Civic Engagement Awards

AASCU’s American Democracy Project recognizes individual leadership at the provost, faculty, and staff levels in civic engagement on AASCU member campuses.

Nominate by April 21 in five categories.

It is our honor to shine a light on the great work being done on AASCU ADP campuses. 

Our work 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 is more important than ever. The American Democracy Project recognizes leadership in civic engagement on AASCU member campuses through awards presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) conference in June. 

Honoring Individuals

Barbara Burch Award

in recognition of exemplary faculty leadership.

Learn more.

William M. Plater Award

in recognition of exemplary leadership by a chief academic officer.

Learn more.

John Saltmarsh Award

in recognition of exemplary early-career leaders.

Learn more.

Spirit of Democracy Award

in recognition of exemplary staff leadership.

Learn more.
Honoring Institutions

We the People Award

One of AASCU’s Excellence & Innovation Awards, given to recognize institutional team commitment to meaningful and deep civic engagement work. 

Learn more.

The Spirit of Democracy Award  

Established in 2022, this award is given in recognition of exemplary leadership from staff (non-faculty, non-senior administrator) in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students.

Nominate by April 21.
About the award
  • Nominees must be a staff member (defined as non-faculty, non-senior administrator), affiliated for more than five years on an AASCU campus, who demonstrates leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students. 
  • Nominations must include an endorsement from campus leadership, the nominee’s curriculum vita, and additional documents that provide examples of the nominee’s sustained leadership in advancing civic learning and infusing equity into their work. 
  • 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: Romy Hübler, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 

2023 nominations for the Spirit of Democracy Award are open.

Nominate by April 21.

2022 Award winner

Romy Hübler is the inaugural 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 American Democracy Project. As a founding member of UMBC’s Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Romy’s energetic and innovative work is integral, relational, organic, and generative—perhaps not surprising, as she is a national leader in developing and disseminating the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Theory of Change. Through her sustained mentorship and skills as an educator, Romy empowers, includes, and inspires students. Her nominators explained that “there is a spirit that permeates the Center for Democracy and Civic Life’s work and programs that encompasses hope, imagination, determination, resilience, and community. It is the spirit of democracy, and Romy is the embodiment of that spirit. 

2022 Winner Romy Hübler

Associate Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Spirit of Democracy 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)

Contact.

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)

Contact.

The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement

Given in recognition of exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students. 

Nominate by April 21.
About the award
Barbara Burch
Barbara Burch

This award was established in 2014 to honor Barbara Burch, Provost Emerita at Western Kentucky University . 

During her time as provost, Barbara Burch strongly supported faculty in the development of civic programming at Western Kentucky University. She actively sought out talented faculty members to offer positions of leadership and program development. She provided substantial financial support for professional development. She offered the prestige of her office and her own personal commitment to support faculty interested in civic work. Her efforts resulted in the development of a strong cadre of faculty at Western Kentucky University who are deeply committed to civic engagement and civic outcomes. As a result of her support for faculty, Western Kentucky University was seen as one of the leading universities in the country in civic engagement. 

  • Nominees must be a faculty member (tenure track or contingent) with more than five years of teaching experience on an AASCU campus who demonstrates leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students. 
  • Nominations must include an endorsement from campus leadership, the nominee’s curriculum vita, and additional documents that provide examples of the nominee’s sustained leadership in advancing civic learning and infusing equity into their work. 
  • 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: Sandy Pope, Salisbury University (MD) 
  • 2021: Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg 
  • 2019: Elizabeth Bennion, Indiana University South Bend 
  • 2018: Lance Lippert, Illinois State University 
  • 2017: Shala A. Mills, Chair and Professor of Political Science, Fort Hays State University (KS) 
  • 2016: Elizabeth Bennion, Professor of Political Science and ADP Campus Director, Indiana University South Bend 
  • 2016: Molly Kerby, Associate Professor of Diversity and Community Studies, Western Kentucky University 
  • 2015: Patrick Dolenc, Professor of Economics, Keene State University (NH) 
  • 2014: Gregg Kaufman, Instructor and ADP Campus Coordinator, Georgia College 

2023 nominations are open for the Barbara Burch Award.

Nominate by April 21.

2022 Award winner

AASCU’s ADP congratulates Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Pope on earning the 2022 Barbara Burch Award. During Sandy’s co-direction of Salisbury University’s (SU’s) Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE), the institutional goals of “active citizenship, gainful employment, and life-long learning in a democratic society and interdependent world” have been prioritized by embedding a student-centered, reciprocal civic engagement within the SU experience. According to his peers, “SU is a better university, the community is stronger, and its reach across the nation wider because of his work. Dr. Pope’s work is pivotal in supporting SU’s commitment to civic engagement, and in doing so, has fundamentally shifted campus culture. 

2022 Winner Sandy Pope

Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary and Physical Education and Director of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
Salisbury University (MD)

Barbara Burch 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)

Contact.

The William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement

Given in recognition of exemplary leadership of an AASCU chief academic officer in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates. 

Nominate by April 21.
About the award
William Plater
William Plater

This award was established in 2006 to honor William M. Plater, Chief Academic Officer of IUPUI from 1987-2006. 

During his term, Bill Plater oversaw the development of civic engagement as an integral part of the campus mission and as a defining characteristic of its graduates, thus helping Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) win recognition among peers as a national leader. Through his writing, speaking and public advocacy, Plater also helped extend universities’ understanding of their collective responsibility as “Stewards of Place,” while connecting them with the larger regional, national and global communities of which they are also a part. 

  • Nominees must be a chief academic officer or provost at an AASCU member campus 
  • Nominations should demonstrate how the individual has advanced inclusive democratic engagement and influenced the civic learning of undergraduates through programs and activities that encourage greater knowledge, skills, experiences, and reflection about the role of citizens in a democracy. 
  • Nominations must include an endorsement from the nominee’s president/chancellor, the nominee’s curriculum vita, and additional documents that provide examples of the nominee’s sustained leadership in advancing civic learning and infusing equity into their work. 
  • 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. At the awardee’s discretion, the award can also be presented at a suitable occasion on the recipient’s campus, ordinarily in the fall semester following selection.   
  • Recipients will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition
  • 2022: Kathy Johnson, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis 
  • 2021: Mark Canada, Indiana University Kokomo 
  • 2019: Richard Eglsaer, Sam Houston State University (Texas) 
  • 2018: Vicki Golich, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado 
  • 2017: Philip Rous, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) 
  • 2016: Joan Lorden, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of North Carolina Charlotte 
  • 2015: Michael Vaughan, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Weber State University (Utah) 
  • 2014: Harold Hellenbrand, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University, Northridge 
  • 2013: William A. Covino, Provost, California State University Fresno 
  • 2012: Emile “Mel” Netzhammer, Provost, Keene State College (N.H.) 
  • 2011: Vincent Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration, University of Minnesota, Duluth 
  • 2010: Gail Wells, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Northern Kentucky University 
  • 2009: David L. Carr, Provost and Executive Vice President, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 
  • 2008: Lawrence V. Gould, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Fort Hays State University (Kan.) 
  • 2007: Barbara G. Burch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Western Kentucky University 
  • 2006: William M. Plater, Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis 

2023 nominations for the William Plater Award are open.

Nominate by April 21.

2022 Award winner

From 1993, when Kathy joined IUPUI as an assistant professor of psychology, through her work today, she has incorporated high impact practices and student engagement into the undergraduate curriculum. In her current role, 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, Kathy has coordinated efforts to improve recruitment and retention and to develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Throughout the nomination letters, Kathy’s strategic focus on connecting student success to institutionalized civic learning and engagement efforts shone. Nominators described how Kathy’s “institutional knowledge of shared governance, value of civic learning, [and] commitment to mutually beneficial engaged scholarship reinforces the foundation of the student experience” at IUPUI. Congratulations, Kathy!  

2022 Winner Kathy Johnson

Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis

William Plater 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)

Contact.

Stewardship of Public Lands

This program provides interdisciplinary experiential learning and professional development for faculty, staff, and administrators by exploring conflict resolution in public lands. It leads to strategic intentionality in prioritizing sustainability and constructive discourse on campuses.

Glacier National Park

Exploring conflict resolution in public lands.

Who should participate?

  • Administrators 
  • Faculty  
  • Staff  

How you’ll benefit.

  • Develop strategies for integrating sustainability into the curriculum and co-curriculum 
  • Plan for experiential student trips to national parks 
  • Explore regional collaborations with cohort members 
  • Share resources and teaching strategies surrounding controversies within and about public lands 
Impact

80+ 

institutions integrated information about public lands or public resources onto their campuses. 

170+ 

participants developed resources to share their work with students. 

15

years of participants creating their own unique programs to explore national parks with undergraduates. 

Program resources

Released in 2010, this monograph details the work of the AASCU institutions as they explore the various issues surrounding the controversies over public lands.

Read the full report.

A faculty member’s story of how she implemented lessons learned from the initiative.

Read more.
Member Spotlight
Mammoth Cave

Mammoth to Mammoth documentary

Three faculty members at Western Kentucky University created this film while they participated in the American Democracy Project’s Stewardship of Public Lands Seminar, a one-week professional development course in Yellowstone National Park. As they studied the history, science and politics of some of the major controversies in the Yellowstone ecosystem (snowmobiling, grizzly bears, and bison), they developed a team-taught course to deploy at their local national park, Mammoth Cave. 

Buy video.

Opportunity to join us in 2024.

Applications to join the summer 2024 trip will open in June 2023. 

Let us know if you have any questions about this program.

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Enacting the Vision: Institutionalizing Civic and Community Engagement on Campus

A cohort of senior campus leaders committed to operationalizing and sustaining civic and community engagement across their institutions.

This cohort focuses on leaders enacting strategic and intentional planning about community engagement on campuses.

Since 2020, ADP and Collaboratory have invited AASCU members to join cohorts and participate in meetings to connect with others to form a community of practice; in 2020 and 2021, those cohorts focused on strategies for data collection. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the program focuses on bringing small teams from each campus together to organize and collaborate on implementing an institutional vision for community engagement. As an added benefit, all teams can connect to other institutional teams to share best practices, refine their strategies, and have professional development opportunities.

Who is participating?

  • ADP member campuses 
  • Campus leaders looking to operationalize civic and community engagement across their institutions and who are actively working to identify the most sustainable path forward to support this work
  • Senior leaders committed to prioritizing inclusive community engagement as a foundational aspect of their institutional mission, strategy, and infrastructure 

Benefits of this program

  • Define inclusive community engagement, sharing effective strategies and approaches 
  • Ensure institutions create more equitable and responsive relationships with community partners 
  • Build infrastructure to support and sustain deep, pervasive, and integrated partnerships 
  • Use data to deepen work with community partners and identify the most effective partnerships and models to address pressing issues in the community 
  • Better tell the institutional story of engagement qualitatively and quantitatively 
Cohort membership
+
Guam
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
Bahamas
Canada
Mexico

    impact

    Key data captured in Collaboratory from the 2021-2022 cohort

     

    2,681

    published activities

    3,300

    community partners

    894

    course sections

    57,586

    involved students

    8.1 M+

    hours contributed by those students

    $844 M+

    total funding for engagement and service

    Key data captured in Collaboratory from the 2020-2021 cohort

     

    2,324

    published activities

    2,834

    community partners

    637

    course sections

    74,903

    involved students

    10.3 M+

    hours contributed by those students

    $1.7 B+

    total funding for engagement and service

    Institutional civic engagement activity examples

    Several years of assessments indicate that the Town Hall Meeting improves students learning of course content, changes students’ self-perception from an identification with high school notions of schooling as too often boring and meaningless to a college appropriate identification of schooling as relevant and part of students’ development as adult participants in a democracy, improves students’ civic participation, and increases students’ self-esteem.

    Explore more on the institution's Collaboratory site.

    By considering the city’s rich history in civil rights and economic justice, as well as the even more powerful desire for civility that has impacted our ability to have deep, community-wide discussion of the area’s struggles, this program explores the different traditions of participation that drive public policy, governance, and citizen engagement.

    Explore more on the institution's Collaboratory site.

    Students in the Gender Institute for Teaching Advocacy program work to compile a digital library including information related to various organizations throughout the state.

    Explore more on the institution's Collaboratory site.

    Professional practice internship on voter registration, marketing, and increasing voter turnout among youth voters.

    Explore more on the institution's Collaboratory site.
    our stories

    How we’ve approached documenting institutional engagement via Collaboratory has actually shaped my current role and responsibilities. Up until [recently] this role didn’t exist on campus, and I like to think that the effort around Collaboratory was actually driving the creation of my role and its placement within the Office of President.  It is ultimately an acknowledgment that community partnerships are a campus-wide priority. 

    Jenn Perry

    Executive Director of Regional Education Partnerships
    California State University Channel Islands

    In addition to capturing engagement data for accreditation, we have also been using Collaboratory when talking to alumni and advancement about donors and how beneficial it would be to show our donors about what engagement our colleges are doing.  Additionally, for faculty, they are now leveraging digital dossiers and Collaboratory is an excellent way to link to their community engagement into their digital dossier; it gives so much more color, description, and complexity to their service work.

    Ann Schulte

    Director of Civic Engagement, Professor
    California State University, Chico

    Ten years ago we were surveying our faculty and hoping that people would respond.  Then, we had to chase them down for 6 months, all to write one report.  Very soon, we had to start the whole process over again.  At the time what we were collecting were numbers of students and numbers of hours.  And, now with Collaboratory that whole narrative has changed for the faculty members.  They now can connect their engagement activities to other pieces of their work, and our campus community engagement reporting that we now capture through Collaboratory.

    Ellen Szarleta

    Center for Urban and Regional Excellence and Professor
    Indiana University Northwest
    Cohort Webinar

    Advancing Campus-Community Partnerships Through Data: Trends and Reflections From an AASCU Cohort
    November 16, 2022

    Our Partner

    Want to learn more about Enacting the Vision? Let us know.

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    Constructive Dialogue: Fostering Trust, Curiosity, and Deeper Learning in the Classroom

    Resources and professional development equipping campus faculty to promote civil discourse and deliberative dialogue within their classrooms and across their campuses.

    Providing campus faculty and staff with resources and professional development to foster civil discourse within their classrooms and throughout their campuses.

    Participating faculty will use online resources, attend monthly online cohort meetings with faculty across the country, and present work at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting in Boston in June 2023 where they demonstrate how to integrate constructive dialogues across the curriculum. 

    2022-2023 cohort member campuses
    +
    Guam
    Puerto Rico
    U.S. Virgin Islands
    Bahamas
    Canada
    Mexico

      Participants use these these resources to equip students with the mindsets and skillsets to have difficult conversations.

      Constructive Dialogue Institute's Perspectives modules.

      Research on constructive dialogue in the classroom.

      Notes the critiques of bridge-building in order to promote discussion about social justice communities.

      Read report

      How an online educational program can reduce polarization and improve dialogue in college classrooms.

      Details the randomized study, summarizes the findings, and provides recommendations for fostering mutual understanding and constructive dialogue in the classroom and on campus more broadly. 

      Read report.

      Explores three techniques for communicating and collaborating across differences: moral reframing, separating goals from strategies, and integrative thinking. 

      Read report

      Notes how Perspectives users experienced small- to medium-sized decreases in affective polarization, small to medium-sized increases in intellectual humility (understanding the limits of one’s knowledge) and increases in sense of belonging. 

      Read more.

      Provides insights not only into debate-based course design and learning improvement strategies but also into how faculty, students, and administrators can partner between institutions to demonstrate a shared commitment to the civic mission of higher education and democratic promise of our nation. 

      Read more.

      Webinar: Research-Based Strategies for Fostering Constructive Dialogue
      October 6, 2022

      Our Partner

      Want to learn more about Constructive Dialogue? Let us know.

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