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.
“We are proud to celebrate the individuals and institutions that work hard every day to make our communities healthier, happier, and more resilient,” said Campus Compact President Bobbie Laur. “Each awardee’s unique approach—through scholarship, teaching, institutional action, and deep engagement with communities—illustrates how higher education can partner with communities and contribute to a just, equitable, and sustainable tomorrow.”
The recipients of these awards will be recognized at Compact24, Campus Compact’s annual conference, which will be held in Denver, Colorado from April 8-10, 2024.
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 recipient of the Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Award is Dr. Jamilah Ducar.
Jamilah Ducar, executive director of the engaged campus at the University of Pittsburgh, is recognized for her campus- and field-wide efforts and commitment to collaborating with communities to create transformative change. As a key leader on her campus, Ducar ensures the University of Pittsburgh is a visible and responsive partner with local communities by leading innovative and collaborative initiatives that engage countless community partners in meaningful capacities. In addition to her impressive portfolio of community engagement efforts, it is evident that Ducar demonstrates an exceptional commitment to ethics and justice and is an exemplar for other community engagement professionals.
“Dr. Ducar exemplifies the highest level of professional work in community engagement—exercising leadership in organized and sustained university-wide efforts that community partners can rely on for continuity and quality,” said Nadinne Cruz, a leader of community-based experiential learning and an innovator of the movement for the public purposes of higher education. “I congratulate Dr. Ducar for her leadership in the urgently needed work of repairing and weaving the fabric of humanity through institutionalized community engagement”
Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement and 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 recipient of the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement is Dr. Khirsten Scott.
Khirsten Scott is an assistant professor of language, literacy, and culture and director of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project at the University of Pittsburgh. Scott is recognized for her deep and meaningful work with Black girls, women, and communities in western Pennsylvania. Her work incorporates a strong theoretical approach that centers and embodies liberatory Black feminist and womanist practices and results in impactful change in communities. Scott is also recognized for her transformational work supporting and advocating for other community-engaged colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh. She quietly lifts up the important work of faculty and staff across campus, championing the role of community-engaged scholarship.
"As someone who benefited tremendously from Ernest’s mentorship and guidance, I know he’d be so proud to see this award continue and especially to have someone as deserving as Dr. Scott receiving this year’s award,” said Barbara Holland, a leader and scholar in the field of higher education civic and community engagement. “Dr. Scott’s meaningful and important work embodies Ernest’s principles and values, and it is inspiring to know the work continues with the next generation!”
This year’s recipients of the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award are Dr. Michelle Billies and Dr. Devra Dang.
Michelle Billies, associate professor of mental health and human services at Kingsborough Community College, is recognized for her transformational research and teaching on racial justice. Her teaching and scholarship focus on critical multicultural counseling with an intersectional, transnational feminist approach. Her commitment to justice is exemplified by her stewardship of a large, multiyear participatory action research project with over 20 co-researchers that investigates racially and ethnically diverse, low-income, LGBTGNC issues. Billies’ work on timely issues that impact historically marginalized communities, especially in light of the often under-resourced conditions of a community college, demonstrates the value and impact of community-engaged teaching and scholarship.
Devra Dang, clinical professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut, is recognized for her tremendous depth and longevity in community-engaged learning. She is a founding faculty member of the nationally recognized Urban Service Track program, an interprofessional curriculum that aims to develop future healthcare clinicians who are committed to caring for urban, underserved populations through a partnership-oriented team approach. Over many years, Dang’s students have partnered with and learned from communities in great need of resources during their training experience, epitomizing the value and efficacy of long-standing partnerships and collaboration in higher education community engagement.
“I am glowing in reflected glory having just read the remarkable achievements of Devra Dang and Michelle Billies,” said Thomas Ehrlich, former chair of the Campus Compact Board of Directors and president emeritus of Indiana University. “Both are true stars in the realm of civic engagement.”
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.
This year’s recipient of the Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation is Rutgers University-Camden.
Rutgers University-Camden is recognized as a leading model of holistically embedding civic engagement across every facet of the institution. The University has a rich history with deep engagement with Camden through student success programs, anchor initiatives, and civic engagement, including the Rutgers-Camden Bonner Civic Scholars program). Led by Chancellor Antonio Tillis and Senior Vice Chancellor Nyeema Watson, Rutgers University-Camden has doubled down on the institution's history in ensuring that civic and community engagement work is resourced and prioritized.
“For many years the Rutgers Camden team has been a leader in civic engagement, inclusion, and democratic education,” said Richard Guarasci, president emeritus of Wagner College and former chair of the Campus Compact Board of Directors. “Their leadership has provided an excellent model for all universities to emulate. I am so pleased to see their work recognized and saluted with this award in my name.”
This year’s recipient of the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation is Delta College.
Delta College, a public community college located in University Center, Michigan, is recognized for its long and deep commitment to civic and community engagement. Its mission to empower communities has been further bolstered by President Michael Gavin, who is working to embed community-engaged approaches holistically across his campus through innovative partnerships. Under Gavin’s leadership, Delta College has emerged as a national leader in the field of higher education civic and community engagement through the founding and stewardship of the group Education for All, a discussion group for presidents, chancellors, and association leaders who are committed to improving our communities.
“Delta College stands out as an outstanding model of civic and community engagement and very deserving of this recognition,” said Eduardo J. Padrón, president emeritus of Miami Dade College.
For eligibility criteria, past recipients, and other details about the Campus Compact Impact Awards, see www.compact.org/impact-awards.