Joseph A. Gardella, Jr. named winner of 2003 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement

Joseph A. Gardella, Jr. has been awarded the 2003 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement. The award recognizes early-career faculty who practice exemplary engaged scholarship through teaching and research. Recipients are selected on the basis of their collaboration with communities, institutional impact, and high-quality academic work.

Joseph A. Gardella, Jr. is Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean for External Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Buffalo. As an undergraduate at Oakland University in Rochester, MI, he completed a dual degree program in chemistry (B.S.) and Philosophy (B.A.) He received a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and spent a postdoctoral year at the University of Utah before coming to SUNY Buffalo (UB) in 1982. Dr. Gardella has received numerous awards for research and teaching including the SUNY Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 1996.

At UB he juggles faculty and administrative roles. He is a full professor in the Chemistry Department and is also Associate Dean for External Affairs within the College of Arts and Sciences where he coordinates and leads the College’s outreach programs to industry, community organizations, government and the local schools. He directs the UB Materials Research Instrumentation Facility, serves as a visiting scientist and program officer at the National Science Foundation and chairs numerous campus committees including the university-wide general education curriculum committee. In all of these roles, Dr. Gardella strives to make the university more responsive and accessible to students, including non-science majors and to the community. He teaches and mentors young faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and community members to carry out and use scientific research in meaningful ways. He incorporates innovative pedagogies including case-study method, collaborative learning and service-learning and works with undergraduates, graduates and faculty across disciplines on solving community problems in environmental pollution. He and his students have developed new models of community participation and shared decision-making in environmental research that have impacted policy development and practice. His work reflects his philosophy, that “the best way to view education as a scientist is to consider that science education is liberal education and that it is a seamless enterprise.”

Honorable Mentions:

Richard Eberst, Ph.D., Director, Community-University Partnerships, Professor and Past Chairs, Health Science and Human Ecology at California State University San Bernardino. Dr. Eberst is being recognized for his career spanning work in improving the over-all quality of life and health in the region. Projects have included the creation of Community-University Partnerships (CUP), a unit at the university that spans all five Divisions and works to serve a huge geographical area comprised of one of the most diverse populations in the United States; “Focus 92411,” a community outreach partnership among the residents of the 92411 zip code involving the community hospital, public health department, the university and many local community-based organizations to improve the overall quality of life for those who work and live in that zip code; and the “African-American Health Initiative” to address the health disparities that exist between African-Americans and other groups in the county. In addition to his own scholarship reflecting the learning of these partnerships, hundreds of colleagues, students and community partners have studied and developed policies and action agendas through them as well.

Ira Harkavy, Ph.D., Associate Vice President and Director, Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. From the formation of the Office of Community-Oriented Policy Studies in the early 80’s, to the development of Penn Program for Public Service in the School of Arts and Sciences and the creation of the Center for Community Partnerships in the Office of the President, he has helped Penn shape an infrastructure to support the scholarship of engagement by faculty and students. He has written extensively on the issues of engaged scholarship for more than a decade, helping us all think more clearly on the “why” as well as the “how” of civic engagement. Dr. Harkavy’s writings are frequently cited in the literature on service-learning, democratic pedagogy, community-university-school partnerships, community-based action research and university civic engagement. Dr. Harkavy is being honored for his contributions to scholarship, the community and society through his creative integration of research, teaching and service.

Kathleen A. Staudt, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Director, Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) at the University of Texas at El Paso. We honor Dr. Staudt for her work with schools, families and numerous institutions in the El Paso area. Through her work at CCE, Dr. Staudt has aimed to create a model for the engaged university, providing opportunities for faculty members and students to partner with the community through community-based research and service-learning. Dr. Staudt has consistently invited graduate and undergraduate students to present with her at local state and national conferences. Out of her work with the community she has published numerous books and articles, frequently engaging in joint topics concerning human rights and social justice with students, colleagues and community partners. Dr. Staudt’s influence and impact are multiplied as like-minded faculty have been enabled to pursue their outreach interests with institutional support. Her mentoring and support has enabled junior faculty to undertake new challenges and projects and senior faculty to further develop some of their preexisting programs.

Francisco H. Vázques, Ph.D., Professor, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies and Director, Hutchins Institute for Public Policy and Community Action, Sonoma State University. Dr. Vázques is honored for his work on democratic citizen participation among Latinos. He created the Latino Student Congress, a program that gave Latino students a voice in expressing the issues that mattered most to them. The objective was for students to go beyond discussing the issues that they confronted and formulate policies that would address them. Dr. Vázques has received grants to improve the attrition rates of migrant students and to study the practice of and beliefs regarding civic engagement among Latino High School students in Sonoma County. He co-authored Latino/a Thought: Culture, Politics and Society (2003) which addresses issues of public citizenship and the rights of people regardless of their geographical or cultural locations. The book is designed for young people, with a special introduction on power, knowledge, language and every day life and with exercises and guidelines to become a community organizer and active citizen.