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Faculty members from Duke, ECU selected as 2018-19 Engaged Faculty Scholars

Dr. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson of Duke University and Dr. Rebecca Dumlao of East Carolina University (ECU) have been selected by North Carolina Campus Compact to be the 2018-2019 Engaged Faculty Scholars. They are the fourth pair of NC faculty members to take on the role, which was created in 2015.

Ahern-Dodson and Dumlao will receive support from the Compact and from their respective institutions as they undertake a project designed to deepen the scholarship of campus-community engagement at their school. They will also serve as consultants to another North Carolina college or university seeking to enhance community-engaged teaching.

Dr. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, Duke University

At Duke, Dr. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson is an assistant professor of the practice in writing studies. In her research, she studies how the concept of community shapes writers’ lives and practices. Her past efforts have included contributing to interdisciplinary initiatives focused on public scholarship and community engagement at Duke, serving as a faculty consultant and community partnership liaison for the Service-Learning Program, and teaching a range of community engaged courses on the Duke-Durham Neighborhood partnership, student activism, student self-authorship, and literacy.

As an Engaged Faculty Scholar in the coming academic year, Ahern-Dodson will work to develop a faculty writing network in order to support community-engaged scholarship at Duke. The project will include a scholarly writing retreat that will be open to faculty from other colleges and universities in the Triangle, as well as writing groups and a publication workshop. The project will be designed to help faculty reflect on and share community-engaged learning and research.

In her proposal, Ahern-Dodson explains the need for such connection among engaged scholars:

Community often runs counter to the concept of the academy, which typically positions writers in isolation (scribbling alone in the attic) and often creates sharp distinctions between scholarly writing and teaching. For publicly engaged faculty, this can be particularly challenging because teaching, research, and service are not so easily divided. We seek, instead, to integrate these dimensions of our work.

Ahern-Dodson’s project will also advance Duke’s Civic Action Plan, which outlines five priorities, including efforts that “encourage and support faculty and staff involvement in civic engagement.”

Dr. Rebecca Dumlao, East Carolina University

Dr. Rebecca Dumlao is a professor in the School of Communication at ECU. For more than a decade, Dumlao taught the capstone course for senior communication students. The course included a community-service component and resulted in more than 1600 students contributing 18,000 service hours on communication projects benefiting local organizations. Most recently, Dumlao designed a five-week graduate level course, “Health Communication and Community Engagement,” which paired students with local organizations to conceive public health research or teaching proposals.

In 2013, Dumlao was recognized as an outstanding service-learning educator, receiving the Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award from NC Campus Compact along with ECU’s Scholarship of Engagement Award. Her forthcoming book — A Guide to Collaborative Communication for Service-Learning and Community Engagement Partners — will apply communication scholarship to the field of community engagement. Dumlao also serves on the editorial board of the Compact’s journal Partnerships and on the peer review board for the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

For her Engaged Faculty Scholars project, Dr. Dumlao will turn the 5-week community engagement and health communication class into a 15-week, semester-long course. She explains:

The project would allow me to focus much more on graduate students, many already living and working in North Carolina communities. The ECU graduate students taking the class would work collaboratively with community partners to address a community health-related issue, potentially serving as a model for service-learning and community engagement with other graduate programs on campus.

Dr. Chris Buddo, dean of ECU’s College of Fine Arts and Communication, recommended Dumlao for the program and writes that her work will contribute to “strengthening and growing our engaged scholarship.”

“This effort,” writes Buddo, “is designed to support the university’s wider commitment to public service.”

Engaged Faculty Scholars receive a stipend of $1500 and additional funds for professional development. The scholar’s institution is encouraged to provide a match of cash, course release, or other resources. Each will share their work with the field, including as presenters at the Compact’s annual PACE Conference, to be held at UNC Greensboro in February 2019.

“Faculty who have a track-record of successful service-learning and community-based scholarship make great ambassadors for this work,” says Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. “This program provides support for faculty members to advance their own projects, and we leverage their expertise to strengthen our network.”

Past Engaged Faculty Scholars:

Dr. Jacquelyn Lee, Assistant Professor of Social Work, UNC Wilmington
Dr. Elizabeth (“Beth”) Wall-Bassett, Associate Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Western Carolina

Dr. Maggie Commins, Associate Professor of Political Science, Queens University of Charlotte
Dr. Cara Kozma, Assistant Professor of English, High Point University

Dr. Annie Jonas, Professor and Chair of the Education Department, Warren Wilson College
Dr. Ashley Oliphant,  Associate Professor of English, Pfeiffer University

Learn more about the Engaged Faculty Scholars program.

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