Katherine Lambert-Pennington has been awarded the 2011 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.
During the past four years, Katherine Lambert-Pennington, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Memphis, has integrated her teaching, research and service in unique ways that address issues of poverty, racism and social justice, particularly as they relate to neighborhood development. Through her engaged scholarship, she has helped establish civic partnerships that mobilize university and community members around critical social issues. She and her students, for instance, collaborated with local church leaders and other stakeholders in South Memphis—a once-thriving but now economically distressed neighborhood—to form a community development council, which in turn engaged local residents in developing a comprehensive revitalization plan. After the plan was unanimously approved by the City of Memphis, she and her students assisted residents and community advocates in establishing the South Memphis Farmers Market, now one of the region’s most successful urban food programs. The widely recognized success of the farmers market encouraged city officials to invest nearly one million dollars in local arts, community health and wellness initiatives and also attracted additional civic support from area foundations. Dr. Lambert-Pennington also co-directs the Vance Avenue Collaborative, a campus-community partnership working to address a wide range of economic and community development needs for one of the poorest residential areas within the Mid-South.
Reflecting on her engaged scholarship, Dr. Lambert-Pennington writes: “I believe that social justice can only be achieved through genuine and frequent civic participation by underrepresented communities. By conducting research in collaboration with community partners…and by providing opportunities for students to learn how to contribute to grassroots information gathering and action through active participation, I strive to contribute to building a more fair and democratic society.”