Community-Campus Partnership Wins Public Service Award

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Carolina’s 12th annual Public Service Awards celebration to honor students, faculty, and staff was held last Friday afternoon at the Alumni Center.  The event is sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) and I preside over the festivities as chair of the Center’s Advisory Board.  There are a number of different awards for students and faculty.  It is inspiring to hear about all of their good work and to see how people are making a difference.

My role is to announce the awards and read a short description of the work by the students and faculty.  It is a lot of fun.  I did not announce the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, however, because the School received one of them for the Community-Campus Partnership (CCP).  I love the stage direction that Lynn Blanchard, Director of the CCPS, included in the script for the event: “Lynn takes over cause Mike should not present his school with the award.”  I have absolutely nothing to do with the selection process and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we were being recognized.

Will Lambe directs CCP and accepted the award.  He was gracious in recognizing all of the people here and in other departments who have contributed to the work of CCP.  The award recognizes “units, departments, and organizations at Carolina for specific public service through engaged scholarship, recognizing the impact of teaching and research on real issues in the state.”  According to the citation, “Through a multidisciplinary approach CCP has built relationships and connections between campus and community partners in Lenoir and Caswell counties, responding to the needs of the community and seeding a variety of projects.  To date scholars from public health, business, law, planning, social work, political science, education, art and government have been involved.”

I blogged about CCP some time ago and I am pleased that Will and his colleagues are receiving recognition for this challenging work.  It is not easy to partner with distressed communities because they offer complex cultures with divergent interests.  Nor is it easy to identify and work with faculty members from other academic departments who may not understand how to translate their research into something useful for a community.  We are learning a lot through CCP about the difficulty of working with distressed communities and with others on campus, and our vision for that work is evolving.

Special congratulations for this honor to Will, Kendra Cotton, and Jason Nelson who are leading our day-to-day efforts on CCP.  They have spent lots of time “crawling through the bloodstream” in ways that Albert Coates would have admired, and they have been supported by Jonathan Morgan and Tyler Mulligan.

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