Campus Compact Announces 2023 Impact Award Recipients

Institutions, faculty, and community engagement professionals recognized for outstanding work pursuing the public purposes of higher education

2023 Impact Awards

Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, announces this year’s recipients of the Campus Compact Impact Awards: the Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award, the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement, the Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation, and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation. These awards recognize the outstanding work of individuals and institutions in pursuit of the public purposes of higher education.

“The resounding impact of the individuals and institutions celebrated by these awards can be felt on campuses and in communities around the world,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “They serve as exemplars of the power of engaged higher education. Through scholarship, teaching, institutional action, and deep engagement with communities, they demonstrate the multitude of ways higher education can contribute to a just, equitable, and sustainable future.”

The recipients of these awards will be recognized during a summer event series hosted by Campus Compact and IARSLCE to celebrate the recipients of each organization’s annual awards.

Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award

The Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award celebrates the ethical leadership and advocacy demonstrated by Community Engagement Professionals. Recipients have demonstrated collaboration with communities focused on transformative change; a commitment to justice-oriented work; and an impact on the larger movement to build ethical and effective community engagement locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

This year’s recipients of the Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Award are Katie Haar and Star Plaxton-Moore.

Katie Haar, Chandler-Gilbert Community College Service-Learning & Civic Engagement Program Supervisor, is recognized for her leadership in streamlining and facilitating student civic and community engagement. In her work, it is evident that Haar is a strong supporter of student innovation, facilitating new student-led activities that help them develop a sense of leadership and agency. In turn, Haar has brought her own innovations to campus through new programs and initiatives that contribute to student success and strengthen community ties. Examples include her work responding to the COVID-19 pandemic—bringing community engagement online and supporting an on-campus vaccination center—and voter engagement efforts, which have resulted in multiple awards from the ALL IN Democracy Challenge.

Star Plaxton-Moore, University of San Francisco’s Director of Community-Engaged Learning of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good is recognized for her transformational work supporting and advocating for critical and justice-oriented community-engaged learning. Her work focuses on building accountability and respect among faculty, community partner co-educators, and students. Through on-campus initiatives and her multiple publications, Plaxton-Moore has provided professional development for faculty across the country, resulting in engaged learning courses that are centered in social justice and sustain equitable and mutually beneficial relationships. Plaxton-Moore was also named the 2022-2023 Campus Compact faculty development fellow, and has continued her work supporting faculty in redesigning curricula to incorporate community-engaged learning.

Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award

The Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award recognize early career and senior faculty, respectively, who practice exemplary engaged scholarship through teaching and research. The awards are presented in partnership with Brown University’s Swearer Center. Recipients are selected on the basis of their collaboration with communities, institutional impact, and high-quality academic work.

This year’s recipients of the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement are Jennifer Carrera and Samantha Francois.

Jennifer Carrera, assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University is recognized for her deep commitment to environmental justice and for supporting and uplifting the voices of marginalized communities that are impacted by environmental crises. Her research, which focuses on water access and water quality for low-income communities in the United States, centers the expertise of residents in experiencing and responding to public health crises. She undertakes this work through a racial equity lens, exploring how structural and historical systems perpetuate disparities in environmental health. Through her work, Carrera aims to arm community members with the tools they need to promote their vision of health and well-being and to hold those entrusted with ensuring public health accountable. For the past seven years, Carrera has worked with the residents of Flint, Michigan across multiple projects, supporting their efforts to find answers to ongoing questions about local public health.

Samantha Francois, assistant professor at Tulane University’s School of Social Work, executive director of the Violence Prevention Institute, and co-director of the Center for Youth Equity, is recognized for her deep commitment to community voice in both her research and teaching—elevating the expertise and knowledge of community members that complement and enhance traditional higher education. Her research, which is primarily focused on violence exposure, trauma, and mental health in Black adolescents and young adults, centers the voices of communities that are often pushed to the social margins, uplifting counternarratives to the status quo. She undertakes this work through an anti-racist and intersectional lens aimed at social transformation and community liberation. In her teaching, Francois emphasizes experiential learning that engages students with community members in a community-based setting, helping them to develop a sense of leadership, empathy, and social responsibility. In addition to her role as assistant professor, Francois serves as executive director of the Violence Prevention Institute at Tulane and co-director of the Center for Youth Equity, a CDC National Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention.

In addition, Mark Congdon, assistant professor of communication studies and faculty advisor to PRSSA at Sacred Heart University, has been recognized as a Lynton Award finalist.

This year’s recipient of the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award is Emily Andrea Sendin. 

Emily Andrea Sendin, professor of communication, arts & philosophy at Miami Dade College, is recognized as a champion of change-making education, creating community-engaged learning experiences that inspire students and prepare them for lives of informed, engaged participation in our democracy. Since 2007, over 1,100 of Sendin’s students have participated in community-engaged learning projects through her classes. Throughout her work, Sendin demonstrates a deep understanding of the power of engaging students in their communities, working side-by-side with them to build mutually beneficial partnerships with community members. There are numerous examples of partnerships facilitated by Sendin that have resulted in meaningful positive change in communities in south Florida and around the world.

In addition, the following faculty have been named Ehrlich Award finalists: Jennifer Wesely, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of North Florida, and Bryan Crandall, director of the Connecticut Writing Project and associate professor of English education at Fairfield University.

Richard Guarasci and Eduardo J. Padrón Awards for Institutional Transformation

The Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation recognize four-year or graduate institutions and community colleges, respectively, that have successfully implemented institution-wide efforts to address issues of public concern by aligning teaching, research, practice, and values in service of the common good. The recipients, listed below, have undertaken comprehensive efforts to advance the values articulated in Campus Compact’s 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors.

This year’s recipient of the Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation is Trinity College.

Trinity College’s commitment to community engagement is demonstrated by its deep integration into and partnerships with the city of Hartford, Connecticut, where the campus is located. This is evidenced by the 2018 creation of the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER), which united the efforts of five existing programs and created a hub for holistic and coordinated community engagement work. The collective efforts undertaken by CHER have facilitated collaboration and connection among civically engaged students and community members, with two-thirds of Trinity students participating in at least one community-engaged course during their time at college.

This year’s recipient of the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation is Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Piedmont Virginia Community College, a public community college located in Charlottesville, Virginia, was founded on the belief that education transforms lives and strengthens communities. PVCC’s commitment to preparing students for lives of engaged citizenship is evidenced by curricular and co-curricular activities. For the past three years, PVCC has offered civic engagement classes in each major and made them a requirement for graduation. PVCC maintains a deep emphasis on civic learning and action—engaging students in its PVCC Votes! initiative, facilitating campus-wide deliberative dialogues, and garnering numerous recognitions for on-campus voter engagement.

For more information contact:
Molly Leiper, Director of Communications, Campus Compact,

Campus Compact's Impact Awards

Learn more about eligibility criteria, past recipients, and other details about the Campus Compact Impact Awards.