News Release from AASCU


Abby Brantman
(202) 478-4662


MINNEAPOLIS, June 22, 2022 — The American Democracy Project (ADP), an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), announced the winners of the Barbara Burch, William S. Plater, John Saltmarsh, Spirit of Democracy, and We The People awards. The awards were handed out today during the 2022 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Minneapolis.

“It is our honor to shine a light on the great work being done at AASCU ADP campuses,” said Catherine Copeland, director of AASCU’s American Democracy Project. “By presenting these awards, ADP continues to support our campuses, share strategies and successes, and demonstrate the critical importance of civic education and civic skill-building in our students.” Learn more about the awards and their winners below.  


Sandy PopeAlexander (Sandy) Pope, associate professor in the Department of Secondary and Physical Education and director of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) at Salisbury University (MD), won the Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement.  

The Barbara Burch Awardis given for exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and the work of AASCU’s ADP on campus and/or nationally.  

Pope was recognized with theBarbara Burch Award because of his co-direction of Salisbury University’s PACE Institute, where he spearheaded embedding a student-centered civic engagement program within the Salisbury University experience. 


Kathy JohnsonKathy Johnson, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), won the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement.    

The William M. Plater Award is given in recognition of exemplary leadership of an AASCU chief academic officer in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates through programming. This award is named after Bill Plater, one of the original team of provosts who helped envision and launch ADP.    

Johnson received the William M. Plater Award by championing the creation of the Profiles of Learning for Undergraduate Success, the Institute for Engaged Learning, and the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support. Johnson also has coordinated efforts to improve recruitment and retention and to develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on IUPUI’s campus.    


Bekah SelbyRebekah (Bekah) Selby, assistant professor of mathematics and economics, at Emporia State University (KS) won the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement.  

The John Saltmarsh Awardis given in recognition of exemplary early-career leaders who are advancing the wider civic engagement movement through higher education to build a broader public culture of democracy.  

John Saltmarsh acknowledged that Selby’s work “enhances a healthy and functioning democracy.” Selby’s work on food insecurity and global warming and financial literacy shows her commitment to impacting lower income individuals and working to resolve inequities in our society that endanger the health of our democracy. 


Romy HueblerRomy Hübler, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), won the Spirit of Democracy Award. 

Hübler is the first winner of this award, which honors exemplary leadership from staff in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and the work of AASCU’s ADP on campus and/or nationally.  

As a founding member of UMBC’s Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Hübler won the Spirit of Democracy Award for her integral, relational, organic, and generative work. Hübler is also a national leader in developing and disseminating the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Theory of Change.   


SHSUThe Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Sam Houston State University (TX) was selected as the first-ever recipient of the national We the People Award.  

The We the People Awardis presented to recognize exemplary team commitment, impact, and leadership in advancing civic learning and civic engagement.   

The CCE, under the leadership of Lee Miller and Joyce McCauley, along with the entire team–Taylor Morrison, Sarah Burchett, Steven Koether, Bram Sebio-Brundage, Katherine Kirkpatrick, and Rebecca Gonzalez—are being recognized as a national leader in community engaged research, civic engagement, and academic community engagement. The Center’s work with faculty and staff from across the campus to offer academic community engagement courses in collaboration with community partners ensures that SHSU students graduate with a sense of civic responsibility.  



The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.


About ADP

ADP’s goal is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to be informed and engaged, ready to tackle current and future issues to ensure a thriving and equitable democracy.