N. Eugene Walls named winner of 2010 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement

N. Eugene Walls has been awarded the 2010 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.

N. Eugene Walls, Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Denver, has established lasting partnerships with several agencies in Colorado, focusing on the needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Viewing collaboration with community partners as indispensable in efforts to give a voice to historically marginalized groups, Dr. Walls has worked with the GLBT Community Center of Colorado to educate non-GLBT faculty on risk and resilience factors of sexual minority youth; with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment around HIV prevention for gay men in rural settings; and with Denver’s youth shelter, Urban Peak, to understand the psychosocial risks for GLBT and non-GLBT homeless youth. He assists grassroots agencies in improving their data collection methods and developing tools to enhance funding opportunities, while also relying upon the expertise of members of those communities.

Reflecting on his engaged scholarship, Dr. Walls writes: “In order to qualify as truly being community engaged research, practice and education, our endeavors must go beyond their applied nature to embody an approach that values the public good, trusts the wisdom of communities and commits to social justice…. It is only in the values that are reflected in how the work is done and the value of the outcomes of that work to the community that work can come to be called community-engaged work.”

Citation for Distinguished Engaged Scholarship:

John Begeny is Assistant Professor of School Psychology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). In collaboration with NCSU students and community partners (namely a large, rural elementary school and an after-school program), John has developed two internationally recognized programs: Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS), a reading fluency program and Supporting Parental Activities for Reading with Kids (SPARKS), which aims to understand educational strategies parents can effectively use in the home. Additionally, he developed The HELPS Education Fund, a non-profit organization used to support teachers’ free access to all HELPS materials. In his teaching and community-based research, John has included countless students and community partners as co-facilitators, co-evaluators and co-publishers in courses and ongoing research projects. Recently nominated for an NCSU Outstanding Teaching Award, John grounds his undergraduate and graduate courses in issues of social justice, particularly with respect to educational equity, poverty and respect for diversity. Each of his courses includes one or more community partners with whom students work and learn directly as they collaboratively provide services intended to improve children’s literacy. These collaborators have included teachers, principals, school psychologists, parents of children with reading difficulties and directors of community-based organizations. John has also created a special topics course on community-engaged scholarship. As a member of the first cohort of NCSU’s faculty development program Education and Discovery Grounded in Engaged Scholarship (EDGES), John has become a campus leader in identifying new strategies to support community-engaged work on the NCSU campus. As John writes, “I believe that our most significant social challenges—such as equitable education and opportunity, poverty, racism, sexism and access to healthcare—can only be improved if colleges and universities substantially increase their commitment to and institutionalization of, scholarship that is driven by the needs of our community.”