exposed to female or minority scientists,” she said, “they tend to think all scientists are male, white Americans. There are far too few female professors involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) research at the university. Our collaboration is designed to address that image.”

White got the idea for the collaboration at a conference she recently attended where conferees were using the “#Ilooklikeanengineer” Twitter hashtag to raise awareness of white male domination in the sciences and engineering.

To emphasize the diversity of looks and interest within the science field, White reported on her trip abroad in Taiwan, where she was conductng research, and her subsequent trip couch surfing in Japan.

Following White’s talk, the audience was treated to a Tai Chi performance led by local instructor Ping Shi and her students.

Yang said future programs that address stereotypes and enhance cultural competency across race, gender and nationality are being planned.

Photos by Jianlong Yang

Fan Yang, originator of the Heart Touch Program, prepares the next event designed to overcome stereotypes in career opportunities.
Fan Yang, originator of the Heart Touch Program, prepares the next event designed to overcome stereotypes in career opportunities.
Pandora White tells of her personal experiences during a symposium overcoming stereotypes in career opportunities.
Pandora White tells of her personal experiences during a symposium overcoming stereotypes in career opportunities.
Local instructor Ping Shi demostrates the art of Tai Chi to the students attending Heart Touch program.
Local instructor Ping Shi demostrates the art of Tai Chi to the students attending Heart Touch program.

Pruitt, Simon Honored, UA Well Represented at International Conference at Penn State


Pruitt, Simon Honored, UA Well Represented at International Conference at Penn State

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Two veteran University of Alabama personnel — Dr. Samory T. Pruitt and Dr. Cassandra Simon — received special recognition at the 16th Annual Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference held at Penn State University, Sept. 27–30. Pruitt is UA’s vice president for community affairs, and Simon is an associate professor of social work.

In 2016, Pruitt, in his 30th year as a UA employee and vice president for community affairs since 2004, will become only the second president of the ESC board of directors in its 17-year history.

Simon, a member of the UA social work faculty for 15 years, was honored as the founding editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES), published at the University of Alabama. JCES is a leading journal in the important field of engagement scholarship.

University President Stuart R. Bell commended Pruitt and Simon, saying: “I congratulate Dr. Pruitt and Dr. Simon for their distinguished achievements and for their contributions to the growing field of engagement scholarship. I also applaud the many UA faculty, staff and students who brought the Crimson Tide banner to Penn State in September.”

As president of the ESC board, Pruitt will preside over a 33-member board that sets policy for ESC institutions, which include many of the nation’s leading research universities, as well as a number of international institutions.

As vice president of community affairs, Pruitt is UA’s designated officer for the encouragement and production of engaged scholarship. In this capacity, he works with the academic deans and faculty to promote best engagement practices with communities in Alabama and beyond. He is the founder and publisher of JCES, sponsored and partially funded by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.

Also at the 2015 ESC conference, Pruitt was inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship, recognizing his leadership in engagement scholarship through contributions to the theory and practice of working with community partners to address mutual needs. The nomination undergoes a rigorous review of the nominee’s body of work based on excellence in using engagement scholarship practices and values to address society’s pressing problems.

Simon received her award at an ESC conference reception in appreciation of her leadership, dedication to excellence and commitment to engagement scholarship as founding editor of JCES, now in its ninth year. Volume 8, No. 2, which featured articles and coverage from the 2014 ESC conference held at the University of Alberta, Canada, was distributed to attendees at the 2015 conference. JCES is sponsored by the ESC.

UA was represented at the conference by 25 faculty, staff and students. They presented research papers and/or served as program conveners and moderators.

ESC is an international group of universities that promote engaged scholarship, a blend of university teaching, research and service that addresses critical societal problems in collaboration with community organizations with students often playing key roles.


PruittAwardCROPPED_01  Cassie_01

Dr. Samory T. Pruitt (left photo) and Dr. Cassandra Simon (right photo), both of the University of Alabama, were recognized at the 2015 Engagement Scholarship Consortium. Pruitt was inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship. Simon was recognized as the founding editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. Beginning in October, Pruitt became the second president of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium in its 16-year history. Standing with Pruitt is Dr. Patricia M. Sobrero, president of the ACES board of directors.