News & Media

Four APLU Universities Selected as Finalists for 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award

Washington, DC – In recognition of their extraordinary community engagement initiatives, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today announced that four of its member universities have been selected as regional winners of the 2023 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional award winners, North Carolina State University, The Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Texas A&M University will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced at the 2023 APLU Annual Meeting in November.

Since 2007, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to deepen their partnerships and achieve broader impacts in their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.

“Congratulations to the regional winners of the Kellogg Community Engagement Scholarship Awards and exemplary projects,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “Community engagement is a critical part of public universities’ mission and we’re pleased to highlight the work of institutions that are engaging communities to solve challenges. From the underserved areas of their communities and states to overlooked regions of the world, public research universities are engaging communities to solve the most pressing problems they face.”

The community engagement awards also recognize universities with exemplary projects. The University of Louisville and Pennsylvania State University are receiving recognition for outstanding efforts in Community Engagement Scholarship. Both exemplary projects and Magrath Award finalists will be showcased at the 2023 Engagement Scholarship Consortium’s Annual Conference later this year.

A team of community engagement professionals from public research universities judged this round of the award. A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2023 National Engagement Scholarship Conference.

The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and a $20,000 prize. The three other regional winners will each receive a $5,000 prize to further their work.

Background on regional winners

North Carolina State University
Recognizing the social, environmental, and economic threat from flood disasters, North Carolina State University (NC State) launched the Coastal Dynamics Design Lab (CDDL) in 2013 to organize and lead cross-disciplinary research and design teams that address critical ecological and community development challenges in small and rural communities that are working to build resilience toward or recover from flood disasters. Operated from within the NC State College of Design, the CDDL advances the university’s land-grant mission through a process integrating engagement, research, teaching, and design to serve historically under-resourced people and places across Eastern North Carolina. Since its founding, the CDDL has worked in more than 30 North Carolina communities and collaborated with faculty and staff from 12 departments in five colleges across the NC State campus. The CDDL has heightened the awareness of post-disaster recovery and community resilience through proactive, authentic, and lasting engagements that carefully listen to and prioritize community needs and desires. To date, CDDL efforts have resulted in significant follow-on investments for community partners, including more than $13 million in direct-to-community funding for implementing the CDDL-recommended actions.

The Ohio State University
Seeking to address unmet healthcare needs, The Ohio State (OSU) launched the student-run Columbus Free Clinic (CFC) more than 30 years ago to provide critical care to underserved adults in the community. Each year, the CFC hosts a dedicated annual cohort of 400 OSU students who develop knowledge and skills in patient care and community service while assisting in providing healthcare to more than 1,200 adults in the greater Columbus community. The CFC is a 30-year partnership between OSU faculty, students, patients, and committed community organizations that the university supports through donations of clinic space, laboratory and radiology testing, and prescription medications. A student steering committee from four different colleges manage the clinic. Each week, under the supervision of volunteer licensed faculty from five OSU professional schools, students in medicine, advanced practice nursing, social work, pharmacy, and a team of undergraduates collaborate in practicing culturally respectful integrated primary care. This includes treatment of acute and chronic health conditions, laboratory services, pharmacy, social services, and behavioral health. In 2022, the CFC had 10,168 hours of volunteer service, 3,045 free patient visits, 2,588 free prescriptions, and more than 400 community encounters for health education or screening.

The University of Pittsburgh
As the nation’s largest longitudinal research program investigating child thriving in a fully community-partnered approach, the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and multiple community partners launched the Pittsburgh Study (TPS) in 2017 to address the racial discriminatory barriers to thriving among children and adolescents across Allegheny County. Co-led by pairs of community and university investigator research teams, TPS has developed age-appropriate—from infancy through adolescence—interventions that attend to structural racism, promote equity, and build individual, family and community resilience. TPS also offers mentorship and leadership training in community-engaged scholarship for students, trainees, community fellows and faculty, and a child health data hub to share results connecting science to action. TPS has engaged more than 240 community collaborators and 2,050 children and adolescents and hopes to involve more than 8,000 children and adolescents over the lifespan of the study.

Texas A&M University
Since 2014, Texas A&M University (TAMU) has worked alongside the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, a non-profit in Houston, to jointly investigate and document persistent vulnerabilities stemming from chronic pollution, natural hazards, as well as chemical and non-chemical stressors. Engaging local high school students and teachers, the partnership has collected data on a range of complex environmental issues, educated residents on risks, and developed solutions to reduce exposure and contamination. The project, which was initially sponsored by university start-up funds, allowed TAMU and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services to build trust, engage the community, and explore community needs before developing proposals for additional funding. Additionally, the university invested in a community engagement program, Texas Target Communities. The research validated community concerns by revealing increased risk of exposure to heavy metals in drinking water and standing surface water, as well as reduced general physical health scores. To address these risks, classes of TAMU students and community members codeveloped landscape architecture and green solutions based on environmental and health assessments and community desires. This collaborative work eventually resulted in a federal Superfund Center and $32 million in research on the health impacts of toxic pollutants.

Background on the exemplary projects

The University of Louisville
In 2015, the University of Louisville Trager Institute led the efforts to support Louisville’s participation in the Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities by AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO) resulting in Louisville becoming the 120th US Age-Friendly city. With 40 percent of Louisville’s population projected to be 60 years or older by 2050, creating an environment where seniors could age well in place was essential to promoting wellbeing and ensuring the city continues to thrive. The Trager Institute guided the creation of a strategic plan using a needs assessment, participatory community engagement approaches, including listening sessions, concept mapping methods, and presentations to the public. The Trager Institute partnered with Metro Louisville, AARP, and Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency Area Agency on Aging to successfully implement the Age-Friendly Louisville’s long-term plan to address the needs of the aging population and promote inclusive and accessible communities for people of all ages and abilities. Thanks to these efforts, the City of Louisville is becoming an Age-Friendly City.

Pennsylvania State University
The RAISE Lab at Penn State is a group of applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) students and researchers working with communities to advance AI scholarship while building long-term, mutually beneficial collaborations with non-profit organizations working with marginalized communities. Through these collaborations, Penn State faculty and students get access to real-world data and problems, enabling the lab to design and implement AI algorithms that solve critical challenges while community partners get deployable AI solutions to significantly improve their day-to-day operations. Throughout this process, the lab continuously engages community partners in the development of our AI tools, from design choices, research methodologies, field-testing, and eventual launch and deployment of AI-based solutions in the real world. For example, RAISE developed TRIM-AI, an AI-driven tele-triage tool that infers the severity of a pregnant woman’s medical condition based on text messages to identify high-risk pregnancies and provide critical care.

Subscribe to RSS

Browse By Date

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun