2013 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award

BattistoniCampus Compact has chosen Richard Battistoni, Professor of Political Science and Public and Community Service Studies and Director, Feinstien Institute for Public Service at Providence College, RI to receive the 2013 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.  The Ehrlich Award is given annually to recognize one senior, tenured faculty member for exemplary leadership in advancing students’ civic learning, supporting community engagement, and contributing to the public good.

“We seek out faculty who are champions for fostering their institution’s commitment to civic engagement and community-based learning,” explain Campus Compact president Maureen Curley. “We are proud to recognize Professor Battistoni’s depth of work and the extraordinary impact he has made in the field, his school, and the community.”

“Civic engagement has been the hallmark of my academic work.  Receiving this award goes beyond the recognition of my life’s work that it signifies, as I have been deeply influenced by Tom Ehrlich, first as a mentor and scholar, then later as a colleague and supporter.  To have my name connected with his is a testament to the value and importance of this work,” stated Professor Battistoni.

Since 1989, every course taught by Battistoni has incorporated a major civic or community engagement component, either in the form of a significant community-based service or research project, a community organizing effort, or a civic action or reflection commitment.

As founding and current Director of the Feinstein Institute, he helped create and maintain an interdisciplinary curriculum leading to a major and minor in Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College, the first of its kind in the nation.  With the support of the Feinstein Institute, Providence College has over the years developed new curriculum-based community engagement courses in departments ranging from Education to Global Studies to Philosophy.  Largely due to Professor Battistoni’s efforts, beginning with the Providence College Class of 2016, students will be fulfilling a Civic Engagement Proficiency requirement as part of the new Core Curriculum.

In his past positions at Rutgers University and Baylor University, Battistoni also directed campus-wide civic engagement efforts to increase the capacity of fellow faculty to offer courses with community-civic engagement components.

In his scholarly work, Professor Battistoni has chronicled and promoted best practices in civic engagement and has advanced the theory supporting the work of this field.    

“Professor Battistoni’s work defines what it means to produce ‘deeply engaged, high-quality academic work.’ He has demonstrated the integration of civic and community engagement into his teaching, research and service in a way that reflects his grounding in the discipline of political science and his commitment to do real work in the community,” said Dr. Sherril B. Gelmon, Professor of Public Health at Portland State University and 2011 Ehrlich Award Recipient.

“Rick has been instrumental in the continued success of Rhode Island Campus Compact, serving in multiple roles as a faculty leader, consultant, advisory member, speaker and facilitator at almost all of the member colleges and universities in the state,” explained Carrie Hertzberg, executive director of Rhode Island Campus Compact.

“For 31 years, Professor Battistoni has been a deeply engaged scholar and has been a committed leader in the institutionalization of community-based learning into the curriculum,” adds President Curley.  “Through his work he has championed the Campus Compact mission and we are very pleased to recognize this with the Ehrlich Award.”

Three finalists have also been acknowledged for their achievements.  They are:

  • Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor, Department of Communication, Fairfield University, CT
  • Mary Alice Morgan, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost for Service-Learning; Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Mercer University, GA
  • Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski, Ph.D., Professor, Sociology; Director, Community Involvement Center, Weber State University, UT

The Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award is generously sponsored by the KPMG Foundation.