Outstanding individual and group outreach efforts were recognized April 9 with the 2014 Campus Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement. The awards were presented by Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise and Pradeep K. Khanna, the associate chancellor for corporate and international relations.
The awards recognize faculty members, academic professionals and students who have consistently applied their knowledge and expertise to issues of societal importance for the public good.
Each faculty member and academic professional receives $1,500 and a permanent $1,500 salary increase. The team award includes $5,000 to the sponsoring unit to support or enhance the project honored. Students receive $1,500 to be used for professional development or other educational activities.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Edit embedded media in the Files Tab and re-insert as needed.
Joan Crockett is an associate petroleum geologist at the Illinois State Geological Survey, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute. She is an expert regarding Illinois petroleum geology and oil and gas resources. In more than 30 years with ISGS she has served the industry and the public alike in order to ensure exploration and production are economically feasible and environmentally conscious. Crockett also is a member of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council team, which coordinates training programs for the petroleum industry. She has organized and conducted numerous well-attended workshops in venues convenient for industry participation. In addition to this industry work, Crockett is passionate about broader outreach and education. She is an active member of the ISGS Outreach Committee, which assists in fulfilling the public engagement priorities of the survey. Crockett also is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Youth Education Activities Committee and has served as the Illinois Science Olympiad state event chairman for the Rock and Mineral/Fossils event, which is held annually.
In addition to her service on state and university committees, Crockett is one of the principal organizers for the ambitious, multiyear Kickapoo Geology Field Trip Program. Along with Kristin Camp, the curriculum coordinator for science and health with Champaign Unit 4 schools, the ISGS initiated this program for the fifth graders of the Champaign Unit 4 School District. After a successful pilot program for three fifth-grade classes, the program was expanded into a districtwide field trip for every fifth-grade class, serving about 800 students. The program engages students in an outdoor science experience while meeting state earth science educations standards. The Kickapoo State Park area is a unique outdoor laboratory for the study of geology and nature. The field trips occur over six days and are no small feat. This effort is a great success for the students and is an excellent example of collaboration between the university and local schools.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Lynne Dearborn is a professor of architecture and the associate director of the School of Architecture. Teaching, research and public engagement form an interwoven continuum for Dearborn. Her community-based teaching and research are inspired by her strong belief that architects have a responsibility to make the world a better and more just place by attending equally to beauty, environmental quality and social justice. Through her teaching and research, Dearborn's students and those who read her work gain a perspective on architecture that moves beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries and processes that have limited many designers to consider only physical aspects and outcomes of design. By integrating social, political and economic processing and their human facilitators into discussions about design and the built environment, Dearborn challenges students and professionals to recognize and respond to the connections between the physical environment and other dimensions of society.
Upon arrival at the U. of I. in 2002, Dearborn sought opportunities to utilize service learning through the East St. Louis Action Research Project. Since her initial efforts in East St. Louis, Dearborn has engaged residents and community organizations in the Metro East area, Rockford, Peoria and Champaign-Urbana. In addition, Dearborn has worked in southern Michigan and in São Tomé and Principe. Her public engagement activities have enabled her to work on numerous sustained efforts employing her own research and design expertise, as well as the developing expertise of her students through service-learning studios and community-based research seminars.
Dearborn's impact can be seen on both the communities served and the students who have been involved in her efforts. She remains committed to sustained local, national and international public engagement. During the past three years, she has been instrumental in the College of Fine and Applied Art's development of service-learning opportunities in the local community through Action Research Illinois. She has initiated project-based undergraduate seminars with Urbana's Martin Luther King School, Champaign's Prosperity Garden and the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, among others. She is a tireless advocate and an outstanding representative of excellence in public engagement.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Jesse Miller is a teaching laboratory specialist in the department of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also is the director of REACT (Reaching and Educating America's Chemists of Tomorrow), a multifaceted outreach/public engagement program. Miller began as the co-director of REACT for five years and has been the sole director for the last five years. A main program within REACT organizes teams of three to five university student volunteers to visit local third- and fourth-grade classrooms and conduct hands-on chemistry experiments, introducing children to chemistry in a fun and exciting way. The university student volunteers also benefit through direct classroom experience. This program visits about 100 classrooms each year, involving about 500 student volunteers and more than 3,000 elementary school children. Other programs within REACT include family nights in which student volunteers conduct hands-on chemistry experiments such as making ice cream with liquid nitrogen at area school "science nights," which reach about 2,000 students; Trick or Treat with Chemistry, an annual event at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum for about 300 children; and frequent science activities with Girl Scouts.
Miller is a regular on-air morning show guest for television station WCIA/WCIX as the host of Chemist Corner. Each Wednesday morning, he discusses chemistry and demonstrates everyday phenomena. Recently, he explained what happened in a chemical incident in a teaching laboratory on campus. He also is a major contributor to the department's annual Chemistry Holiday Magic Shows that are held in Noyes Lab's largest lecture room and are typically sold out. The annual effort expanded in 2013 to include three shows to accommodate the nearly 1,000 adults and children who attend every year.
Natalie Danner and Catherine Corr, both doctoral students in the department of special education in the College of Education, have collaborated with a local nonprofit, Champaign County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA recruits, trains and monitors volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. Danner and Corr developed and lead an innovative monthlong training, called CASA Strong Beginnings, focusing on important issues related to very young children. The topics include infant mental health and attachment, the effect of toxic stress and sexual abuse and the identification of disability-related services and resources in the Champaign community.
Megan Paceley, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work, has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, intellectual productivity and service to the campus and community. As a founding board member of the UP (Uniting Pride) Center, her skills of grant writing, fundraising and program development furthered the mission of the UP Center, including the creation of a LGBTQ youth support group. She has established the center as an internship site for BSW and M.S.W. students. She also coordinates guest lectures in School of Social Work classes about topics related to LGBTQ inclusion and diversity.
The Illini Mentor Program is a registered student organization dedicated to fostering meaningful and consistent mentoring relationships between U. of I. students and children in the local community. Participants are able to learn, grow, develop skills and better understand their cultural surroundings. Through yearlong mentoring relationships, the university students become more knowledgeable about the community and have opportunities to explore their strengths and build leadership skills as they take an active role in promoting positive youth development. What sets IMP apart is that they have sustained and grown their model for community engagement over the course of nearly a decade. Each mentor builds a one-on-one relationship with a student who needs someone who knows their name, cares about them and enjoys spending time with them once a week.