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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. The service should 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. Self-nominations and previous recipients of this award are not eligible. To view a list of past recipients, click the “Previous Award Recipients” button at the bottom of this page.

Nominations for the 2022 Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award open in December 2021 and close in February 2022. Apply online through the CCPS Application and Nomination Portal.

2021 award recipients


Krome-Lukens headshotAnna Krome-Lukens, for direction of the senior public policy capstone course and collaboration with a wide range of nonprofit and governmental partners. As director of experiential education for public policy since 2015, Krome-Lukens coordinates the semester-long Public Policy Capstone class. Students in the course collaborate in small groups to tackle projects for community partners who seek policy research or analysis on a wide range of topics, such as education equity, environmental justice and affordable housing. Krome-Lukens works each semester to connect those students with regional and national organizations. The partner organizations receive actionable policy recommendations from the student groups while the students gain real-world experience. Krome-Lukens has overseen the capstone program’s doubling in size as the public policy major has grown. To ensure a positive experience for the program’s community partners, Krome-Lukens regularly meets with the community partners to learn about their organizations, the communities they represent and what they need, as well as how their needs overlap with students’ capabilities. The program’s benefit to the community partners is demonstrated by the partners’ continued commitment to the program: More than 40 partners have worked with the capstone program multiple times, and at least half of the partners involved in a typical semester are repeat participants. Students and community partners alike consistently express high levels of satisfaction with their experience in the program, thanks to the thoughtful leadership of Krome-Lukens.


Courtney Woods portraitCourtney Woods, for collaborative environmental justice research projects with communities across North Carolina and establishment of the Environmental Justice Action Research Clinic. Leading by example for students who are learning to participate in community engaged work, Woods works to support community-initiated projects across North Carolina: including an investigation of potential water contamination from a landfill in Sampson County, NC, and data-gathering on anticipated public health impacts of an asphalt plant proposed to be constructed in Caswell County, NC. Woods oversees multiple student-led research projects, such a survey on the environmental and public health impacts of Hurricane Florence on residents of Robeson County, NC, which led to the distribution of cleaning tools to fight the growth of mold. Throughout projects like these, Woods helps guide her students to be more responsible researchers as they participate in community-driven work. For example, in her class for graduate students on environmental justice issues, Woods invites members of impacted communities to teach students directly. Woods recently received funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for an Environmental Justice Action Research Clinic, which is intended to function like a legal clinic: providing free services to community clients and providing public health students with important opportunities for community engagement and public health practice. Woods’ commitment to community engaged research is further demonstrated by her participation in Class VII of Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars through the Carolina Center for Public Service.


Slocum headshotMark Little headshotKarla Slocum and Mark Little, for innovative partnership work as co-chairs of Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration (also known as BlackCom). This conference is an initiative jointly hosted by the Institute of African American Research and the UNC Create Center. Begun in 2018, BlackCom’s mission is to foster collaboration among Black communities and universities to support Black communities’ capacity to thrive and furthering the understanding of Black community life. In 2018 and 2019, more than 600 Black community leaders and academic researchers from across the world attended the in-person BlackCom gathering in Durham — made possible through community partnerships with the City of Durham and numerous other organizations in the city. Due to COVID-19, in 2020 BlackCom pivoted to virtual programming. Little and Slocum hosted an 11-week webinar series on Black Communities and COVID-19. The series paired academics and community leaders in dialogues about health disparities revealed and exacerbated by COVID-19, Black economic futures, the arts and more. In 2021, BlackCom again went virtual as a two-week event with themed roundtable discussions featuring activists, artists, non-university professionals and university scholars. Through workshops and collaboration sessions, BlackCom enables conference attendees to connect with one another and explore possible partnerships on projects or initiatives that support Black communities’ capacity to thrive.


Lavalley headshotCooper headshotRyan Lavalley and Morgan Cooper, for innovative work in partnership with the Orange County Partnerships for Home Preservation, the Orange County Department on Aging and the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, in support of home preservation and repair and aging-in-community. As a post-doctoral research associate in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Lavalley coordinates community initiatives with UNC’s Partnerships in Aging Program (PiAP). As such, he is the project manager of the Department on Aging’s Handy Helper Program and the coordinator for the Orange County Home Preservation Coalition, both of which aim to improve housing quality in the community. Since August 2019, Lavalley has served as the “community mentor,” or supervisor, for Cooper’s UNC PiAP internship with the Department on Aging. Lavalley also served a preceptor for Cooper’s Gillings Public Health Practicum, in the form of a program evaluation for the Home Preservation Coalition. Cooper then became a steward for university-community partnership, leveraging her position as a UNC Gillings student to complete work in service of improved housing in Orange County. Through his position at UNC PiAP, Lavalley also supports robust community-university partnerships with the Marian Cheek Jackson Center. He provides leadership to signature programs including the Northside Living Learning Household, LINK: Linking Generations in Northside and the Elder Power Team, which create opportunities for students and neighbors to explore issues related to aging, housing and racial equity. Together, Lavalley and Cooper support community networks and cultivate age-friendly communities.


2020-2021 Public Service Award Committee

Lynn Blanchard

Carolina Center for Public Service

Patricia Harris

School of Education

Meg Landfried

Department of Health Behavior

Caroline Leland

Carolina Center for Public Service

Anneliese Long

Department of Anthropology

Dylan Russell

School of Government

Denise St. Jean

Department of Epidemiology

For more information, contact Ryan Nilsen.