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College professor honored for dedication to engaged scholarship

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ST. LOUIS — University of Kansas Assistant Professor Jomella Watson-Thompson received the Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship Award during the 2012 Campus Compact Heartland Conference, which was Oct. 11-12 in St. Louis.

This award recognizes one faculty member who has successfully incorporated service learning into at least one course with demonstrable outcomes and conducted outstanding research in the field of service learning and engaged scholarship. Nominees from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Campus Compact member institutions were eligible to receive this inaugural award.

Watson-Thompson was recognized for her continual dedication to improving community conditions by systematically addressing conditions in the environment that influence key behaviors. This is evidenced through her ABSC 310 Building Healthy Communities course, which is one of the three service learning courses she teaches. In this course, Watson-Thompson’s students have partnered with Green Impact Zone, an initiative to develop sustainable communities, to assess the Kansas City, Missouri, community’s access to healthful food. Students in this course have also helped Young Women on the Move, an afterschool mentoring program in Kansas City, develop a sustainability plan for inner-city girls.

Her efforts have contributed to an increase in the diversity of students involved in engaged scholarship, as well as improvements in the practice of the community-based participatory research approach.

Two other inaugural service learning awards were given by the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Campus Compacts to three recipients each at the Campus Compact Heartland Conference: the Community Engagement Professional of the Year Award and the Outstanding Community & Campus Collaboration Award.

The University of Kansas is a member of Kansas Campus Compact, an organization headquartered in Manhattan, Kan., that funds and facilitates service learning and civic engagement at the higher education level. Kansas Campus Compact belongs to Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 colleges and universities dedicated to community engagement.