Tag: community affairs

UA Announces First Class of New Parent Leadership Academy

September 17th, 2007

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. "“ The inaugural class of The University of Alabama's new Parent Leadership Academy was introduced Thursday night at a kickoff ceremony at UA's Child Development Research Center.

Those present for the ceremony included Dr. Samory Pruitt, UA vice-president for community affairs; Dr. Sandra Ray, member of the Alabama State Board of Education; Dr. Joyce Levey, superintendent of the Tuscaloosa City Schools; and Dr. Frank Costanzo, superintendent for the Tuscaloosa County Schools.

The Parent Leadership Academy, a joint initiative of Tuscaloosa city and county public schools, the UA Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and faculty in UA's Colleges of Education and Human Environmental Sciences, is a year-long certificate program that aids in developing the leadership potential of parents in the West Alabama area.

2007-08 class members are: Amanda Bearden, Cottondale Elementary; Scottie L. Burden, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary; Jesse Dixon Jr., Woodland Forrest Elementary; Bryan K. Fair, Rock Quarry Elementary; Donnie Grill, Woodland Forrest; Felicia Gross, Arcadia Elementary; Ingrid Holemon, Arcadia; Robin Holmes, Taylorville Primary; Spike Howard Jr., Faucett-Vestavia Elementary; Roderick Johnson, Matthews Elementary; Elizabeth Lucious, Martin Luther King; Stacie Lunsford, Taylorville; Shanon Lyles, Crestmont Elementary; Dwight Monroe, Rock Quarry; Faye Perry, Oakdale Elementary; Tena Phifer, Crestmont; Juandalyn Smith-Swoope, Oakdale; Brandi Sturdivant, Cottondale; Robin Thornburg, Faucett-Vestavia; and Marie Washington, Matthews.

"These are parents who are active in the schools and represent the best of the best," said Pruitt. "Our hope is that they will continue to remain active in schools, will become more aware of the challenges facing other parents and schools, and will inspire and actively recruit other parents to become more involved."

Similar programs, Pruitt said, have begun across the country. The Tuscaloosa program is believed to be the first in Alabama.

"We see this as a wonderful opportunity to collaborate, educate, and expand the capacity of our school children's parents with support from The University of Alabama, their school system, and community members. Through respect, commitment, creativity, and safety, we see our families totally engaged in the lives of their children, networking with other parents, building a firm foundation for the success of our future…our children," said Levey.

"This Academy will prove to be an excellent resource to build parent leadership as we strive to improve the academic success for all students," said Costanzo.

For more information on the Parent Leadership Academy, contact Dr. Estelle Ryan Clavelli at 205/348-7367 or estelleryan.clavelli@ua.edu.

UA Invited to Join Elite Outreach Group

June 19, 2007

TUSCALOOSA "“ The University of Alabama has been invited to join an elite national organization that recognizes the University's achievements in outreach scholarship.

UA becomes the fifth member of the Outreach Scholarship Partnership (OSP). Others are Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Wisconsin Colleges/University of Wisconsin-Extension. All are national leaders in partnerships that unify teaching, research and service.

"This invitation is significant in that it puts the University on par with the nation's best in outreach scholarship. Further, it gives us resources that will make our programs even stronger," said Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, UA vice president for community affairs, in accepting the membership.

Pruitt said UA's Center for Community-Based Partnerships played a major role in the University's invitation. "CCBP focuses University expertise on the most critical social and economic problems identified by community partners," he said.

CCBP and its council "“ made up of 50 faculty, staff, student and community members representing most UA disciplines and many community organizations "“ coordinate engagement scholarship for the campus.

Activities include an annual awards program, research grants, a research journal, a newsletter and a Web site, ccbp.ua.edu.

"I am pleased to see the teaching and research of our faculty used to enrich communities through partnerships such as these," said Dr. Judy Bonner, UA executive vice president and provost. "And I am especially pleased that our students, working with their faculty mentors, are getting such a wonderful opportunity to reinforce their classroom experience while improving the lives of others."

Among 2007 CCBP projects are The West End Journal, a partnership of UA, Stillman College, The Tuscaloosa News and the Alabama Press Association. With staff composed of students and community residents, WEJ and www.wej.com cover news and information vital to thousands in an underserved section of Tuscaloosa. WEJ was one of nine projects recognized at CCBP's first awards program in April.

UA's Dr. Edward Mullins and Stillman's Amanda Brozana have been invited to present their WEJ research at the Outreach Scholarship Conference in Madison, Wis., Oct. 5-7. Other UA presenters at the conference include Dr. Heather Pleasants, College of Education; Dr. Lisa Shaul, Honors College; Dr. Marsha Adams, Capstone College of Nursing, and Dr. Scott Bridges and Bethany Collins, Creative campus. The conference, one of the main benefits of OSP membership, showcases the nation's top engagement projects.

In his invitation to UA, Ohio State's vice president for university outreach, Dr. Bobby D. Moser, said membership gives UA a position on OSP's steering and implementation committees and puts UA in line to be a future host of the national conference. Membership also affiliates UA with the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, the top scholarly journal in the field.

Another CCBP-affiliated program is the Rural Health Research Consortium, a National Institutes of Health initiative to improve health care in rural communities. Dr. John Higginbotham and Pamela Payne-Foster, M.D., are UA's principal investigators in this project.

Others include water sanitation in Hale County by the College of Engineering, a language lab for Hispanics new to the community, entrepreneurial outreach for businesses and schools in rural Alabama by the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, and a mentoring program for future UA college students from the Black Belt by the School of Social Work.

Dr. Estelle Ryan Clavelli, CCBP associate director of community education, who is in charge of the English Language Lab, says it has been one of the most popular offerings of the new center.

"The number of Hispanics in Alabama has been growing dramatically," Clavelli said, "and they have found a much-needed resource in our lab, which has been drawing as many as 50 visitors a week."

Pruitt said getting a new home for the campus' engagement activities (the Cannon House, 824 4th Avenue, near the Sheraton Hotel on campus) has helped greatly. "However, we are already about to outgrow it. But that's what you would like to see in a new program."

Pruitt, who holds bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees from UA, was named vice president for community affairs in 2004. In addition to serving as CCBP executive director, he oversees the University's Equal Opportunity Programs, Crossroads Community Center, the Martin Luther King Realizing the Dream committee, and other campus and external community activities.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is in the midst of planned, steady enrollment growth with a goal of reaching 28,000 students by 2010. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state’s economy, is in keeping with UA’s vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state’s flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.