The John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement 

Awarded to exemplary early-career leaders who advance the wider civic engagement movement in higher education via community-campus collaboration to build a broader public culture of democracy committed to justice, equity, and inclusion.

Nominate by April 21.
About the award
John Saltmarsh
John Saltmarsh

This award was established in 2011 to honor John Saltmarsh, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. 

John Saltmarsh is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Leadership in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has published widely on community engaged teaching, learning and research, and organizational change in higher education, including the co-edited book Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education (2016), and the edited volume with Matthew Hartley, ‘To Serve a Larger Purpose:’ Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education (2011). He is the co-author of the “Democratic Engagement White Paper” (NERCHE, 2009) and “Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Public Engagement in Higher Education” (Columbia University Law School: Center for Institutional and Social Change, 2011). From 2005-2016 he served as the Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). From 1998-2005 he was the director of the national program on Integrating Service with Academic Study at Campus Compact.  

The award was named in John Saltmarsh’s honor to recognize a long-standing passion of his: nurturing and preparing the next generation of higher education leaders (staff, faculty, or administrators) to sustain and advance the civic engagement movement. The award recognizes emerging higher education leaders whose community partnership work is grounded in reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation of goals and outcomes. 

  • Be faculty or staff members at an AASCU institution.
  • Demonstrate their community partnership work is grounded in reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation of goals and outcomes. 
  • Exhibit contributions to sustain and advance the civic engagement movement in the areas of practice, institutionalization, and scholarship.
  • Nominees must be an emerging higher education leader whose community partnership work is grounded in reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation of goals and outcomes on an AASCU campus. 
  • Nominations must include an endorsement from campus leadership, the nominee’s curriculum vita, and additional documents that provide examples of the nominee’s contributions in the areas of practice, institutionalization, and scholarship. 
  • Presentation: Annually in person at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement conference in June and a virtual acknowledgment will be made at AASCU’s Annual Meeting in November.
  • Recipients will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition.
  • 2022: Bekah Selby, Emporia State University (KS) 
  • 2021: Margot Morgan, Indiana University Southeast 
  • 2019: Allison Rank, State University of New York at Oswego 
  • 2018: Nicholas Hartlep, Metropolitan State University in Minnesota 
  • 2017: Danielle Lake, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, Grand Valley State University (MI) 
  • 2016: Jennifer Purcell, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Kennesaw State University (GA) 
  • 2015: Adam Bush, Chief Academic Officer, College Unbound 
  • 2015: Lane Graves Perry, Director of Service Learning, Western Carolina University (NC) 
  • 2014: Bethany Fleck, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver (CO) 
  • 2013: Brandon Kliewer, Assistant Professor of Civic Engagement and ADP Campus Director, Florida Gulf Coast University 
  • 2012: Emily Janke, Special Assistant for Community Engagement, University of North Carolina at Greensboro 
  • 2012: Paul Markham, Assistant Professor and Co-Director at the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, Western Kentucky University 
  • 2011: Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project 

2023 nominations for the John Saltmarsh Award are open.

Nominate by April 21.

2022 Award winner

Bekah’s nominators compared her to “a bright and shining beacon of light that illuminates leadership and civic engagement with the objective of making our world a better place.” In addition, John Saltmarsh acknowledged that Bekah’s work “enhances a healthy and functioning democracy through empowering women, increasing student voting, and studying the issues of voting restrictions and felony disenfranchisement.” Indeed, Bekah’s work on food insecurity and global warming and financial literacy show the depth and breadth of her commitment to impacting lower income individuals and working to resolve inequities in our society that endanger the health of our democracy. We congratulate Bekah on her achievement and look forward to seeing her future accomplishments. 

2022 Winner Rebekah (Bekah) Selby

Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Economics
Emporia State University (KS)

John Saltmarsh Award nominations are open until April 21.

Please reach out to us with any questions about this process.

Catherine Copeland

Catherine Copeland
Director, American Democracy Project (ADP)