Skip to main content

The Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award was established in 2000 by Provost Dick Richardson to recognize extraordinary public service and engaged scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This award recognizes faculty members or university units for exemplary engaged scholarship in service to the state of North Carolina. Recipients of the award serve as an example of excellence, including responsiveness to community concerns and strong community partnerships.

Three Provost awards are given, one each for:

  • Engaged teaching,
  • Engaged research and
  • Engaged partnership.

Recipients receive a $500 award and recognition at the annual Public Service Awards ceremony. Previous recipients of Public Service Awards are not eligible. Meet the 2023 winners! View a list of previous recipients.

Nominations for the 2025 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards are accepted from November 2024 until mid-February 2025 in the CCPS Application and Nomination Portal or through completing the Public Service Award Nomination Form fillable pdf and emailing it to

Have questions? Visit our PSA FAQs

2023 award recipients


Michael Vazquez, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Director of Outreach, Parr Center for Ethics, was recognized for engaged teaching and his commitment to forging lasting, democratic and collaborative partnerships between the academy and the community through his teaching and for cultivating the philosophical voices of people of all ages.

In his class Philosophy Across the Lifespan, students are prompted to immerse in foundational works of historical and contemporary philosophy, learn how to communicate complex ideas to a non-specialist audience, develop resources on philosophy for community partners, and participate in regular discussions with older adults in the community. With the support of the Orange County Department on Aging, they convened intergenerational discussions at the Seymour Center, resulting in powerful unsolicited testimony from both students and older adult participants about the transformative nature of the intergenerational experience. Vasquez also trains students to coach and advise community teams for Parr Center’s National High School Ethics Bowl using well-researched interactive activities.

Nominator Sarah Stroud had this to say, “These events give coaches and high school students across the country an interactive, workshop-style learning and practice environment for various skills and methods central to Ethics Bowl competitions.” She adds that Vazquez brilliantly integrates his community partnerships and connections into his courses with outstanding effect.


Margaret Henderson, Teaching Associate Professor in the School of Government, was recognized for the engaged research award for devoting her career to leveraging her scholarship to support prevention efforts to reduce harms related to sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse. With her prolific scholarship about human trafficking prevention, she provides guidance to state and local governments and nonprofits to strengthening the state’s capacity to stem trafficking, including fact sheets about sex and labor trafficking along with blog posts.

As Director of the Public Intersection Project, Henderson leads cross-sector partnerships to facilitate a unified interdisciplinary strategy to combat trafficking. She has lent her expertise to countless organizations with likeminded pursuits, such as the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission, N.C. Stop Human Trafficking and the University’s project No Rest, furthering the efforts to combat trafficking in the state.

“Henderson provides foundational resources to anti-human trafficking actors, including sheets with basic facts about sex and labor trafficking, blog posts about how public officials can help identify human trafficking sites and discussion guides for local governments around human trafficking prevention strategies,” said nominator Makayla Hipke. “These materials create critical access to information for audiences unfamiliar with the complexities of trafficking.”


The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC), housed in the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Library, was recognized for their outstanding engaged partnership with the State Library of North Carolina. For 14 years they have worked to offer free digitization services for the state’s libraries, archives, historical centers and cultural organizations. The mission of NCDHC is to support community engagement and lifelong learning by promoting and increasing open access to North Carolina’s cultural heritage, and community members select the items of greatest interest and importance for their communities.

With strategic themes including 1) a collaborative work ethic, 2) inclusive and diverse collections, 3) accessible and engaging content, and 4) expanded newspaper content, NCDHC has digitized 637,277 items from 320 partners. In 2022, nearly 500,000 online visitors viewed close to six million pages, with 1.2 million additional views on the Internet Archive.

Nominator Judy Panitch lauded the ethos of generosity, openness and inclusion that animates the work of the Center and the people who make it run. “No partner is too small; no document too minor; no user unimportant. NCDHC’s values include the belief that ‘community history and culture have the power to enrich the lives of all North Carolinians.’”


2023-2024 Public Service Award Committee

Van Adamson-Thompson

Executive Branch of Undergraduate Student Government

Aisha Booze-Hall

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center

Jayla Cobbs

UNC Campus EMS

Kimon Divaris

Adams School of Dentistry

Beth Gardiner

Carolina Public Humanities

Melissa Green

Center for Health Equity Research

Alex Ladan

Graduate and Professional Student Government

Meg Landfried

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Ryan Lavalley

Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Ryan Nilsen

Carolina Center for Public Service


For more information, contact CCPS.