Innovators Recognized with Community Engagement Awards

The UA Council on Community-Based Partnerships honored members of the UA community and local partners at its 16th annual Excellence in Community Engagement Awards.

Chris Gill is pictured with university leadership while holding his award
Doctoral student Chris Gill (center) accepts the Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar Student award. From left, Dr. Russell J. Mumper, Dr. James McLean, Dr. Samory Pruitt and Dr. James T. Dalton.

The council connects 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 are represented on the council made up of campus and community members.

“The annual awards aim to bring deserved attention to the remarkable individual efforts that embody the endeavors of the Council on Community-Based Partnerships,” said Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh, dean of the College of Education and chair of the council’s executive committee. “It is simultaneously a celebration and a serious acknowledgment of the innovative and life-reaching work being conducted by and through this body.

“It is also an opportunity to fête our wonderful partners. And with each successive year, even as we acknowledge our successes, we hope and understand that the best work is yet to come.”

A list of awardees is below.

Outstanding Special Achievement in Community Engagement Award: James E. McLean was selected in recognition of a lifetime commitment to higher education leadership and research, and for his unique contributions to the field of community-engaged scholarship.

Distinguished Teaching and Learning in Engaged Scholarship: Terri Henley was selected in recognition of her exemplary leadership and dedication to advancing community-engaged teaching and learning across campus and beyond, and for serving as an inspiration to students and colleagues alike.

Zachary David Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Ashton Fisher is a junior majoring in criminal justice, with minors in psychology and cyber criminology. She has a 4.0 GPA and is equally dedicated to the many organizations of which she is a member. Fisher began working in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships as a freshman assisting with Global Café. She continues to be involved with the center’s other programs, most notably with Vision Days.

Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar, Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth K. “Liz” Wilson is a professor and senior associate dean in the College of Education. Wilson’s career of teaching, research and service has focused on collaborations between the University and K–12 schools. She believes that successful education requires the support of the community.

Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar, Staff: Dr. Andrew M. Goodliffe is an associate professor of geological sciences and associate dean in the Graduate School. As a geophysicist, he has worked throughout the world on geophysical projects including active volcanoes, continental rifting, seafloor mapping and geological carbon sequestration. As associate dean of the Graduate School, he is responsible for admission, recruitment, fellowships and student support programs. 

Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar, Student: Chris Gill is a doctoral student in the College of Education’s educational psychology program. His research is focused on military transition initiatives involving identity-based approaches that help veterans achieve overall well-being and prevent the crises that lead to suicidal behaviors. His doctoral dissertation will focus on identity statuses of student veterans in higher education. 

Distinguished Community-Engaged Scholar, Community Partner: Through his nonprofit, Academics in Motion, Northport City Councilman Woodrow Washington purchased the Robert Hasson Community Center from the City of Northport in 2018 to keep the facility a go-to place for families. The center offers after-school tutoring, learning through sports, computer literacy, senior citizen outreach programs and community partnerships.

Outstanding Community Partner-Initiated Engagement Effort: Housing Authority of Greene County

Outstanding Student-Initiated Engagement Effort: Daniel Community Scholars Program; UA Society of American Archivists Student Chapter Podcast Team

Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort: CommuniVax Alabama; Return My Vote

Seed Fund Awards: Federation of Southern Cooperative Community Archive; Theatrical Engagement Intervention and Critical Thinking

Travel Fund Awards: Spoons, Stoppers and Spiles: Do Mothers Favor Familiar Objects for Playtime?; Partnering for Student Success: Academic and Student Affairs Working Together on Community Engagement Programs

Poster Presentation: Young Authors Program for Improved Writing Achievement and Community Engagement; Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) Students’ Perceptions of Nontraditional Teaching Experiences in Community Partnerships; UA Vision Days Legacy Program: Using University Resources to Help High School Students See the Benefits of Postsecondary Education; Increasing Teacher Self-Efficacy for Writing Instruction Through a Professional Development Focused on Equity-Based Writing Instructional Practices; Vision Days: Using University Resources to Help High School Students See the Benefits of Postsecondary Education

Graduate Student Fellowship: Nutrition Education through Gaming; MATHCOUNTS-Tuscaloosa; Assessing the Potential Impacts of Proposed Interstate 14 on the Communities of Interest in Selma, Alabama

Read more about the award winners and their work on the Center for Community Based Partnerships’ website.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,