WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) American Democracy Project (ADP) honored three outstanding leaders in civic engagement this past weekend during the National Meeting of ADP and its sister organization, The Democracy Commitment, in Louisville, Ky. Three awards were presented: The John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement; The William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement; and the inaugural Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement.
This year’s recipient of the John Saltmarsh Award, Bethany Fleck, is an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver (Colo). In addition to teaching courses in human development and psychology, Fleck pioneered two service-learning courses within the psychology department and is at the forefront of the movement to institutionalize service-learning at MSU Denver. The award was created in honor of John Saltmarsh, co-director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston, as a tribute to his dedication to nurturing the next generation of civic leaders.
Harold Hellenbrand, this year’s recipient of the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement, has exemplified the values of this award through his work as provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University, Northridge. Hellenbrand’s background reflects strengths in planning, K-12 linkages, retention efforts, and a strong commitment to diversity; he has nearly 30 years of experience within the California State University system. The award is named after William M. Plater, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) chief academic officer from 1987 through 2006. During his term at IUPUI, Plater oversaw the development of civic engagement as an integral part of the campus mission and as a defining characteristic of its graduates.
The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement was created this year to honor exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and advancing the work of AASCU’s American Democracy Project. The inaugural recipient of this award, Gregg Kaufman, is an instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia College, where he also coordinates the campus’ American Democracy Project; he also serves on the national ADP implementation committee. The award’s namesake provided extraordinary national leadership in the design, creation and ongoing development of the American Democracy Project.
“We're so pleased to honor these outstanding individuals who represent the incredible work of civic learning and engagement taking place on our campuses every day,” says George Mehaffy, AASCU’s vice president for academic leadership and change. “The work of the people we recognized in Louisville, and the countless campus faculty members and administrators who also work to prepare the next generation of informed, engaged citizens, will strengthen our country and contribute to a brighter future for us all.”
AASCU’s American Democracy Project, a multi-campus initiative of more than 250 colleges and universities, aims to produce graduates who are committed to being active, involved citizens in their communities. For more information, visit www.aascu.org/programs/ADP.
AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.