Social justice is Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Chérie Rivers Ndaliko’s passion

Chérie Rivers Ndaliko and her husband, Petna Ndaliko KatondoloIn 2010, Chérie Rivers Ndaliko and her husband, internationally acclaimed Congolese filmmaker and activist Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, traveled to 33 colleges and universities around the country to show their film, Jazz Mama, which documents the strength of Congolese women in the face of upheaval and violence. Before showing the film, she asked audience members if they knew anything about the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Few, if any, raised their hands. Ndaliko knew she had more work to do.

In the face of the economic conflict raging in Congo in which American consumers are complicit, “there’s no chance the political situation in the Congo is going to change when Americans have no idea that there’s anything even happening,” she said.

Social justice is Ndaliko’s passion, and she appreciates that she has found a space for it in academia. As a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar and an assistant professor of music and interdisciplinary scholar, Ndaliko researches and teaches about the intersection of creativity, conflict and social change in Africa. In addition, she and her husband run Yolé!Africa, an organization he founded that provides youth in eastern Congo the space, skills and alternative education necessary to thrive despite the deadly conflict in the region.

Ndaliko finds that the classroom gives students a safe space to discuss social justice issues. “People who are at a point in their lives where they’re really trying to form their values and figure out how they want to shape their adulthood — having these kinds of conversations is really powerful,” she said.

“As scholars of culture, we have very clear insight and recommendations that need to be considered on par with recommendations from engineers and doctors and economists.”

Such conversations will be part of a conference at UNC-Chapel Hill in Oct. 27-28, “The Art of Emergency: Aesthetics and Aid in African Crises.” Ndaliko is partnering with a fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, Samuel M. Anderson, to bring together an interdisciplinary mix of scholars, artists, community organizers and students to examine the relationship between creativity and humanitarian aid in conflict regions.

Her new book, on cultural activism and art in the Congo,Necessary Noise: Music, Film and Charitable Imperialism in the East of Congo, will be published in October.

While some nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian agencies attempt to address problems, few of them engage with the local community enough to guide long-lasting change, she said. What’s often lacking is an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.

“That’s a prime example of the value of a humanities education,” she said. “As scholars of culture, we have very clear insight and recommendations that need to be considered on par with recommendations from engineers and doctors and economists.”

The conference is designed to be interactive and create discussions around best practices for social justice work.

“That kind of shift in thinking leads directly to structural change,” Ndaliko said. “It empowers people who are on the ground to be owners and agents of that change and to direct it as they see fit.”

By Kristen Chavez ’13 Carolina Arts & Sciences

Photo credit: Steve Exum 

Northside’s future takes shape

Northside community members and volunteers

Maggie West (Carolina alumna and neighborhood resident), Marian Cheek Jackson (lifetime resident and Jackson Center namesake), Willie Mae Patterson (lifetime resident and neighborhood leader) and George Barrett (Carolina alumnus, neighborhood resident and Jackson Center staff member).

For Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Della Pollock, preserving people’s life stories is more than a way to chronicle the past. It also creates a path to cultivate future aspirations.

A multi-year project begun in 2007 in collaboration with St. Joseph C.M.E. Church proved that point in ways Pollock, professor of communication at Carolina, didn’t imagine at the time. As part of an APPLES service-learning course, Pollock began involving students in the life of Northside, a historically black neighborhood near downtown Chapel Hill, where they listened to oral histories of longtime residents and community leaders.

What started as an effort to learn the history of Northside and understand the role of the black church in the wake of desegregation eventually became a public history and community development organization, the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History.

There, with Pollock as the center’s executive director, a community-based staff and more than 250 volunteers work each year alongside residents to honor, renew and build community in Northside. Carolina faculty members and students have always been an integral part of that work. In fact, Hudson Vaughan, co-founder and deputy director of the Jackson Center, is one of Pollock’s former students.

HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP CONTINUES

The relationship between the University and Northside was forged long ago.

For the past century, a number of Carolina employees have called the network of neighborhoods that make up Northside home.

“Residents’ ancestors built the stone walls that surround the University and hauled water from the Old Well to student dorms,” Pollock said. “Many current residents worked for the University and UNC Hospitals in the past, and some continue to work there today.”

With more than 200 oral histories catalogued, the Jackson Center has become the linchpin for revitalizing a neighborhood that during the past three decades had seen exponential growth in the number of investor-owned properties and a corresponding decline in its black population. The center, which has always had a strong interest in housing advocacy, has partnered with the University, the Town of Chapel Hill and Self- Help to find ways to make Northside a diverse, family-oriented neighborhood once again.

While previous efforts to stabilize the community never gained traction, this time seems to be different.

For one thing, it is a bottom-up leadership process, Pollock said. The Northside Neighborhood Compass Group, made up of community representatives and partners, has vetted the plans and guided the strategic decision-making on Northside properties, she said.

There also is strong motivation to use the past as a springboard for the future, just as the Jackson Center’s motto says: “Without the past, you have no future.” As residents shared their stories, they felt a renewed determination to build on the strengths of their multi-generational community.

Northside residents express a great love and respect for the past, said Linda Convissor, director of community relations at Carolina, but they also want to shape the future.

“Rather than trying to recreate the past or freeze the present, conversations now are more about preserving the traditional values of the African-American neighborhood as new residents move in,” she said. “People who live in Northside – many of whom have family ties that go back several generations – talk about the supportive, tight-knit community of their childhoods, and that’s what they want to carry into the future.”

In addition, residents have seen a revitalized commitment from the Town of Chapel Hill coupled with strong interest from top University leaders, beginning with former Chancellor Holden Thorp and continuing with the staunch support of Chancellor Carol L. Folt. Last March, the University provided a critical financial boost to the effort with a $3 million, 10-year, no-interest loan to Self-Help to help stabilize Northside.

A CATALYST FOR RENEWAL

The University’s loan was a major catalyst for the Northside Neighborhood Initiative, said Gordon Merklein, Carolina’s executive director of real estate development, but it is not a University-run effort.

“The Jackson Center is a gateway to the neighborhood – really the boots on the ground, the people who have the ear and pulse of the neighborhood,” Merklein said. “The town wants to see the area thrive, especially with a new elementary school there. Self-Help knows community development real estate better than anyone, and the University brings the money and a desire to see Northside stabilized. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Self-Help’s involvement is key, he explained, because the Durham-based institution understands the intricacies of buying, holding and selling properties to benefit the community. Self-Help acts as general contractor and loan manager. It pools the financial resources – the loan from the University plus grants the initiative has received – to acquire, renovate and resell avail- able Northside properties to aspiring homeowners or affordable housing agencies.

The concept is called land banking. As a property becomes available, funds from the land bank are used to purchase it, and the property is held in the land bank until a good match is found.

“Essentially, the land bank allows the home to sit until the right buyer is found, and when the home is sold later, that money recycles back into the land bank,” Merklein explained.

The University’s loan is used solely to buy a property, not to renovate it or buy down the purchase price. Those efforts are funded through grants – to date, $75,000 from the Town of Chapel Hill to launch the Promise of Home program so elderly or disabled residents can make home repairs, and $750,000 from the Oak Foundation to support needed renovations and discount the sale price of land bank properties to keep them affordable.

So far, the University loan has been used to acquire six properties, including vacant lots and vacant houses, for the land bank. One property has been sold to Habitat, which plans to build three new homes there for low-income, first-time homeowners. In fact, for 2016–17, Habitat will focus its construction efforts in Northside, with a goal to build a dozen homes in the neighborhood, said Dan Levine, Self-Help’s director of business development and project management.

In less than a year, Northside has seen tangible change. Elderly residents’ homes are being repaired so the residents can remain there, and properties that otherwise might have been snapped up by investors are being held and repaired for sale to families.

“We’ve seen success even more quickly than we had anticipated,” Merklein said. “The University’s backing gave the initiative the momentum it needed to get off the ground. It also paved the way for other organizations, such as Habitat and the Oak Foundation, to become involved.”

The chancellor was the driving force behind this unique opportunity to enhance the University’s historic relationship with Northside, he said. “Thanks to Chancellor Folt’s resolve to turn the vision and commitment of so many people into reality, the residents in Northside are seeing real evidence that their neighborhood will remain a vital part of our community.”

The neighborhood itself deserves much of the credit, Convissor said: “Northside residents have always been active and engaged. It may seem contradictory, but their deep, abiding commitment to preserving their neighborhood is what motivated the investments that will secure its future.”

By Patty Courtright, Finance and Administration

Published May 23, 2016

UNC-Chapel Hill faculty recognized for engaged scholarship connecting with community

fes-class-viCHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Engaging the community to help hungry children access food during the summer months is Maureen Berner’s passion. For the past two years, Berner, a professor in the School of Government, and seven other UNC faculty members worked on a variety of projects that connected them to the community in many ways.

Maureen Berner, Barbara Friedman, Cheryl Giscombe, Adam Jacks, Anne Johnston, Steve May, Vicki Mercer and Chérie Ndaliko will be honored as graduates of class V of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program during a lunch celebration beginning at noon, Aug. 31 at the Carolina Club in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

The program, an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service, brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community along with the faculty and community course directors to support one another’s projects and community partners. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and innovative products of their scholarship.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program is transformative. Rather than trying to fit engaged work into the traditional mold of scholarship, now I see how it can be embraced,” Berner said. “The impact of my work has multiplied, opening more doors to more research, more outreach and more collaborations. I speak about my project all the time – from an audience of 2,000 through a TEDx Talk, to a small group of young social entrepreneurs, to an international academic conference in Spain and to middle school students in a Future Food Security Leaders summer camp in Wake County. I am still writing for the research community, but I am also invited to be at the policy-makers’ table.”

The Carolina Center for Public Service created the Faculty Engaged Scholars program in 2007 to advance faculty involvement in engaged scholarship. In 2013, an endowment honoring UNC’s former chancellor H. Holden Thorp was established to support faculty in the program. Selected through a competitive process, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars learn about and pursue community engagement through scholarly endeavors during the two-year program. Since the program began, 53 faculty members have been selected from 10 professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, representing more than 20 departments.

“The Faculty Engaged Scholars program transformed the way we thought about our communities and their involvement in our research,” said Anne Johnston, a professor in the School of Media and Journalism, who co-directs The Irina Project (TIP), a project that monitors and studies media

representations of sex trafficking and provides resources to news organizations and others for

accurate and responsible reporting of the issue. “The groups and organizations we visited were so committed to serving and helping their communities and to involving these communities in the development and implementation of their research and programs. This model of interacting with communities really expanded our view of who our communities are and how we should be engaged with all of them.”

The graduates and their work

These eight faculty members have distinguished themselves as engaged scholars through their commitment to serve others and strengthen university-community relationships.

Dr. Maureen Berner, professor in the School of Government, wanted to know more about how  communities can successfully address what she calls “wicked problems” – in her case, hunger and food insecurity. Her project focused on how hungry children access, or fail to access, available federally supported summer meal programs. Through in-depth interviews and data from across the state and close interaction with state officials and nonprofit leaders, Berner concluded that the key to feeding hungry children is building local government and nonprofit capacity. She is a founding member of a new consortium of university researchers providing monthly advice on these programs directly to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials and collaborating on new research projects prompted by USDA initiatives.

Dr. Barbara Friedman, associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism, and her colleague Dr. Anne Johnston, professor in the School of Media and Journalism, co-direct The Irina Project (TIP), a project that monitors and studies media representations of sex trafficking and provides resources to news organizations and others for accurate and responsible reporting of the issue. TIP is the only organization to have as its sole focus theoretical and applied research of media coverage of trafficking. For the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, the two advanced a web-based resource that includes best practices, interactive data on trafficking, and interviews with expert sources including survivors, blog essays, tip sheets, research notes and more. Friedman and Johnston trained print, broadcast and digital journalists to cover trafficking and continue to field queries from reporters around the world working on this issue. Most recently, they partnered with a group preparing an anti-trafficking campaign for the state of North Carolina.

Dr. Cheryl Giscombe is the LeVine Wellness Distinguished Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Her work as a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar strengthened her existing partnership with Healing with CAARE, Inc. Through the Faculty Engaged Scholars program, Giscombe completed two research studies in collaboration with her community partner; one focused on substance abuse relapse prevention and the other focused on chronic stress and diabetes risk reduction. Giscombe provides training in culturally sensitive, contextually relevant, team-oriented, evidence-based, holistic care including a focus on healthcare systems and policy. This type of learning for healthcare professionals has been found to increase empathy and insight, and to increase acuity of focus on changes needed to positively impact care, access and population health.

Dr. Adam Jacks is an associate professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences – Speech and Hearing Sciences who studies the impact of stroke and other neurological diseases on communication. Much of his current work focuses on identifying predictors of life participation in community-dwelling stroke and brain injury survivors with impaired communication (i.e. aphasia). His Faculty Engaged Scholars project focused on providing language assessments to people with aphasia in the community with no access to treatment, as well as to those who attend communication groups at Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited, a Cary-based nonprofit organization. Jacks’ project provided opportunities to build relationships with speech-language pathologists in the community, including a clinical research forum with equal contributions by academic researchers and practicing clinicians.

Dr. Steve May, associate professor in the Department of Communication, focuses his research on exploring organizational ethics and corporate social responsibility, with an emphasis on studying public-private, cross-sector partnerships that seek to solve a range of community problems. May’s Faculty Engaged Scholars project identified best practices of corporate social responsibility initiatives to understand successful strategies for business-community partnerships that are equitable, collaborative and produce sustainable impact. These best practices include creating a shared vision by focusing on common interests and values; identifying and engaging diverse sets of stakeholders, with mutually reinforcing activities; developing trust by communicating candidly and engaging in continuous learning; creating shared measurements of progress and impact; and providing knowledge and expertise through best practices. Using project findings, May produced a web-based knowledge database that includes scholarly findings, case studies, white papers, a blog and assessment tools used by cross-sector partners.

Dr. Vicki Mercer, associate professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences – Physical Therapy, focuses her research on improving balance and preventing falls in older adults and individuals with neurological disorders. In her Faculty Engaged Scholars project, she expanded her work with the Community Health and Mobility Partnership (CHAMP) program in western North Carolina. CHAMP is a falls prevention program that Mercer developed in 2009 with community partners from senior centers, hospitals, physical therapy clinics and community colleges. Through CHAMP, interdisciplinary teams of health care providers work with older adults at senior centers and other community sites to improve their balance and muscle strength and decrease their risk of falls.

Dr. Chérie Ndaliko, assistant professor in the Department of Music, explored parallels between students in eastern Congo whose lives are inflected by war and violence and students in economically underprivileged communities in North Carolina. Common to both groups of students is limited access to arts education that leaves them with fewer opportunities to develop empowering critical thinking skills. To interrupt this cycle, Ndaliko created an interactive arts curriculum for North Carolina students that uses examples from Africa to foster critical thinking skills and cultivate global perspectives. In partnership with the Global Scholars Academy in Durham, North Carolina, the curriculum allows students to partner on creative projects with their Congolese peers, permitting those without the financial means to travel to have cross-cultural experiences.

About the Carolina Center for Public Service

The Carolina Center for Public Service engages and supports the faculty, students and staff of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. The Center strengthens the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.

– Carolina –

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars progam adds new faculty members

By Macon Gambill – The Daily Tar Heel

Ten UNC faculty members were recently selected for the sixth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars. The program, named for former chancellor Holden Thorp and sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service, aims to bring together distinguished faculty from a variety of fields to learn from one another and advance their engaged scholarship.

Faculty Director Ronald Strauss said the selection process for the program is competitive, with less than half the applicants for a given class typically receiving spots.

“Engaged scholarship is scholarship that is developed in collaboration and in consortium with community members,” Strauss said. “It allows a scholar to address issues of concern within communities and return benefit to communities by involving the participants in research, not just in selection of the topic, but the decision of how the research will be done.”

The sixth class will begin the program in fall 2016. As part of the two-year program, scholars will decide how they will advance their engaged scholarship individually through group dialogue and community excursions.

“The first year is a year of sessions of really going out on the road, learning from community, learning from each other, learning from faculty who are doing the work and then reflecting on that,” Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service, said. “And then the second year is more focused on the individual scholar’s work, where each scholar has a chance to present their work and really use their group as kind of a sounding board to bounce questions off of.”

“One of the things that I like most about the program is that it attempts to bring in scholars from different disciplines,” Community Director Melvin Jackson said. “They come with an idea or a project that they are interested in working on…But something I have seen is there have been instances in which the scholars have engaged within their class and with classes that preceded them and have developed reshaped agendas that complement themselves.”

Members of the sixth class see the program as a way to build upon previous research and extend its benefits beyond the walls of the academy.

“I’ve been interested in and have done engaged scholarship kind of on my own for quite some time,” Thorp Scholar Anna Agbe-Davies said. “I’m pretty deeply embedded in the community of archaeologists who are doing this work, but aside from people in my own department, I didn’t know what people across the University were doing.

“Having a chance to learn from people who are doing this work full-time, embedded in their communities, is really valuable,” Agbe-Davies said.

“I saw the problem as a way to kind of accelerate the translation of my research and other relevant research to the communities in a way that helps me understand methods and gain tools to do these projects because we’re not all the time trained to engage with communities,” Thorp Scholar Kimon Divaris said.

“It’s a great way to connect very good faculty that we have across the board at UNC with the community, which is, I think, ultimately what we should be thinking all the time, even if we’re doing basic research or other types of development — thinking how they will translate to meaningful improvement in people’s wellness,” Divaris said. “I think that’s the way to serve them better.

Read more: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2016/06/scholar-program-adds-new-faculty-members

Ten faculty members selected for Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program

Ten faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were recently selected for the sixth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES). These scholars will develop projects in partnership with community organizations like Historic Stagville in Durham to study the skills and expertise of enslaved laborers and The Farm at Penny Lane to improve housing and other community-based services for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.

Anna Agbie-Davies field researchLeaders in their respective fields, these 10 faculty members will participate in the two-year program sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service. The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in an experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. The ten faculty members selected are:

  • Anna Agbe-Davies, associate professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Antoine Bailliard, assistant professor, Department of Allied Health Sciences
  • Leisha DeHart-Davis, associate professor, School of Government
  • Kimon Divaris, associate professor, School of Dentistry
  • Julia Haslett, assistant professor, Department of Communication
  • Coretta Jenerette, associate professor, School of Nursing
  • Alexandra Lightfoot, research assistant professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Enrique Neblett Jr. associate professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Dana Thompson Dorsey, assistant professor, School of Education
  • Rachel Willis, professor, Department of American Studies

Every other year, eight to 10 faculty members are selected to participate in the program aimed at understanding and pursuing community engagement through scholarly endeavors. During the two-year program, scholars participate in sessions in community settings focused on exemplary University-community partnerships. While developing their own projects with community partners, scholars form a learning community with the course directors providing guidance and support. Dr. Ronald Strauss serves as faculty director and Melvin Jackson as community director.

In 2013, the Chancellor Holden Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Endowment was established at the Carolina Center for Public Service. The endowment was created with a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to name and support the Center’s Faculty Engaged Scholars program.

Since the program began in 2007, 53 faculty members have been selected from 11 schools and 21 departments to participate in the program. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and non-traditional products of their scholarship. Through these efforts, the program continues to build strong university-community relationships.

About the Carolina Center for Public Service

The Carolina Center for Public Service connects the energy and expertise of both the University and the community to provide students, faculty and staff with deep and transformative experiences. Through engaged scholarship and service, we work together to create collaborative and interdisciplinary solutions to local and global challenges.

-Carolina-

Faculty Engaged Scholar serves to help seniors maintain mobility

By Janell Smith

Vicki Mercer FES Champ and clientThrough a combination of community engagement and experiential education opportunities, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars become champions of their research. Vicki Mercer, associate professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and a member of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars class V, also supports champions through her falls prevention program, CHAMP (Community Health and Mobility Partnership).

This project helps older adults and individuals with disabilities remain as active and independent as possible. The program was the first of its kind to advance home care excellence for older adults.

Mercer has been involved with clinical practice in physical therapy for most of her career. It was her experience working with older adult patients, who are worried about falling and other mobility concerns, which inspired her to create this initiative.

“This fear [of falling] causes [some older adults] to restrict their activities, and can lead to a downward spiral of decreased activity, worsening strength and balance, increased risk of falling and greater activity restriction,” Mercer said. “The individual may stop participating in activities with family and friends and may venture out into the community only rarely.”

She added that this fear not only restricts activities, but has negative consequences for overall health and quality of life.

“I am passionate about trying to help older adults remain as active and independent as possible throughout their lives, helping them to really ‘live’ as long as they are living.”

The CHAMP program works with community partners, including senior centers, hospitals, physical therapy clinics, universities and community colleges in McDowell, Caldwell and Watauga counties in western North Carolina.

Weyland Prebor, director of the McDowell Senior Center, is a partner of the CHAMP project. He said that Mercer and the CHAMP initiative have been good medicine for McDowell County, encouraging the community to play an active part in their health.

“By bringing the CHAMP program to our community, Dr. Mercer has helped seniors become proactive in preventing their own fall injuries,” Prebor said. “Dr. Mercer has changed the lives of hundreds of senior adults in McDowell County helping them to take ownership in their own strength and mobility.”

Mercer used funds provided by the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program at the Carolina Center for Public Service to expand the program into Caldwell County after it received accolades in nearby McDowell County. Plans are for the program expand to other counties, including Cumberland and Hoke.

“The program specifically targets more rural areas that may not have resources for fall prevention interventions,” Mercer added.

Established in 2009, CHAMP has been well received by communities and lasted long after its initial grant funding ended. In 2010, the initiative won 2010 Outstanding County Program Award from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Mercer said this success and longevity demonstrates the commitment of its community partners. It also serves as an example to her students, who she hopes will develop a commitment to the individuals they serve and to lifelong learning.

“This is a wonderful synergy,” Mercer said about the community and classroom engagement.

“I have been blessed to find a career that I love (physical therapy), and I want to live out the mission of the physical therapy profession by working to enhance physical health and functional abilities among all people, including those who might have limited resources or limited access to health care.”

Faculty Engaged Scholar Cheryl Giscombe is dedicated to serving

By Janell Smith

FES Cheryl Giscombe teaching shotThorp Faculty Engaged Scholar Dr. Cheryl Giscombe, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, is undertaking research to combat inequities in the healthcare system.

“I am motivated by my desire to contribute to the elimination of health and healthcare disparities,” Giscombe said.

“My goal is to be an ambassador for mental health so that all people have access to high-quality mental health.”

Giscombe’s current research, which ranges from an emphasis on the Superwoman Schema to community-based research on substance abuse relapse prevention, aims to fight the siloing of biological, mental and emotional aspects of health. Giscombe’s research has proven that the intersectionality between these three factors are important. Her findings from the Superwoman Schema, which studies stress and obesity in African-American women, have been cited on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Fact Sheet on Stress and Health Disparities.

“Psychological stress is a major contributor to health behaviors and physical processes that lead to undesirable health conditions and ultimately influence an individual’s quality of life.

“I am dedicated to partnering with communities, families and individuals to facilitate holistic, culturally-relevant and sustainable strategies to produce optimal health.”

But, Giscombe isn’t the only hero in this fight. She incorporates students and the community in her studies. Giscombe has designed community-based training opportunities for nursing students, providing multi-level benefits to underserved groups, patients, healthcare providers and health researchers in North Carolina.

“I want to develop students who are dedicated and committed to caring for those who are underserved and underrepresented, as well as all people who need quality healthcare,” she said.

Cheryl Giscombe cropped in clinicGiscombe also has a robust relationship with Healing with CAARE, Inc., a Durham-based health clinic and wellness center that serves people at-risk, empowers the community through preventive health education and counseling, and provides decent, affordable low-income housing.

Giscombe has worked closely with CAARE’s founder and executive director, Dr. Sharon Elliot-Bynum, creating CAARE’s mental health services program, training health-profession students in community-based approaches to health and developing and leading the Inter-professional Leadership Institute for Mental Health Equity. She is developing the institute through an award she received after being named a 2015 Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Macy Faculty Scholar. In addition, Giscombe was selected to serve on the APA Taskforce for Stress and Health Disparities.

During her time as a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, Giscombe has strengthened relationships with other community partners in Wake and Warren counties. She’s also reinforced existing relationships with her alma maters: the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Through these relationships, she encourages a pipeline of students interested in health professions education.

“I am committed to an academic career that enables me to engage in research, practice and the education of future health professionals to eliminate health disparities and improve the overall health of our population,” Giscombe said.

Cheryl Giscombe research shot“But I love to serve because I live to help others and give back. It makes life meaningful. My parents, grandparents and previous educational experiences at NCSSM and NCCU emphasized the importance of service.

“Now as a Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholar, this service is being supported as well as enhanced by supporting the ways in which service can be integrated with scholarly endeavors.”

Read more about Cheryl Giscombe in the University Gazette.

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Class IV graduate

Nine Carolina faculty members have been honored for their engaged scholarship over the past two years. As part of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, these professors worked to strengthen university-community partnerships through such work as training teachers to integrate experiential learning into their classrooms.

Tamera Coyne-Beasley, Barbara Fedders, Jocelyn Glazier, Leigh A. Hall, Jill B. Hamilton, Brian Hogan, Shawn M. Kneipp, Linda Watson and Ted Douglas Zoller were recognized as graduates of Class IV of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program during a lunch celebration at the Carolina Inn Friday, Aug. 22.

The program, an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service, brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship. Scholars participate in sessions in community settings to learn from Carolina faculty and their community partners. While developing individual projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community along with the faculty and community course directors to support one another’s projects and community partners. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and innovative products of their scholarship.

“Participating in the Faculty Engaged Scholars program has enabled me to better understand the concept of engaged scholarship, particularly its multiple and varied forms. There’s no one way into and through engaged scholarship,” said Jocelyn Glazier, associate professor in the School of Education. “Hearing about my colleagues’ work has really expanded my understanding of the extensive and limitless boundaries of engaged scholarship.”

The Faculty Engaged Scholars program was established in 2007 as an initiative of the Carolina Center for Public Service to advance faculty involvement in engaged scholarship. In 2013, an endowment honoring UNC’s former chancellor H. Holden Thorp was established to support faculty in the program. Selected through a competitive process, Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars learn about and pursue community engagement through scholarly endeavors during the two-year program. Since its inception, 43 faculty members from nine schools and 21 departments have been selected to participate in the program.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program opened my eyes to the dramatic needs of the state of North Carolina and the importance of core economic insights to unlock its long-term economic prosperity,” said Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. “This experience served to raise the stakes and motivate my work at a higher level to make sure that it wasn’t just another unread analysis, but instead a call to action. I learned that sound research can result in important insights and be a tool of transformation. This project served to distill in me a passion to serve our citizens by promoting the economic prosperity of the state of North Carolina.”

Faculty Engaged Scholars 2014 Graduation Program.

The graduates and their work

These nine faculty members have distinguished themselves as engaged scholars through their commitment to serve others and strengthen university-community relationships.

Dr. Tamera Coyne-Beasley, professor of pediatrics, established the North Carolina Child Health Research Network as part of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Science Institute to build partnerships among community organizations, community-based and ambulatory practices, and research communities. As the network director, she engages in multiple projects with adolescents in western and central North Carolina. Coyne-Beasley focuses on testing the effectiveness of school-based telemedicine programs, texting and social media for increasing knowledge of human papilloma virus disease and related-cancers, and increasing adolescent access to healthcare including human papilloma virus vaccination.

Barbara Fedders, clinical assistant professor in the School of Law, teaches and supervises law students who represent youth in North Carolina delinquency cases. Her scholarship focuses on improving policies, practices and legal representation for young people in the child welfare and delinquency systems. She serves on the advisory board for the Equity Project, a national organization promoting policy and practice reforms for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the juvenile justice system, and helped produce a report for stakeholders. At the state and national level, Fedders trains lawyers on incorporating clients’ educational histories and using education law in delinquency representation. In collaboration with an education lawyer, she is producing a practitioners’ manual based on those trainings.

Jocelyn Glazier, associate professor in the School of Education, focuses on exploring the impact of experiential pedagogy on teacher and student learning, particularly with regard to minority populations. Glazier worked with teachers from different schools in what she has called a Teacher Collaborative (TC), a space where teachers work with one another to study experiential teaching and learning in their own classrooms. In addition to honing practice, teachers in TCs learn together how to assess the impact of these approaches on their students and share their findings with colleagues and stakeholders, empowering both each other and their students in the process.

Dr. Leigh A. Hall, associate professor in the School of Education, addresses issues relevant to adolescents’ literacy development and particularly those who have been labeled as having reading difficulties. Her project centered on creating an online community for teachers to help them examine how patterns in their teaching did or did not support students’ academic literacy development and how to reconfigure their instruction in ways that would do so. Teachers received regular input and feedback on their ideas from each other, Hall and graduate assistants. As a result, teachers engaged professional development that was meaningful and connected to the issues in their own practice.

Dr. Jill B. Hamilton, former assistant professor in the School of Nursing (now at Johns Hopkins University), is published on topics related to social support, religion and quality of life among African-American cancer survivors. She was a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar from 2003-2007 and a Faculty Scholar at the Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Duke University. Hamilton’s research interests include health disparities, social and cultural factors that influence health, and the coping strategies used among older African-American cancer survivors and their families. She has developed measures of preferred coping strategies and spirituality, and is exploring the sociocultural factors that influence how older African-Americans use social support and religion/spirituality as mental health promoting strategies when there is a diagnosis of cancer.

Dr. Brian Hogan, a research assistant professor in the Chemistry department, is the academic director for the Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a program dedicated to increasing college access for Latino high school students. Dr. Hogan’s research focuses on increasing the number of Latino and Latina students graduating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. He helped build “SLIence,” a collaboration between McDougle Middle School and the Scholars’ Latino Initiative. Each week, Latino science majors work with the middle grades after-school program Las Guapitas y Los Caballeros Guapos to bring STEM outreach and mentoring.

Dr. Shawn M. Kneipp, associate professor in the School of Nursing, conducts research of health disparities and social determinants of health. Her work focused on health conditions and unmet needs of women in welfare-to-work programs in the United States, where symptoms associated with chronic health conditions pose significant barriers for women as they attempt to become economically self-sufficient. In collaboration with community partners, her current projects focus on improving longer-term health and employment conditions using peer-mentored problem solving methods and examining the role of minor criminal offense charges as both barriers to self-sufficiency and social determinants of health.

Dr. Linda Watson, a professor in Allied Health Sciences, focuses her scholarship on autism research, addressing issues of early development, early identification and social-communication interventions. She sought to increase engagement with varied stakeholders across multiple projects. One project is collaboration with public school educators to test the efficacy of a school-based intervention for preschoolers with autism. Watson also worked on a collaborative effort with stakeholders in Bolivia with an interest in improving autism services there. Watson and a Bolivian collaborator began preliminary planning for sustainable ways to address community-identified needs for greater autism awareness and expertise in Bolivia.

Ted Douglas Zoller is director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Zoller is the founding instructor of Launching the Venture, a start-up creation program that increased the number of spin-offs from UNC-Chapel Hill. Zoller’s project entailed developing a comprehensive analysis of the social capital of the Research Triangle Park and the engagement of the network of UNC entrepreneurial social capital in the North Carolina economy. The Blackstone Foundation recognized this work as the basis of a new intervention to increase the performance of regional entrepreneurial networks through the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN) in Research Triangle Park. Based on project outcomes, the Blackstone Foundation issued UNC a $1.1 million grant to replicate the network nationally.

Faculty Engaged Scholars receive national award

Professors Analyze Media Coverage of Sex Trafficking

By Maura Devetski for The Daily Tar Heel 6/30/2014

UNC professors Barbara Friedman and Anne Johnston were recognized for their work on the Irina Project with the Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy by the Commission on the Status of Women.

The purpose of the project, co-directed by School of Journalism and Mass Communication professors Friedman and Johnston, is to analyze the media coverage of sex trafficking and promote the fair and accurate reporting of the issue.

“We came together as researchers with an interest in gender issues,” Friedman said.

Friedman said they noticed a trend of criticism in the media coverage of sex trafficking that lacked evidence, which inspired their first study of sex trafficking coverage in the media.

“We are not only talking about (sex trafficking) but linking it to how it is covered in the media,” Johnston said.

Friedman and Johnston collaborate with other groups involved in the movement against sex trafficking such as survivors, social workers and law enforcement officials.

The Commission on the Status of Women within Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication gives the Donna Allen Award to a woman or group that exemplifies the values of Donna Allen, founder of the Woman’s Institute of Freedom of the Press.

Chairwoman for the Commission on the Status of Women Spring Duvall said it was the dedication of its co-directors and the real world application of their research that set the project apart.

“All of the judges commented on (the impressiveness) of the scope of the work that Dr. Johnston and Dr. Friedman are doing,” Duvall said. ”(They recognized) how passionate and committed they are to the project.” 

Susan King, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the award was an indication of how important the work of scholars is in the journalism school.

“It’s an affirmation that the work (of Johnston and Friedman) has real meaning and is a challenge for others,” King said.

She said Friedman and Johnston managed to identify an important issue in the country and receiving the recognition is an added bonus.

Friedman and Johnston were recently selected for the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program, which brings together faculty in the development of engaged scholarship projects, like the Irina Project.

Friedman and Johnston said they would like to develop a standing website that will be based on their research as well as contributions from other sources like journalists and healthcare professions.

“That will help us take the project where we want to go,” Johnston said.

Read more about Friedman and Johnston’s award and work at jomc.unc.edu.

Nine faculty members selected for fifth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars

The next class of Faculty Engaged Scholars, leaders in their respective fields, will address a wide variety of issues including analyzing the administrative burden of summer meal programs for children in need, developing web-based resources for journalists who cover sex trafficking, and creating a clinical scholars forum to involve local speech-language pathologists in the research process.

Nine faculty members were recently selected for the fifth class of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES), a program sponsored by the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The program brings together selected faculty from across campus to engage in a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship.

Every other year, eight to 10 faculty members are selected to participate in the program aimed at learning about and pursuing community engagement through scholarly endeavors. The nine faculty members selected for the fifth class of Faculty Engaged Scholars are:

  • Maureen Berner, professor, School of Government
  • Juan Carrillo, assistant professor, School of Education
  • Barbara Friedman, associate professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Cheryl Giscombe, assistant professor, School of Nursing
  • Adam Jacks, assistant professor, Department of Allied Health Sciences
  • Anne Johnston, Shumaker Distinguished Term Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Steven May, associate professor, Department of Communication Studies
  • Vicki Mercer, associate professor, Department of Allied Health Sciences
  • Cherie Ndaliko, assistant professor, Department of Music

During the two years, scholars work with community partners to develop projects and participate in sessions in community settings to learn about each other’s projects. While developing their projects, each class of scholars forms a learning community with the course directors to support one another’s projects. Dr. Ronald Strauss serves as faculty director and Melvin Jackson as community director.

In 2013, the Chancellor Holden Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Endowment was established at the Carolina Center for Public Service. The endowment was created with a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to name and support the Center’s Faculty Engaged Scholars program.

Since the program began in 2007, 43 faculty members have been selected from nine schools and 21 departments to participate in the program. The growing network of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars reports outcomes including new interdisciplinary collaborations, successful grant applications and both traditional and non-traditional products of their scholarship. Through this engaged scholarship, the program continues to build strong university-community relationships.