Council on Community-Based Partnerships Meeting | November 7, 2018

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In attendance:  Carol Agomo, Carrie Barnes (for Dr. Hee Lee), Karyn Bowen, Julia Brock, Jackie Brodsky, Dee Cook, George Daniels, Elizabeth Hartley, Beverly Hawk, Peter Hlebowitsh, Diane Kennedy-Jackson, CeeCee Johnson, Billy Kirkpatrick, Tony LeMieux, Stephanie McClure, Holly Morgan, Ed Mullins, Nicole Prewitt, Samory T. Pruitt, Sarah Saeed, Hailah Said, Whitney Sewell, Tommie Syx, Matthew Wisla, Luna Yang

Dr. Hlebowitsh, dean of the College of Education and chair of the Council on Community-Based Partnerships, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming. He then turned the agenda over to the rest of the individuals listed.

A video highlighting the goals and ambitions of the Community Affairs Board of Advisors (BOA) members was shown. This video was produced for use at the BOA fall gala, a fund-raising event held Sept. 10 in Birmingham.

The video was followed by announcements for the engaged scholarship in action segment of the meeting. Julia Brock, assistant professor, UA Department of History, shared that she is a new faculty member who came to this, her first Council meeting, in order to make new connections through the Council. Stephanie McClure, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, also a new faculty member, said she wants to learn about community needs in the West Alabama area and then determine a community partner. Tony LeMieux, an American Fellow on the Council for Education and director of the Global Studies Institute at Georgia State University, is interested in learning more about the engaged scholarship initiatives at UA. Tommie Syx, retired program specialist at the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, shared that she is currently working with the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force and would love to help anyone connect that might need help meeting new people for their projects.

Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, gave an update on the new Student Community Engagement Center, which will be located in Capital Hall. Pruitt shared that the concept for this space is to facilitate opportunities for UA students to work across disciplines with other students in the manner that we encourage faculty members to do. Renovation of the existing space is set to begin soon, and the Center is scheduled to open early in the 2019 spring semester. It will feature six offices, collaborative space and common workspace, with reconfigurable furniture that will allow for flexibility and future expansion. Pruitt shared that students have had a lot of input on what the space will look like, and also noted that Matthew Wisla, instructor, Advertising and Public Relations, and his students have been a big part of this, creating the first Prezi presentation about the Center. The Crimson White is writing an article about the Center.

Those in attendance were asked to begin identifying possible partnerships that might be utilized to apply for seed funds or any other of the Council awards opportunities. Information about the call for proposals can be found on the Council website at The deadline to apply for seed funds and other awards is Feb. 1, 2019. Travel fund applications are due Feb. 15, 2019. The annual awards program will take place Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Dr. Holly Morgan, director of Community Education in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) gave an update on Vision Days 2018. The program brought 400 ninth graders to campus to learn about the majors offered at UA, as well as about admission requirements, scholarships and other funding sources. The event, which aligned with the objectives of the BOA, as well as with requests from faculty members who attended the New Faculty Community Engagement Tour this past spring, targeted students from traditionally underserved areas attending schools with whom UA already has relationships. The program brought groups of students to campus on four separate days over a period of two weeks in October. Ninth graders were chosen because of the state’s career development course, which is targeted to them. Morgan indicated that we plan to track these students over the next four years. A Vision Days 2018 video produced at CCBP was shown.

Dr. Beverly Hawk, director of Global and Community Engagement, CCBP, and Hailah Said, Fulbright alumna, reported on how UA’s Fulbright program offers qualifying students an opportunity to go out into the world and gain cultural and educational experiences while allowing those from other countries the opportunity to meet people from the U.S. and, more specifically, Alabama.

UA Fulbright recently returned from Puebla, Mexico, where the Fulbright Association held its 41st annual conference. Said attended to represent UA and to share information with other universities that might be interested in our Global Café model and how we used it to become a Fulbright Top Producer among PhD-granting institutions. The University currently sits at 18th in the nation, ahead of Yale University. She shared that conference attendees actively sought out UA and wanted to know what our approach and strategy was for targeting students to apply for Fulbright. They also wanted to know how we produced such a high number of awardees. Said noted that people were impressed that UA has programs in place to help our Fulbright scholars maintain relationships with their host countries. Additionally, several Fulbright advisors requested contact information, with plans to pursue the possibility of coming to Alabama to see our program in action.

Dr. Hawk invited everyone to attend the upcoming Fulbright information session on Tuesday, Nov. 13, for an evening at Global Café from 5–7 p.m. at CCBP. She also encouraged meeting attendees to share this information with any professors or students they know who might be interested in attending or finding out more about the Fulbright scholarship opportunity.

Dr. Nicole Prewitt, director of Programs and Partnerships for Community Engagement, CCBP, gave an update on the Neighborhood Partnership Committee (NPC). She shared information about FrameWork, the city of Tuscaloosa’s comprehensive plan, which will include an update to the city zoning code that was last updated in 1972. The plan will be used by the city to frame programs that occur within the city, as well as some of the city’s laws. Prewitt invited all present to be a part of the comprehensive plan by providing their feedback, which will give guidance in terms of long-term decision-making. She noted that since the last time the city plan was updated a decade ago, we have experienced a global recession, the 2011 tornado — which impacted 12 percent of the city — and tremendous population growth in Tuscaloosa.

Prewitt encouraged attendance at a community event that will take place Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m. The event, called “Forum on the Future,” is a planned two-hour workshop that seeks input from those with an interest in the future of Tuscaloosa. This includes students. All are encouraged to register in advance at to aid the organizers in accommodating all who wish to participate. NPC has spent the past several months planning for this event, which will take place at the Tuscaloosa River Market. For more information, contact Prewitt at

Dr. Pruitt gave an update on national engagement scholarship, reporting that the 2018 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) annual conference and pre-conference took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late September and early October. He said that this year, the first pre-conference event for community-engagement professionals was held, with an expectation of 25 attendees. Fifty people attended, placing this event on the agenda in the future. Additionally, this conference included the first awards program, with this year’s institutional award going to the University of Wisconsin-Extension. The award in 2019 will be presented to The Ohio State University at the annual conference, which will be held in Denver, Colorado.

Additionally, ESC is planning to hold regional conferences in the future and has put out an RFP for institutions that are part of ESC and that are interested in hosting such conferences. Pruitt explained that the idea behind this is to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone can obtain funding to attend a national conference. This will also present a unique opportunity to engage more students and community partners in those areas. Additionally, this will help ESC get back to its roots when it hosted national conferences on college campuses — something that is no longer possible because of the growth of the Consortium membership. These regional conferences will help us to not lose the original tone and framework of ESC. Additionally, Pruitt would love to see an RFP to bring students together for a regional conference.

ESC will also provide seed funding to faculty members from across the country who have projects in engaged scholarship. The consortium will fund anywhere from $500 up to $5,000 per grant. That RFP will be in circulation by February 1, 2019. This model will be framed much like our Council awards program at UA.

Dr. Pruitt also shared that he recently attended a conference at The University of Tennessee, for the purpose of discussing engaged scholarship. He said one question that kept coming up was how UA came up with the idea for its Council on Community-Based Partnerships. Many institutions are interested in the Council model and how we connect our students through programs like SCOPE (Scholars for Community Outreach, Partnership and Engagement). What we are doing at The University of Alabama is being noticed nationwide.

Dr. Hlebowitsh concluded the meeting with announcements as follows, encouraging everyone to save the dates and mark their calendars.

Future Council meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, February 21, 2019, 11:30 a.m. — Bryant Conference Center, Rast Room B
  • Thursday, March 21, 2019, 11:30 a.m. — Ferguson Center, Room 3104

The 13th Annual Excellence Awards and SCOPE Showcase are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019 — Ferguson Student Center

We are planning to host the 3rd annual New Faculty Engagement Tour in May 2019. Dates will be announced.

Meeting was adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

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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.”