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

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.

Early action can help with autism

Linda R. atson

Autism Researcher, Linda R. Watson

By Linda R. Watson

One in 68 children show symptoms of autism spectrum disorder by the time they reach 8 years of age, according to statistics released last week by Centers for Disease Control. The meaning of these numbers is highlighted for me as I hear more and more stories from friends and acquaintances whose families include a member with ASD.

As an autism researcher, I am asked many questions about autism for which we continue to lack definitive answers, including, “Why is autism increasing so much?” But I welcome these hard questions, because they open conversations about some of the important progress we have made in understanding this neurodevelopmental disorder.

One important advance is much more knowledge of the early risk markers for ASD. This has led to improvements in our ability to identify toddlers with ASD. Through early identification, we increase the chances that these toddlers and their families will have access to early intervention programs.

Although good intervention programs at all ages can improve functioning for individuals with ASD, the most dramatic improvements have been seen among toddlers and preschoolers who participate in intensive intervention programs. Improvements include better language and cognitive skills and fewer problem behaviors, which are associated in turn with better school performance and a greater likelihood of independent living as adults. For these reasons, early identification of children with ASD is a priority for the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among other organizations.

Through the Program in Early Autism Research, Leadership and Service at UNC-Chapel Hill, my colleagues and I are examining the risk markers for ASD in infants and young toddlers.

We previously developed a research version of a questionnaire for parents of 12-month-olds that identifies about half of the children who will be diagnosed with ASD as preschoolers. Many parents of children eventually diagnosed with ASD express concerns about their child’s development by the child’s first birthday, but the risk markers at this age are often subtle. Thus, both parents and physicians are hard-pressed to know how seriously to take the concerns in the absence of a good screening tool.

Our questionnaire, the First Year Inventory, provides information on whether a 12-month-old is at high risk for ASD or other developmental problems sharing some of the same early risk markers.

This questionnaire also has made it possible for our team to begin evaluating interventions with 1-year-olds and their parents prior to the time that autism symptoms have fully emerged. Our hope is that starting appropriate interventions at such a young age will be especially effective because the brains of infants and young toddlers are growing rapidly and are very “plastic,” meaning that their future brain growth can be altered by their early experiences.

This month, 40,000 families in North Carolina will be asked to assist in the very early identification of children at risk for autism and other developmental problems. These are families who have infants between the ages of 9 and 16 months, as identified through public birth records in our state.

Parents will receive a postcard early this month inviting them to participate in the North Carolina Developmental Survey online or by mail. Our PEARLS team is doing this survey to improve our parent questionnaire and adapt it for a broader age range of infants. Through these changes, we aim to make the questionnaire useful for pediatricians and other community professionals who see infants and young toddlers and talk with parents about their child’s development. The more responses we receive to the North Carolina Child Development Survey, the more confident we can be about what behaviors are typical for infants in this age range, and what behaviors best identify infants likely to have later developmental problems, including ASD.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Without question, the awareness of autism is at an all time high. As a society, we face a major public health challenge of how we will respond to the increasing prevalence of ASD. Early detection and early intervention are important components of a comprehensive approach.

North Carolina is at the forefront in our country in lowering the age at which ASD is diagnosed, but the average age of diagnosis in our state is still a relatively old 46 months. Thus, many children are being diagnosed too late to participate in early intervention. We can do better. The North Carolina Child Development Survey provides an opportunity for North Carolina parents to help meet this challenge.

Linda R. Watson is a clinical associate professor of speech-language pathology in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Department of Allied Health Sciences at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Originally appeared in The News & Observer.


Fedders submits brief to N.C. Center for Safer Schools

FES Barb Fedders law school orientationUNC School of Law clinical assistant professor Barbara A. Fedders co-authored an issue brief submitted May 7 to the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools, a state program created in March 2013 that is currently seeking public comment on school safety issues. The brief, endorsed by 56 organizations in North Carolina and across the country, provides a comprehensive, research-based approach to the issue of school safety, according to Fedders.

Fedders developed the brief with attorneys from Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services project. She says they drafted the response out of concern that the school safety debate that has emerged after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is too narrowly focused on physical security. To better inform the debate, Fedders says the brief provides important and often-overlooked facts about school safety, recommendations for proven methods of ensuring student well-being, examples of reforms from other cities and states, and an extensive bibliography of literature on the issue.

Read more about Fedders in Carolina Law.

Faculty Engaged Scholar Malinda Maynor Lowery named Tar Heel of the Week

FES Malinda Maynor Lowery Finding the beauty of story in a difficult history

By Marti Maguire — The News & Observer

CHAPEL HILL — As a youth, Malinda Lowery considered history’s three most important figures to be Moses, Harriet Tubman and Henry Berry Lowrie – leader of a band of outlaw Lumbee Indians and African-Americans who fought Confederate soldiers seeking to enlist them and, later, the Ku Klux Klan.

As a historian, her intellectual journeys have also led her from more commonly tread historical territory to the arena of her own heritage – and away from the two-dimensional representation of the written word into film and audio recordings.

Lowery has studied the Lumbee tribe, of which she is a member, for much of her career as a professor and documentary filmmaker. Her recent book on the tribe during the Jim Crow era won several awards from Native American organizations.

Earlier this month, Lowery took over as director of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC, a collection of more than 5,000 recorded interviews that celebrates its 40th birthday this year.

Those who know Lowery and are familiar with the archive say her personal and scholarly background will help usher in a new era of exploring missing segments of Southern history – starting with its native people.

“I see her coming as a sea change for oral history and our relationship to American Indian history in the Southeast,” said William Ferris, a UNC folklorist and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. “And oral history is key to the South. We are a region of talkers and storytellers.”

Lowery, 40, says she hopes to boost the collection of recordings centered on the Lumbee, Cherokee and other tribes of the American South. But she notes other priorities, such as documenting the influence of the media and lifting the collection’s profile.

“In the short term, my interest is less in creating new knowledge and more in making people aware of the knowledge that already exists here and how it might be used,” she said. “I’ll be working hard to make sure the university and the state understand the value that oral history can have.”

The collection is one of the largest of its kind and is poised to be the first that is entirely digitized, allowing researchers to search transcripts of the interviews for key words.

The interviews illuminate a wide variety of historical and contemporary topics: Southern politics, the creation of Research Triangle Park, notable North Carolinians such as Jesse Helms and William Friday, industrialization and Latino immigration.

Lowery says the interviews could be used not only by students of history, but by students and others interested in public policy, family histories and more.

A number of the projects focus on social movement such as the civil rights era, and Lowery would like to see that the Native American roles in these events are also documented – a task she has begun with her study of the Lumbee tribe.

The Lumbee connection

North Carolina’s Lumbees, centered in Robeson County, make up the largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi, with nearly 70,000 members, according to census estimates. But the tribe has not been recognized by the federal government, despite efforts to do so spanning more than a century.

A bill to recognize the tribe has been filed in Congress again this year.

Lowery grew up in Durham, where her parents were both professors at N.C. Central University. But her parents took pains to expose her and her siblings to Lumbee culture.

They felt strongly enough about the connection to have each of their children at a Lumberton hospital; Lowery did the same with her daughter.

While Lowery says she learned the specifics of the Lumbees’ struggles as a scholar, she grew up learning it from her parents, fervent Episcopalians who often drew parallels with Scripture.

“My father emphasized how much the Lumbee had in common with the Jews, an oppressed but chosen people,” she said. “And they would point out to us when we visited Robeson County, which was often, how blessed we were to have this land and family relationships.”

Her parents also stressed education; she and most of her seven siblings, four from her father’s previous marriage, earned advanced degrees.

Lowery always loved writing and stories, and initially thought she would study English literature. But as a Harvard undergraduate she chanced upon a job helping to make documentary films.

“That introduced me to the idea of film as a storytelling medium that can have an incredible impact in changing people’s minds, raising awareness, and just being beautiful and engaging,” she said.

She earned her degree in history and literature, and went on to film school at Stanford University. Her first research on the Lumbee was for student film projects during that time.

She went on to work in filmmaking, co-producing several documentaries for PBS and other outlets. Two of those films, one on Native American sacred places in the Western United States, went to the Sundance Film Festival.

But the work was grueling, and the need to render her topics in a way simple enough for television was frustrating.

So she came back home to North Carolina, where her intention to study the culture and identity of her ancestors found a ready audience. There were fewer recent works on Lumbee history, and none had examined the Lumbee in the Jim Crow South, which became Lowery’s focus.

“They were under-appreciated in terms of their presence and role,” she says. “Their history speaks to how we think about race in the segregated South.”

Not a beautiful story

In describing her work, Lowery alternates between using “they” and “we” to describe the Lumbee.

As a Ph.D. student at UNC, she worked as a research assistant on a project chronicling school desegregation in Robeson County. It’s an interesting case because desegregation there involved both African-American and American Indian schools.

And Lowery says the Lumbee were fearful of losing their cultural identity through integration.

She taught at Harvard and other places, but she came back to Chapel Hill for post-doctorate work and ended up joining the history faculty. She was there until July 1, when she took over the oral history program.

Lowery also met her late husband, Willie French Lowery, at UNC. He a Lumbee musician well known in his community and beyond who wrote popular music focused on the Lumbee. He died last year.

She later expanded her research to encompass the entire era from Reconstruction through the beginnings of the civil rights movement, using oral histories, written account and photographs.

At times, her work has hit too close to home, particularly when her research has revealed divisions among a group that has tried to keep a unified front in its fight for federal recognition.

“History is not beautiful,” she said. “People are not nice to one another.”

Read more here:

Faculty Engaged Scholar Rebecca Macy continues engagement work through domestic violence prevention

UNC researcher partners with Pitt County to prevent domestic violence homicides

By Susan White Contact Magazine, UNC School of Social Work

For most of her academic career, UNC researcher Rebecca Macy, Ph.D., has focused her work on solutions to prevent domestic violence and to help survivors successfully recover.

Over the next year, the School of Social Work professor will increase those efforts by partnering with law enforcement officers and community advocates in Eastern North Carolina to proactively tackle domestic violence homicides. The goal: to quickly identify women who are in potentially fatal abusive relationships or in households of risk and to connect them to services before it’s too late.

Specifically, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office has tapped Macy to assist the office and the county’s Center for Family Violence Prevention as part of a national initiative aimed at reducing violent deaths as a result of domestic violence.

Pitt was one of 12 jurisdictions awarded a $200,000 one-year federal grant to participate in the program, which is modeled after successful domestic violence prevention efforts in Maryland and Massachusetts. After the first year of funding, the county could receive an additional $600,000 over three years if selected among up to six communities to move forward with a prevention plan.

Nationally, the rate of domestic violence homicides has been decreasing, but the number of women who are killed by a partner or boyfriend remains “significantly high,” said Macy, the School’s L. Richardson Preyer Distinguished Chair for Strengthening Families, associate dean for academic affairs (and Faculty Engaged Scholar). In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, intimate partner homicides still account for 14 percent of all homicides in the country, “despite improvements in shelters, protective orders, domestic violence hotlines and other interventions since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.”

Generally, women are at highest risk for violent death when leaving abusive partners, Macy added. “So if we could figure out a good set of services that could help this individual while she’s working toward safety, and we could help protect her from death, that would really help to advance the field in important ways,” Macy said.

In Pitt County, law enforcement officials have also seen a troubling trend of domestic violence homicides that did not involve a spouse, ex-spouse or partner but another household member or relative. The sheriff’s office reports that more than half of the murders committed from 2008 to 2011 resulted from domestic violence.

Statewide, domestic violence homicides accounted for 63 deaths in 2012 alone, according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

To tackle this issue, Pitt County and other communities selected to participate in the national initiative, must first assess existing efforts to respond to domestic violence. Such an evaluation will involve digging deeper into a variety of data, including the total number of 911 calls made, annual arrests, protection orders issued, and current programs targeting domestic violence prevention, Macy explained. She and Pitt officials will also look more closely at public health data, including the number of emergency room patients identified as domestic violence victims.

Having a researcher on board for such an extensive review is critical, said Melissia Larson, grants administrator for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

“The researcher is able to guide us through the community assessment process in a transparent fashion and also serves as someone looking from the outside in, which is what we all need when evaluating our own processes,” Larson said. “We are beyond excited to be able to partner with the University on this project, especially with our selected researcher Rebecca Macy as she brings a wealth of academic knowledge to the project and can hit the ground running on the particular issue at hand.”

The goal, Macy said, is to better understand the community’s strengths, to identify room for improvement, and to develop a plan to enhance the community’s current prevention efforts. That plan would be modeled after programs in Maryland and Massachusetts, states where the percentage of domestic violence homicides has been declining.

“The difference in these states’ models is that there is strong evidence that programs in these communities have worked,” Macy said. “So the question is how do you take their programs and figure out what really makes them tick? How do you retain what really works but make it relevant for Pitt County?”

Maryland’s model focuses on training first responders, especially law enforcement officers, to recognize the signs of domestic violence through the use of a “Lethality Assessment Program.” Using a one-page questionnaire, officers screen for potential domestic violence victims by inquiring about their partners and their activities. Questions include: “Does he own a gun? Is he unemployed? Does he control most or all of your daily activities? Does he threaten to harm your children?”

If a respondent answers positively to a certain number of questions, officers then work to connect the victim to domestic violence services. As a result of the program, Maryland has seen a 41 percent drop in intimate partner homicides over the past three years, according to a state domestic violence coalition.

Massachusetts instituted its nationally acclaimed Domestic Violence High Risk Team Model nearly 10 years ago. Domestic violence victims are referred to an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including law enforcement officers, domestic violence advocates, and workers in mental health, health care, substance abuse, and child protective services.

This team then works closely with identified families to connect them to services and to keep them safe in their own communities, rather than requiring them to move into shelters. During the first six years of operation, the model screened more than 100 high-risk victims—93 percent of whom stayed within their own communities, according to a team model report. Furthermore, 92 percent of survivors reported no subsequent re-assaults.

Macy thinks Pitt County has the ability to replicate similar successes. The sheriff’s department already has a reputation for “being innovative and willing to try new strategies that are promising and that take domestic violence seriously,” she said.

“So if we could ultimately figure out how to prevent homicides, hold perpetrators accountable, keep victims and their children safe, that would be a huge innovation, especially if we could do that across multiple communities here in North Carolina.”

Chancellor Thorp honored with endowment to support UNC faculty

H. Holden Thorp, UNC’s outgoing chancellor, has been honored with the establishment of the Chancellor Holden Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars Endowment at the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The endowment was created with a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to name and support the Center’s Faculty Engaged Scholars program. 

“This endowment is an especially fitting way to honor Chancellor Thorp and his contributions in that it supports faculty from across campus in their efforts to develop and strengthen their teaching and research in ways that benefit communities throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “Chancellor Thorp is a great supporter of faculty engagement, and this endowment ensures the funding of the Chancellor Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program in perpetuity.”

A 1986 graduate of UNC, Holden Thorp has served on the faculty since 1993. Since then he has also been director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, chair of the chemistry department and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as chancellor.

The Faculty Engaged Scholars program is an initiative to advance faculty involvement in the engaged scholarship. Scholars are selected through a competitive process and during the two-year program participate in a highly interactive and experiential curriculum, involving on site-visits and discussions with other Carolina faculty members and their community partners.

The program began in 2007 and the fourth class of scholars was selected last spring. A total of 33 faculty members representing 21 departments have participated in the program. The next class of scholars will be selected in spring 2014 and will be the first to graduate as Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars. The program is committed to building UNC as an institution dedicated to and demonstrating strong university-community relationships.

Faculty Engaged Scholars and APPLES Service-Learning faculty receive teaching honors

College of Arts & Sciences

2013 University Teaching Awards honor instructors across disciplines

Twenty-four instructors in 18 different departments or schools, received 2013 University Teaching Awards at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the highest campus-wide recognition for teaching excellence. Five of those recognized are connected to CCPS programs as either Faculty Engaged Scholars or faculty for APPLES service-learning courses.

The Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

  • Jennifer Coble, department of biology (APPLES faculty)
  • Donna LeFebvre, senior lecturer, department of political science (APPLES faculty)
  • Andrew Reynolds, associate professor in the department of political science and chair of the curriculum in global studies (Faculty Engaged Scholar)

Chapman Family Teaching Award

  • Rachel Willis, associate professor, department of American studies (APPLES faculty)

The J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award

  • Mai Nguyen, assistant professor, department of city and regional planning (Faculty Engaged Scholar)

Faculty Engaged Scholars Lauterer and Nguyen engage the Carolina Way

The News & Observer

By John Drescher — Executive Editor

Community Journalism student Lucie Shelly (right) mentors high school journalist Anna Aguilar of the Southern Scoop of Southern High School in Durham.
Jock Lauterer

Jock Lauterer was stunned and angry five years ago when Eve Carson, the student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill, was abducted from her house near campus early March 5 and murdered.

Two young men from Durham, DeMario Atwater and Laurence Lovette, were arrested and eventually pleaded guilty or were convicted.

Lauterer, who teaches community journalism and photography at UNC, grew up in Chapel Hill and considers himself a townie.

He mourned the death of an exceptional young woman who was making a difference and was destined to do much more. He also was angry that violent crime from Durham had trespassed into his Chapel Hill.

He didn’t know what to do about his sadness and anger.

Carson was gone. Lovette and Atwater were in jail and likely headed to prison for the rest of their lives. All he could was shake his fist at the world. Nothing good could emerge from this, he thought.

Still, there lingered in Lauterer a feeling that he – Jock Lauterer, then 62 years old, college teacher, journalist and Chapel Hill resident – should do something, he told me this week.

That same spring, Lauterer had met Mai Nguyen, assistant professor in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning. They were part of UNC’s first class of Faculty Engaged Scholars.

Nguyen saw that Lauterer, in developing his own response to Carson’s death, was paralyzed.

Nguyen and her students were studying and mapping Northeast Central Durham, the area where one of Carson’s killers lived. Lauterer accompanied them on a tour of the troubled area, two square miles known for violent crime.

The next day, Lauterer received an email from Nguyen. One of her Ph.D. students, Hye-Sung Han, had suggested that Northeast Central Durham needed the cohesion that comes from a community newspaper. The email exploded at Lauterer as if its letters were a foot tall.

He thought: That’s it!

Lauterer had been a small-town newspaper editor. He knew how to do community journalism. He could do community journalism in Durham or anyplace else.

And if he could put cameras, pens and notebooks in the hands of urban teenagers, maybe those kids would feel they were a part of something good, that they had a stake in their community.

But where to start? With a commercial newspaper, you start at the bank, he wrote later. With a volunteer newspaper, you need a different kind of capital.

Lauterer established a partnership with two journalism professors at N.C. Central University in Durham – Bruce dePyssler and Lisa Paulin. The three of them would become the publishers of the new newspaper. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation provided a grant of $25,000.

The university teachers arranged for some UNC journalism students, most of them white, to meet with NCCU journalism students, all of them black. In their first meetings, they didn’t mix much. But then they split into two large vans (with Carolina students and Central students in each van), toured Northeast Central Durham and ended with a picnic lunch. The students bonded. That was a key moment: The college students were united in their effort to create a newspaper.

But they also wanted to involve teenagers from the neighborhood. To do so, they sought the support of local Durham leaders. That support was hard to win. They called a meeting of local pastors. Only one showed up. And he was the host.

“Maybe we were just too white and too Chapel Hill,” Lauterer thought.

Widening involvement

A local high school journalism teacher suggested they involve kids from across Durham, not just from the targeted neighborhood. Good idea.

A session at the Boys and Girls Club on Alston Avenue in central Durham was a turning point. UNC student Carly Brantmeyer, in giving a photo lesson, engaged the teens in a way Lauterer didn’t think possible. Composition. Light. Vantage.

One of Lauterer’s own students had shown him how to reach the teens. When they got their hands on the cameras, they were transformed. Some of those teens became the core of the newspaper staff. Eventually, students from four Durham schools would work at the paper.

It was time to launch. But what would this paper be called? Residents of Northeast Central Durham kept saying their voices were not being heard. The paper would be called the VOICE.

It was published first online in September 2009 at It made barely a ripple. That changed when it began publishing in print in February 2010. Now it is published in print once a month during the school year with 2,000 copies distributed at 60 places.

Community, high schools

The VOICE writes about the people of Northeast Central Durham. It publishes stories about high schools, churches, restaurants, homeless people, volunteers, crime, grocery stores, urban farming, musicians, yard sales, celebrations and just about anything else in its neighborhoods.

The VOICE tells this community that it’s important enough to have its own newspaper. The VOICE is supported by grants and uses no university money. Various groups, including the city of Durham, and businesses have helped. The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at UNC, funded the first year of printing. Scientific Properties donates office space for a newsroom.

VOICE college staffers mentor local high school journalism students and have helped revive the student newspapers at three Durham high schools.

Sharif Ruebin, 17, is a junior at J.D. Clement Early College High School in Durham. He hadn’t thought much about journalism but started working for the VOICE as a sophomore. “They really let me be a part of the program,” he told me Friday. Now he’s the editor of his school paper and wants to be a professional journalist. 

Eve Carson spoke of the Carolina Way – not the since-discredited Carolina Way of the sports boosters but a Carolina Way more central to the mission and spirit of the university. She once defined the Carolina Way as “inclusion, involvement, diversity, acceptance, seeking to be great but always remembering that we must be good.”

The VOICE is Eve Carson’s Carolina Way. It is Jock Lauterer’s Carolina Way. It is the true Carolina Way.

As the fifth anniversary of Carson’s death approaches, may the VOICE and its student journalists speak loud, long and clear.

Drescher: 919-829-4515 or On Twitter @john_drescher

Photo: Jock Laurterer