Academics

Faculty members recognized for community engagement through scholarly endeavors

The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program brings together selected faculty from across campus for a two-year experiential, competency-based curriculum designed to advance their engaged scholarship.

Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars pose for a photo.

Nine Carolina faculty members were recognized as Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars for their community engagement through scholarly endeavors. Anna Agbe-Davies, Antoine Bailliard, Leisha DeHart-Davis, Kimon Divaris, Julia Haslett, Coretta Jenerette, Alexandra Lightfoot, Enrique W. Neblett Jr. and Rachel Willis will be honored as graduates of class VI of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars program during a lunch celebration 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 for 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 supportive learning community. 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 built my confidence, refined my approach and grew my skill set in conducting engaged scholarship,” said Enrique Neblett, an associate professor in psychology and neuroscience in the College. “Through the program, I learned about how African-American youth and families in Southeast Raleigh view contemporary racism, the impact of these experiences on mental health and possible solutions to alleviate the suffering of those who experience racism and other social stressors. I will be forever grateful for the supportive community afforded by my fellow scholars and program colleagues, who sharpened my project and expanded my view – through sharing their own projects – of what constitutes effective, high-quality and high-impact engaged scholarship.”

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, 63 faculty members have been selected from 12 professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, representing more than 28 departments.

“The Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars training and resources enabled me to better access diverse stakeholders and places related to port planning for climate change,” said Rachel Willis, a professor in American studies in the College. “It also facilitated me participating in technical summits with governments, observing for-profit enterprises, learning from nonprofit organizations on the environment, listening to global policy practitioners and engaging residents of North Carolina port communities. The result is the development of two new courses and significant progress on a manuscript. I am in debt to the Carolina Center for Public Service and the many Faculty Engaged Scholars who have shared their methodology, field sites and advice so generously.”

Learn more about the faculty members’ projects on the Carolina Center for Public Service website.