Council on Community-Based Partnerships Meeting – October 25, 2017

In Attendance: Carol Agomo, David L. Albright, Karyn Bowen, Jackie Brodsky, Dee Cook, Martha Crowther, Andre Denham, Andrew Goodliffe, Karl Hamner, Elizabeth Hartley, CeeCee Johnson, Diane Kennedy-Jackson, Jim McLean, Lane McLelland, Ed Mullins, Jen Nickelson, Sarah Saeed, Whitney Sewell, Chas Shipman, Chris Spencer, Maruka Walker, Justin Washington

Dr. James E. McLean, executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), welcomed those in attendance and opened the meeting.

Dr. Martha Crowther, chair of the Proposal and Seed Funds Committee, reminded Council members that there are seed funds available for both faculty and staff members, as well as for students and community partners. She shared that her committee has been working to streamline the website application process. Crowther asked that everyone who applies for seed funding be certain that the research projects submitted are clear and that applicants include their community partner in their application. Submitting a letter from the community partner with the application will also help speed the process.

Crowther said the call for proposals is now open and urged those with questions to contact her via email at

Sabrina Thomas, assistant executive director, shared information about the Juvenile Justice Re-entry Program at Tuscaloosa’s One Place (TOP), noting that TOP recently received a federal grant from the office of juvenile delinquency prevention. Theirs is one of only six programs chosen for this grant, and serves children who are in that gap between being children and becoming adults and who are returning from various types of confined placement.

Thomas shared that TOP has collaborated with The University of Alabama School of Law and will have a third-year law student working with them in this three-part program on the issues of case management, legal services and mentoring. A part-time staff attorney will advise the law student regarding legal services that can be provided. Additionally, a case manager will be hired, and that individual will see families once each week. They have found that adults who are in families with these returning youth also need a mentoring program. Because of this, youth will obtain life skills and homework help while the adults in their lives receive help through Love, Inc., with training for job skills, budgeting and related issues.

In addition, they have spoken with Indian Rivers, Tuscaloosa Family Counseling Services and Shelton State Community College (for assistance with the GED program). Their goal is to help these young people successfully re-enter society.

McLean shared a brief update on the Gear-Up Alabama Program, which is designed to help students experience success in post-secondary education through school and career preparatory courses, as well as through peer tutoring. The seven-year program is housed fiscally at UAB and the director is there, as well. There are four CoPIs. McLean is one of them. Dr. George Daniels is also heavily involved with this project. The program began with a cohort of students in the 7th and 8th grades who are now in the 9th and 10th grades. In addition to the work done in their schools, there is also a Campus Activity Day that brings students participating in the program to the UA campus. The program works with students in 15 counties in the Black Belt region of Alabama, and many of these students have never previously visited a college campus. Program leaders are working on an expansion of the program for the future, to involve overnight stays, career exploration with presentations from three to four colleges and hands-on opportunities in these areas, as well as education on what it takes to prepare for these types of careers. Past projects include a dig at Old Cahawba and communications work. For more information, Council members may visit

Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, chair of the Executive Council, spoke briefly about the Promise Neighborhood Grants, a series of federal grants that requires bringing together schools, police departments, community leaders, churches and synagogues, and more. Based on grant criteria, it has been determined that the only agency on the UA campus that would be considered eligible for this grant is the Council on Community-Based Partnerships. Hlebowitsh shared that talks are underway regarding putting together an application before the June 2018 deadline. He said that at this point, we are working to see if we can start putting the pieces in place to successfully secure a Promise Neighborhood Grant. The University has never been through such a process before, but Hlebowitsh sees this as a real possibility for UA.

Additionally, Hlebowitsh said that he has expressed to faculty members in his college — the College of Education — that grants are not research related only, but that they can have very powerful service components. He believes this is a narrative that Council members need to spread across campus. Hlebowitsh has been trying to get faculty members to look to the Council to see if they could utilize this group of individuals to think in a way that is geared toward service-related grant components. One example given of this type of grant was the Wounded Warrior Project Grant put together by Dr. Karl Hamner and Dr. David L. Albright from the School of Social Work.

Ms. Carol Agomo, director of Community and Administrative Affairs, discussed the recent Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference hosted by Auburn University. The 2017 ESC Conference took place in late September in Birmingham. The conference had a record number of attendees this year — almost 600 — and continues to grow in attendance each year.

In related ESC news, The University of Alabama is seeing an increased number of presentations from UA faculty and staff at this annual gathering of community engagement professionals. This year, there were 20 oral and two poster presentations by UA faculty, staff, students and community partners. More information about the 2017 ESC Conference is available on the Community Affairs website at

McLean gave a brief update on the community collaborative space in Capital Hall. Beginning at the end of this semester, CCBP will move forward with a $1 million renovation of additional space in Capital Hall, which will be used for student groups working with community partners. McLean said that the overall goal is to design a creative, functional space that will facilitate communication across disciplines for students who share a commitment to community engagement.

Six entities will initially have space in this area, including the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the College of Community Health Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the Honors College and the School of Social Work. The initial contracts will support these groups for up to four years.

There will be several indoor work areas, as well as the ability to access outdoor space when needed. The planning committee for this space has already met for the first time and includes student and faculty representatives from the six entities involved. The second meeting is expected to be set within the next month. All involved hope to have the community collaborative space open by fall 2018. The Center also hopes to have six or more offices for use by community partners.

Agomo shared information about the Schweitzer Fellowship Program, which has 15 national offices, one of which is in Birmingham. The director of the Birmingham chapter reached out to the Council to help share this opportunity across campus. Agomo said that the Schweitzer Fellowship helps graduate students interested in addressing unmet community health needs and allows them to partner with organizations across the state. In the past, a number of UA and UAB medical students have participated. This is a year-long program that mentors students in their research design and in carrying out their efforts. The fellowship goal is not to simply propose a project, but to be certain there are actual outcomes — changes in the community — that can be assessed.

The application process requires the students to submit applications. The Council has been asked to identify qualified students who might be interested in applying for this fellowship. The application window is from November 2017 through February 2018. Two hundred hours of service (100 in specific service activities) are required, and appointments run from April–April. Handouts were available for those interested in learning more.

McLean gave a brief update on the ACCESS (Alabama Centralized Community-Engaged Scholarship System) project. During the last Council meeting, visitors from CAPS shared how they are developing a database that will show all of the Center’s programs occurring throughout the state. In the next phase, the website will be updated to show all UA community engagement and research activity. Approximately 50 percent of the projects from CCBP have already been entered into the database and CCBP is building a web page where this project will reside. Organizers hope to go live with this database by the first of the year (2018).

Dr. Jen Nickelson, chair of the Academic Conference and Presentation Committee, reminded attendees that anyone who is interested in applying for travel funds can apply for up to $1,000 through the committee. This is for the purpose of attending a conference to receive training or to support their research. Nickelson shared that the next deadline to apply for this award will be in February 2018. She shared that the application process is open to community members, students and faculty/staff as long as the travel is related to a community-engaged conference or training. Nickelson will be available for further questions as needed. There are also rubrics available to help show transparency regarding what our committees are looking for during each award funding process. These rubrics are available for download from the Council website at

Mclean shared that CCBP has two new employees coming on board in the near future.

Dr. Nicole Prewitt will take over Chris Spencer’s former position as he moves on to a new position within the Division of Community Affairs. A search was conducted to fill the position and Prewitt will serve as director of Programs and Partnerships for Community Engagement, CCBP, beginning Nov. 1, 2017. Prewitt earned her doctorate in adult and community education from Ball State University, a master of arts in education leadership from UAB and her undergraduate degree in biology, history and secondary education from Alabama A&M. She has served as a dean at both a 4-year and a 2-year institution here in Alabama and has worked directly with writing and obtaining grants within the area of community development. She also possesses an excellent publication record. Details of her position include working with Saving Lives, the Tuscaloosa Consortium for Higher Education, the Neighborhood Partnership Committee and possibly the Promise Neighborhood Grant.

Ms. Sarah Saeed will begin as program coordinator for CCBP Operations. She has already been involved in a number of programs around the University and holds a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and business. She is also on her way to earning a master’s degree in social work. Saeed has worked as a teacher assistant, a bookkeeper and on a number of other campus-wide programs. She has already taken over a number of the duties of this position, which was previously held by Ms. Yun Fu, who retired in August 2017. Saeed will come to work at the Center full-time beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

No additional announcements were made.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 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 Engagement and Scholarship, one of the leading refereed journals in the field.