Faculty & Staff


10th Anniversary



Meet the 2016-17 AmeriCorps VISTA members!

We are excited to introduce our 2016-17 cohort of new and returning NC Campus Compact Orientation2_cropAmeriCorps VISTAs, who kicked off their year of service earlier this month. The 15 incoming VISTAs were selected from a competitive pool of candidates to serve at 11 campus and community host sites throughout the state. Our VISTAs came together August 17-18th at Elon University for an orientation and service project and have now headed back to their host-sites to continue their valuable work. We thank all our members for their commitment to service and are looking forward to another inspiring year!

We asked our VISTAs to share a little more about themselves including what motivated them to become a NC Campus Compact VISTA, what they are looking forward to most this year and their favorite free time activities. Here’s what they had to say:


Christopher Baker
C.Baker Host Site: William Peace University
Partner SiteHope Charter
Focus Area: Education
Hometown: Kingsport, Tennessee
Graduated from: Emory & Henry College in Virginia with a double major in History and Public Policy and Community Service

-As a VISTA at William Peace University, I’m charged with developing a partnership with Hope Charter school and preparing and managing Peace student volunteers. Prior to joining VISTA, I worked as a librarian at High Point University.
-I taught in the public schools for 7 years total and have a Master’s in Education.
-Originally from Kingsport, Tennessee, I’ve lived in Virginia (twice), West Virginia, and now North Carolina (two different places).

Nicole Blyskal
N.BlyskalHost Site: East Carolina University
Partner Site: Greenville Harvest
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Mahopac, New York
Graduated from: East Carolina University with a BS in Nutrition/Dietetics

– At ECU I was part of the Student Dietetic Association, worked as a student-worker at the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, volunteered with Campus Kitchen and Cultivate Greenville, and participated in multiple National Days of Service.
-Being an NC Campus Compact appealed to me because it will allow to to continue serving the community while learning more about non-profit work and food sustainability.
– For fun I enjoy being outdoors, listening to music and painting.

Erin Espinosa
E.EspinosaHost Site: Feast Down East
Partner Site: UNC Wilmington
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Graduated from: University of North Carolina Wilmington with a B.S in Environmental Science with a minor in Spanish

– I was drawn to serve with AmeriCorps and FDE after completing a sociology course on poverty and volunteering with similar organizations. I am eager to witness, firsthand, poverty in America and do my part in alleviation.
– Aside from serving, I enjoy choreographing and dancing for various studios and companies. I also have a few years of sustainable farming experience and hope to pursue this further in the future!

Ethan Flynn
Focus Area: Economic Opportunity
Home Town: Marion, NC
Graduated from: Appalachian State University with a major in Sociology
– Sociology has guided me toward social and human services. My choice to become an NC Campus Compact VISTA came from learning how this AmeriCorps program can help me continue the type of work I have passion for.
– I am most looking forward to putting my best effort into making my project successful and enjoyable. I already love the organization I am going to be working for, and I couldn’t be happier to begin something new with them.
– In the cold months I snowboard as much as possible with a close group of friends. Being on a snowboard has been my getaway for the past few years, and I can’t imagine living anywhere other than the mountains.

Allison Heisel

Host Site: UNC Greensboro Office of Leadership and Service-Learning
Partner Site: BackPack Beginnings
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Graduated from: College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Philosophy

– During my time at William & Mary, I was an actively engaged in Branch Out Alternative Breaks as a participant, site leader, and student director, and was the founder and facilitator of the Diversity in Philosophy Discussion Group.
– I am excited to be an NC Campus Compact AC/VISTA because I believe in the connective and community-building power of food, and I am eager to learn how to be a better advocate and ally in the movement for intersectional food justice.
-In my free time, I enjoy working on farms and in gardens, as well as cooking with and for my family and friends. I can also often be found curled up with a good book or philosophically-oriented podcast.

Patrick Long
P.LongHost Site: Western Carolina University
Partner Site:  The Community Table
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Graduated from: Appalachian State University with a degree in Psychology

– In undergrad I was involved in our leadership development office and service learning office, as well as serving as chapter president of Amnesty International on our campus. I was interested in being a campus compact VISTA, because it gave me the opportunity to combine two of my main interests; student affairs and non profit work. I’m most looking forward to all the skills and abilities I can learn as a VISTA.
-In my free time I enjoy hiking and binge watching indie movies.

Brittaney McClure
B.McClureHost Site: High Point University
Partner Site:  Washington St. Project
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Graduated from: High Point University with a B.A. in Communication and minor in Photography

– The dedication and impact that being a VISTA for the North Carolina Compact in the local community appealed to me the most when applying for this position.  I am really looking forward to partnering with the community to help them create bright futures and learning about each person’s story.
-For fun I love to go out and photograph people and nature.

Gabrielle Middlebrooks
G.MiddlebrooksHost Site: Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History
Partner Site:  UNC Chapel Hill Department of Communications
Focus Area: Economic Opportunity
Graduated from: University at Albany with a B.A. in political science

-Campus Compact reflected many of the same values, and long term community service goals I upheld as an undergraduate.
-I’m looking forward to joining the Marian Cheek Jackson Center in their efforts to honor, renew and build community in the Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods of Chapel Hill.

Samantha Paterno
S.PaternoHost Site: High Point University
Partner Site:  Washington St. Project
Focus Area: Education
Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Graduated from: High Point University with a degree in Strategic Communications

-My host site is High Point University! I will be focusing on education in the High Point Community. I was a member of Alpha Delta Theta, the christian service sorority on campus and spent a year as Chaplain for the sorority. I am looking forward to working in the High Point community this upcoming year!
-I love playing any and all sports!

Brittany Reyes
BReyesHost Site: Duke University Community Service Center
Partner Site:  Durham Public Schools
Focus Area: Education
Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Graduated from: University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Arts and concentration in Communication Studies

– I have always wanted to work in a program setting helping parents and children in the community to help them succeed together. Here at Duke I will be getting that opportunity I’ve always dreamed of.
-Walking from this I’ll have the tools and experience I need to make a difference in the community.

Jenna Rosenbloom
J.RosenbloomHost Site: High Point University
Partner Site: West End Ministries
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Graduated from: High Point University with a BA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and minor in Women and Gender Studies

-I am a Phi Mu Gamma Zeta Alumni and had the opportunity to participate in team events within the greek life at High Point University. What appealed to me most about being an NC Campus Compact VISTA was the opportunity to gain experience within the community/nonprofit sector as well as the chance to make a difference for those in need, thus following my passion of helping others.
-During my free time I like to hike, go to the gym, paint, kayak, watch movies, go on unplanned adventures, and spend time with my loved ones.

Lizzie Shepard
Partner Site: West Greenville Community Youth-Based Partners
Focus Area: Education
Hometown: Walkertown, NC
Graduated from: Queens University of Charlotte with a major in Psychology

– I enjoy giving back to the community and I was encouraged to join by a past VISTA.
– I am looking forward to help those in need and to be a positive role model while gaining experience this year.
– I like to spend time with friends in my free time.

Priya Sreenivasan
P.SreenivasanHost Site: Community Empowerment Fund
Partner Site: UNC Chapel Hill-NC Poverty Research Fund
Focus Area: Economic Opportunity
Hometown: Cary, NC
Graduated from: UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Social and Economic Justice

-I am excited to help the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) improve data collection and the financial savings program. I am also looking forward to creating a new network with fellow VISTA members.
-I volunteered with CEF in college, and participated in the APPLES Service Learning program, both of which led me to apply for a position with NC Campus Compact.
-In my free time I love hiking, jogging, and spending quality time with friends.

Megan Stanley
M.StanleyHost Site: Marion Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History
Partner Site: UNC Chapel Hill Department of Communications
Focus Area: Education
Graduated from: UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and two minors in Education and Medical Anthropology

-Characterizing my time at Carolina, service has been at the forefront of my journey as a Tar Heel and is one thing I look forward to continuing with NC Campus Compact.
-As I transition into this VISTA role, I am most excited to learn and connect with the Northside community and help the youth see themselves in a rich history that surrounds them each day! I’m hoping to make fulfilling connections and further explore education as a passion.
-Fun: Watching the Food Network; Running; Baking; Meeting new people and hearing their stories/backgrounds

Audrey Waggoner
A.WaggonerHost Site: Guilford College
Partner Site: Guilford College Farm
Focus Area: Healthy Futures
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Graduated from: UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Social and Economic Justice

-What attracted me to the VISTA program has been my experience with community outreach and gardening. I have been so inspired and motivated by people I’ve met that see their neighbors as extended family.
-I also am interested in self-sufficiency in terms of learning and appreciating how to do things for yourself like making yogurt, re-glazing a window, building something.
-And finally, I like connecting with people through food, cooking, and gardening which just so happens to be a major component of my VISTA position 🙂

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College voter engagement summit to train non-partisan student leaders

Summit bannerNC Campus Compact, in collaboration with other state and national partners, will host a 1-day training event for students who are leading non-partisan, student voter engagement activities at NC colleges and universities. Sessions will include updates on NC election law, training on organizing and best practices for voter engagement, and campus idea exchange. This event is geared for students who have baseline knowledge of voter engagement and are looking for more in-depth training. FREE but you must RSVP! (Box lunch will be served.)


Learn more and connect on the Summit event page.
Sponsored by Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Vote Project, Democracy NC, Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, NC PIRG, and North Carolina Campus Compact.

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Summer network meetings connect campuses for civic action planning

NCSU2NC Campus Compact’s twice-yearly network meetings bring together key campus contacts for professional development, networking, and a chance to learn what’s new in civic and community engagement at coalition schools. Last week’s summer network meetings at Davidson College and UNC Wilmington brought together 52 faculty and administrators representing 24 campuses.

On August 2nd at Davidson, participants were welcomed by President Carol Quillen, a member of NC Campus Compact’s executive board, who spoke of the college’s liberal arts tradition as rooted in the notions of education as a public good and learning that empowers students to build a just society. On August 4th at UNCW, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Mike Walker welcomed our group, and shared news of the university’s expanded programs and facilities as well as a new strategic plan that includes civic and community engagement as a key focus.

During the professional development portion of the day, executive director Leslie Garvin led a process of “planning to plan,” readying campuses to develop their own Civic Action Plans this fall. The plans are the next step in putting into practice the principles expressed in national Campus Compact’s 30th Anniversary Action Statement. The statement was signed last spring by more than 25 NC presidents and chancellors, who joined more than 400 signatories nationwide.

Key NC Campus Compact updates included previews of 2016-17 programs and events, including:

  • the annual student conference CSNAP, hosted in November by UNC Asheville
  • the annual NC Presidents Forum, hosted by NC A&T State University on February 8, 2017
  • a social change forum to explore connections between social entrepreneurship and community engagement, hosted by Duke University on February 14, 2017
  • the Gulf-South Summit in March 2017, hosted by UNC Greensboro, which is taking the place of the Compact’s annual PACE Conference
  • the Community Engagement Administrators Conference focusing on alternative breaks, hosted by Elon University on June 6-7, 2017.

Among the many exciting campus updates, we learned:

  • Davidson College will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Bonner Program this year while UNC Charlotte will welcome its first Bonner cohort.
  • NC Central University is sponsoring a new state AmeriCorps program focusing on veterans and Wake Forest University has created its own AmeriCorps VISTA program to support non-profit partners in Winston-Salem.
  • UNC Wilmington has created the #EngageUNCW program to encourage university staff to utilize their paid community service leave and is sponsoring an engagement summit this fall to convene local community partners and various engaged university departments and divisions.
  • Many campuses are supporting non-partisan student voting and election engagement efforts with the help of working groups and student fellows from organizations like the Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Vote Project, and the Campus Election Engagement Project.
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Commins and Kozma named Engaged Faculty Scholars for 2016-17

(L-R) Dr. Margaret Commins of Queens University of Charlotte and Dr. Cara Kozma of High Point University are the 2016-17 Engaged Faculty Scholars.

Dr. Margaret Commins of Queens University of Charlotte (L) and Dr. Cara Kozma of High Point University (R) are the 2016-17 Engaged Faculty Scholars.

This month two faculty members in the North Carolina Campus Compact network will begin one-year terms as Engaged Faculty Scholars. Dr. Margaret Commins, an associate professor of political science at Queens University of Charlotte, and Dr. Cara Kozma, an assistant professor of English at High Point University, will be the Compact’s Engaged Faculty Scholars for the 2016 – 2017 academic year.

In this role, both Commins and Kozma will lead a project to deepen the scholarship of campus-community engagement at their own institution, and they will serve as consultants to another campus in the network seeking to expand academic service-learning.

“Faculty who have a track-record of successful service-learning and community-based scholarship make great ambassadors for engaged teaching and learning,” says Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. “Our intent is to provide support for Dr. Commins and Dr. Kozma to further their own projects, while we leverage their expertise and enthusiasm to strengthen the network.”

At Queens University, Maggie Commins is associate professor of political science and co-chair of the university’s Academic Civic Engagement Task Force. She promotes civic engagement by bringing students into the Charlotte community to conduct election exit polls, collect voter opinion surveys, and design community forums on political issues. As a scholar of US/Latin American Relations, she has a particular interest in refugee and immigration issues, and her policy courses engage students in service with immigrant communities in Charlotte.

During her Engaged Faculty Scholars term, Dr. Commins will support fellow faculty members as they integrate service learning or civic engagement components in accordance with the university’s new general education curriculum, “Queens Advantage.” The curriculum requires new “learning communities” at the 300 level incorporate such components. In partnership with Queens’ Center for Advancement of Faculty Excellence and the co-curricular Center for Active Citizenship, Commins will promote the use of service-learning as a teaching pedagogy and deliver professional development for faculty teaching these courses.

Dr. Lynn Morton, Queens’s provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, says the university’s senior leadership team has made enhancing service-learning and civic engagement a “top ten” initiative, and Commins has the “knowledge, drive, enthusiasm, and common sense to lead us to the next steps.”

At High Point University, Cara Kozma is an assistant professor of English and the assistant director of the service learning (SL) program. She offers training and development for faculty teaching SL, oversees the annual assessment of SL courses, and co-directs a community writing center. She teaches SL courses in writing and literature ranging from freshman to senior level, and many of her classes are connected to her interests in community writing and community publishing.

As an Engaged Faculty Scholar, Dr. Kozma will research the impact of service-learning on students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Studies find that SL classes often make students more tolerant and less prone to stereotyping; however, very little research has been done on how students’ socioeconomic backgrounds affect the learning gains of individual students. In addition to her faculty position, Kozma is assistant director of HPU’s SL program, and she hopes her findings can provide insight into how the program can improve.

Rev. Dr. Joe Blosser, director of HPU’s expanding SL program, says the experience Kozma has gained from being “on the ground floor” of HPU’s SL program development will make her “a huge asset to campuses that are just beginning the work toward institutionalization of service-learning.”

North Carolina Campus Compact’s Engaged Faculty Scholars receive a stipend of $1500, travel reimbursement for consultation visits to the partner institution, and a professional development budget. The scholar’s institution is encouraged to provide a match of cash, course release, or other resources and recognition. The scholars present their projects at the network’s annual PACE Conference and other venues.

For more information about the program, please contact Leslie Garvin.

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Elon’s “Village” project expands to partner with more schools, families

Elon University’s “It Takes a Village” project, a literacy program that assists students who struggle with reading, has received a five-year grant from Oak Foundation totaling $1,015,100. The grant is the largest in the program’s history and supports a recent expansion of the program to provide after-school tutoring at five Alamance-Burlington School System schools.

“This generous support from Oak Foundation will have an immediate impact on the lives of hundreds of children in our community, setting them on the path to success,” said Elon University President Leo M. Lambert. “Helping children learn to read is the single most important factor in their early education. This funding provides critical support for a program that is making a huge difference in our community.”

The “It Takes a Village” project uses a collaborative approach to address reading difficulties faced by many students. That collaboration involves the active participation of Elon’s School of Education, Elon students, faculty and staff, in-service teachers, various community partners and most important, parents and other family members. Launched in 2008, the Village Project began as an after-school reading/tutoring project designed to connect Elon’s School of Education students with youngsters who find reading daunting. In the beginning, tutoring sessions took place on Elon’s campus. The program later moved to May Memorial Library in downtown Burlington, N.C., then to the Burlington School campus, and last February, the program began providing services at Newlin, Haw River, Eastlawn and Andrews elementary schools and Graham Middle School.

Over the years, the Elon project has added additional learning opportunities, including Science in the Village, Music in the Village, and Summer in the Village. The Village Project has also worked with Alamance Community College to support parents and families associated with the project who wish to improve their English language skills. This is the third grant Oak Foundation has made to Elon University, supporting the Village Project’s early development and the replication of the Village model nationally at three other U.S. colleges and internationally in Jamaica.

“We are happy to support “It Takes a Village” Project at Elon University, with its emphasis on student literacy development, parental engagement and community partnership,” said Millie Brobston, Oak Foundation’s programme officer for special interest grants.

Jean Rattigan-Rohr is Elon University's executive director of community partnerships, director of the Center for Access and Success and founder of the Village Project.

Jean Rattigan-Rohr is Elon University’s executive director of community partnerships.

“With this Oak Foundation grant, we will continue to build strong community partnerships and serve even more students,” said Village Project founder and director Jean Rattigan-Rohr, who serves as Elon’s executive director of community partnerships and director of the university’s Center for Access and Success. “I can’t wait to see how the Village continues to deepen and broaden its services with this support. We have aggressive goals to increase reading proficiency for children and expand parents’ understanding of ways to support their children’s academic development and also increase their own English language skills.”

Established in 1983, Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, the foundation has made more than 3,600 grants to non-profit organizations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

This post is re-posted from Elon University News Services article by Dan Anderson:

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AASCU recognizes UNC Charlotte Provost for leadership of civic engagement


Dr. Lorden and the 2015 Plater Award recipient, Dr. Michael Vaughan of Weber State University (Utah). Photo by Amy Rankin.

Congratulations to UNC Charlotte‘s Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, for being the 2016 recipient of the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement. The national award is presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, as part of the American Democracy Project. Lorden was honored for championing a deeper commitment to civic engagement on campus and in the community. Her initiatives include curricular reform, faculty development, innovative civic research initiatives, and community collaborations.

“Dr. Lorden’s thoughtful, deliberative approach to education, research and community engagement has had a tremendous impact on the long-term vitality of the Charlotte community and has raised the quality of intellectual life in the region,” says UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois. The award is named after William M. Plater, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) chief academic officer from 1987 through 2006.

Lorden was recognized on June 2 at the 2016 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE) in Indianapolis.

Lorden joined UNC Charlotte as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2003. As a catalyst for civic engagement and service learning at UNC Charlotte, Lorden provided leadership that has resulted in the University’s receiving multiple honors for its civic engagement efforts from Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Charlotte Chamber, and North Carolina Campus Compact.

Lorden also supported the creation of a standing, cross-divisional Civic Engagement Council to provide oversight and leadership to the university’s civic and community engagement work. Among the many civic engagement initiatives she helped develop is the 49er Democracy Experience, a campus-wide, non-partisan effort to engage students in elections and civic life.

Portions of this post were taken from this UNCC news release and from an AASCU news release.

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Latest edition of Partnerships Journal now available!

Partnerships Logo_P onlyThe Spring 2016 edition of Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement is now available. North Carolina Campus Compact’s peer-reviewed, online journal is hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and edited by UNCG’s Spoma Jovanovic.

The latest issue offers a wealth of resources for new as well as seasoned service-learning faculty and staff. The articles provide insight into community partner needs, faculty dispositions necessary for successful programming, and ways to address food insecurity on our campuses through community partnerships. In addition, this issue features four book reviews that cover a large swath of topics suitable for faculty development as well as student learning. Partnerships is free and available online here.

Partnerships continues to accept manuscripts on a rolling basis that examine the processes and outcomes of partnerships that define service-learning and civic engagement projects and programs. Visit the Call for Manuscripts to learn more.

A sampling of this issue’s contents:

Alexa N Darby, Frances Ward-Johnson, Tammy Cobb (Elon University)

Kim Buch, Sean Langley, Tamara Johnson, Nakiel Coleman (UNC Charlotte)
Noah Borrero, Julie Reed
Plus reviews of John Dewey’s Experience and Education, Harry Boyte’s Democracy’s Education: Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges and Universities, LeRoux & Feeney’s Nonprofit Organizations and Civil Society in the U.S., and more.
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