2021 Winners

The Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award

Recognizes and honors a faculty member in each of the three higher education sectors (public universities, community colleges, independent colleges and universities) for excellence in the integration of service-learning into the curriculum and impact to students and the community.

Professor Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor, School of Communication, American University

Professor Gemma Puglisi is the winner of the Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award in the private institution category. Professor Puglisi has spent over 18 years at American University working with students in her PR Portfolio Class helping the community on all fronts. The Portfolio or Capstone Class she developed has helped not only her students understand the value and impact their work can have overall, but it has literally helped so many nonprofits and organizations in the Washington DC area/community and globally. Professor Puglisi is the only faculty member who teaches it as a community-engagement/service-learning course. Her students have helped many community organizations.

Dr. Sarah Merranko, Professor, Department of Communication, Arts and Humanities 

Dr. Sarah Merranko is the winner of the Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award in the community college category. Dr. Merranko was instrumental in creating the inaugural Center of Civic Engagement and Service Learning at the College of Southern Maryland in 2005. She served as Director of the Center while teaching 12 credits per semester until 2012, when she became permanent faculty dedicating her full time to the classroom. During her tenure as Director, Sarah participated in the development of the Core Learning Area outcomes for Experiential Learning, assessed impact of service-learning on student learning and community benefit through several annual evaluations as part of a three-year, federally funded grant, and oversaw the Engaged Faculty Institute to support faculty looking to integrate service-learning into courses. She served as the Project Director on CSM’s Learn & Serve Higher Education Consortia Grant, facilitated and implemented service-learning and volunteer training for faculty, staff, students and volunteer organizations, and managed the service-learning and volunteer database for over 200 agencies and 600 volunteers annually. 

Her work included designing and conducting faculty development workshops on service-learning topics, organizing reflection activities for student leaders who participate in co-curricular service-learning, and directing faculty through consultation, mentoring and facilitation to integrate community-based learning into courses including designing a website with an online handbook and resources for faculty, students, and community partners.

Dr. Tracy Rone, Interim Director, Innovation and Community Partnerships 

Dr. Tracy Rone is the winner of the Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award in the public institution category. Tracy R. Rone, Ph.D. is Interim Director of Innovation and Community Partnerships, and Associate Professor in the Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University. She previously served as Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, where she also taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is trained as a linguistic anthropologist. Her research aims to illuminate urban education issues in high-poverty, resource-challenged contexts through an anthropological lens. She is especially interested in how identity informs academic performance, the intersection of health and educational disparities, and how narrative can be used to illuminate lived experiences in urban communities. 

Through impactful teaching methods and leading Morgan State University in civic and community engagement (CCE) initiatives, Dr. Rone has continuously shown her commitment to student learning; civic and community engagement; advancing a culture of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in our region; and improving community life. She also serves in a leadership role co-chairing CCMA’s Equity Taskforce, developing the JEDI-CCE Institutionalization Rubric, and serving as Morgan’s Senior Advisory Group for Engagement (SAGE) representative to CCMA.

The Career Engaged Scholar Award

Recognizes and honors a scholar for his/her outstanding research in curricular and/or co-curricular civic engagement which advances the field.

Dr. Sabrina Wesley-Nero, Associate Teaching Professor, the Director of the Program in Education, Inquiry & Justice, and the Assistant Director of the Program in Educational Transformation, Georgetown University 

Sabrina Wesley-Nero, Ph.D., is an educationist whose research focuses on the experiences of students who historically have been marginalized as a result of their racial, socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic identities; the educators who serve these students; and the educational contexts in which these students thrive. Her work at Georgetown centers community-based pedagogy, culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy, and an equity-focused, interdisciplinary approach to the study of education and teacher preparation. Dr. Wesley-Nero is a community-based learning (CBL) Faculty Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service. She is a resource to colleagues who seek to design and teach CBL courses. She designs and teaches CBL courses that serve both the needs of schools and her students’ learning objectives. Through CBL courses, students interrogate theory and research in light of experiential learning as they volunteer in DC area schools, supporting the needs of PK-12 learners, and serving as bridging capital to the city’s striving schools.  Through community-based learning, she guides her students to embrace praxis and a life for and with others.

The Excellence in Service Student Group Award

Acknowledges student groups for their commitment and involvement in service projects that extend beyond any co-curricular requirements or service-learning courses, leading to long-term, sustainable, community impact.

Allegany College of Maryland Student Voter Registration Leaders: Allen Brown, Ethan Hoppert, Cornell Johnson, Wesley Mason, Elijah Woody

Through in part the tireless efforts of the above-named student leaders, Allegany College of Maryland was recently recognized as a winner of the following ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awards in the state of Maryland: Highest Voter Registration Award, 2-year Institution; Most Improved Voter Turnout Award, 2-year Institution; Highest Voter Turnout Award, 2-year Institution; and Best Campus Democratic Engagement Action Plan Award, 2-year Institution. These student leaders were integral in getting out the vote, leading to this recognition.

The P20 Partnership Award 

Recognizes a leading partnership between PreK-12, higher education, and the community. This partnership addresses issues related to college, career, and civic readiness through student engagement and service-learning.

Loyola University Maryland’s York Road Initiative (YRI) is a place-based community development strategy geographically focused in the Greater Govans/ York Road corridor communities of north Baltimore City.  

Partnering with neighbors and others, York Road Initiative focuses on the educational development, health, and well-being of community residents, as well as upon the economic viability of our neighborhoods, including our residential and retail establishments. The mission is to collaborate with neighbors and partners to produce positive change for all residents in the York Road community that improves the area education and youth development, impact food security, builds civic capacity and strengthens the York Road commercial corridor. 

Loyola University Maryland’s York Road Initiative (YRI) has been in partnership with Walter P. Carter and former Guilford Elementary/Middle Schools for the past six years to support the merger of the two schools and neighborhoods which have had historical tension between their communities. It has been a process of anticipated transition for the new Walter P. Carter (WPC). This academic year, the two schools merged as one in a brand new 21st Century School building, doubling both its student and staff populations. Through the CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA grant, YRI has been successful in building capacity and resources at WPC by supporting the implementation of a food pantry and hygiene closet with an equitable model for distribution; creating and managing resources from a wide net of community partners and donors; and recruiting, training, and managing volunteers. This work has been a result of cultivating relationships and working with students, staff, and families to collaboratively cultivate a joint community culture and identity within the merged schools. This year, the Student Family Council and Parent Advocate was started to provide a safe space for students and parents from both former schools to voice concerns and support youth development in the new WPC school. Throughout all of this, the CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA member has continued to be a trusted friendly face in the school where students and families can find assistance, mentorship, and guidance.

Campus-Community Partnership Award

Recognizes one outstanding campus-community partnership that produces measurable impact in both student participants and the community. Consideration will be given for demonstrated sustainability, reciprocity, and mutual collaboration.

Prince George’s CASH Campaign

From the vast array of partners that collaborate through the CASH Campaign and the variety of ways it tackles financial issues and education, to its commitment to uplifting the broader community, this partnership is truly exemplary in our region. The CASH Campaign center on PGCC’s campus offers financial education programming, free tax preparation, and Prince George SAVES campaign. As its Platinum Sponsor of the Annual Money Explosion Financial Fair, Prince George’s Community College is truly embodying the public purposes of higher education.

The JEDI-CCE (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Civic and Community Engagement) Award

Recognizes outstanding campus-community partnership that contributes to the intersection and institutionalization of equity and civic and community engagement, within the culture of the campus and community, involving community voice in the development of partnerships and producing measurable impact in both faculty and student participants and the community.

Dr. Shawntay Stocks, Assistant Director of Fellowships and Community Engagement, Inheritance Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Stocks has over a decade of experience in service and community-based learning, coordinating service and diversity programs, and teaching. Dr. Stocks obtained her bachelor’s degree in History from Guilford College, Master’s degree in English and African-American Literature from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and her Ph.D. in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her dissertation research focused on faculty diversity within higher education. Dr. Stocks is trained in Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) which she utilizes in planning and executing training in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and community-based learning. Additionally, Dr. Stocks uses her poetry as a reflective tool within her workshops and trainings.

Global Citizenship Award

Recognizes outstanding contributions in shifting campus and community culture to develop global citizens and mutual understanding at the local, regional, or international scale.

Delaware State University
In October of 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed the first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between that agency and one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to “advance agriculture-led economic growth, resilience, nutrition, and water security, sanitation, and hygiene” in conjunction with the USAID “Feed the Future” Research Initiative. The Delaware State University and USAID will partner in a broad scope for collaboration over the next four years that are aimed at empowering disadvantaged communities and individuals envisioning a future of economic prosperity based on environmentally sustainable practices through: improvement of crops and livestock, food safety, reduction of post-harvest losses, research on fruits and vegetables, improved agronomic practices, extension, capacity building, and access to clean water. The collaboration will involve USAID in facilitating new curricular and learning opportunities for Delaware State University students as well as facilitating student and faculty participation in leading research fellowships. It will also link University research to the USAID’s RFS Innovation Lab Network, a Farmer-to-Farmer international volunteer coaching/placement program, and sub-award opportunities for Minority Serving Institutions across RFS’s university research and volunteer programs.

The Civic Engagement Award

Recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of civic learning and engagement in sustaining our participatory democracy.

Dr. Harold Morales, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Morgan State University 

Dr. Morales is the Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and the City. His research focuses on the intersections between race and religion, and between lived and mediated experiences. He uses these critical lenses to engage Latinx religions in general and Latino Muslim groups in particular. He is author of Latino & Muslim in America: Race, Religion and the Making of a New Minority. In 2018 he founded the Center for the Study of Religion and the City, which is committed to interdisciplinary studies that bring scholars together with community partners to try to solve the problems that plague our communities. As director of the Center for the Study of Religion and the City, Dr. Morales has developed different and deeper ways of engaging with local, national, and international communities and launched several initiatives which unite issues of social justice and religion with the arts, community stories, policing, and food apartheid. Whether it is working alongside local residents to plant and harvest crops on an urban farm, helping community members with grant writing and university research, or mentoring undergraduates in civic engagement, Dr. Morales exhibits extraordinary commitment to enacting this work.

The Institutional Leadership Award

Recognizes and honors one individual for outstanding contributions to the institutionalization of community engagement, by inspiring a culture of service/civic and community engagement on the campus and involving community voice in the development of partnerships and the campus.

Dr. Elizabeth Farley-Ripple, Director, Partnership for Public Education, University of Delaware 

Dr. Farley-Ripple was the founding director of the Partnership for Public Education (PPE), one of the key initiatives of the University of Delaware (UD) Civic Action Plan established in 2017. In that role, she has strengthened the University’s partnerships with K-12 education throughout our state. PPE brings together members of the University of Delaware and the broader Delaware educational community —including educators, families, and community leaders — to identify shared needs and opportunities and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge. Under Dr. Farley-Ripple’s leadership, PPE has developed as a university-wide initiative to develop and foster collaborative education-based partnerships that improve public education in Delaware. PPE has mobilized the University’s research, professional learning, policy and advocacy, and student resources to address critical issues facing schools and foster sustainable partnership work. She also developed the campus-wide infrastructure to coordinate and support the more than 100 active University-School partnerships. In addition to her work as PPE Director, Dr. Farley-Ripple has been one of the campus leaders for strengthening engaged scholarship in teaching, research, and service. She is a member of the Community Engagement Initiative leadership team and has played a particularly strong role in promoting greater recognition for the engaged scholarship of faculty, staff and students.

The Civic Leadership Award

Recognizes an individual who has contributed substantially to the development of civic and community engagement in the Maryland, DC, and Delaware region.

Dr. Nancy Shapiro, Associate Vice Chancellor & Special Assistant to the Chancellor for P-20 Education 

Dr. Shapiro directs the University System of Maryland P-20 partnership efforts, developing collaborations that foster critical partnerships and learning communities to improve the quality of teaching and learning for Maryland’s teachers and students from kindergarten through college. Dr. Shapiro led the USM institutions in comprehensive course redesign efforts targeted at improving student learning and reducing costs to both students and institutions. Prior to her work at the University System of Maryland, she served as the founding director of the College Park Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, the first interdisciplinary living-learning honors program at the university. As a leading scholar in the fields of teaching, learning, and educational leadership, Dr. Shapiro has demonstrated the constructive role that engaged and applied research plays in connecting higher education institutions to their constituent communities.

The Engaged Campus Award

Recognizes institutions of higher education for exemplary commitment to being a community-engaged campus that is actively seeking to fulfill the public purposes of higher education.

Howard Community College 

Howard Community College’s (HCC) institution-wide commitment to community engagement begins with a strategic planning process that directly involves a wide range of community members in the development of college curriculum, programming, and services. Community engaged learning holds a place of particular importance in the student experience at HCC. The college’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement reaches over 700 students each year through course integrations and co-curricular programs that emphasize reciprocal relationships with community partners and reflective engagement by students. HCC’s work to continue deepening and expanding these community partnerships reflects the college’s commitments to the growth and success of all its students as well as to the vibrancy and resilience of the Howard County community.

Howard Community College’s (HCC) institution-wide commitment to community engagement begins with a strategic planning process that invites participation from a wide range of community stakeholders. Convened every five years, the college’s Commission on the Future gives community members a voice not only in the development of curriculum, programming and services at HCC, but also in such matters as the college’s local environmental footprint. Community-engaged learning holds a place of particular importance, meanwhile, in the student experience at HCC. The college’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement reaches over 700 students each year through course integrations and co-curricular programs that emphasize reciprocal relationships with community partners and reflective engagement by students. As part of a broader effort in recent years to equitably scale high-impact practices throughout the HCC campus and curriculum, the Center for Civic and Community Engagement has developed course integrations in a broader array of academic disciplines, partnered with programs in HCC’s Student Services area to create new co-curricular opportunities for high-priority student populations, and redesigned alternative spring and winter break programs to place greater emphasis on civic participation and engagement with diversity. Thanks to the dedication of its community and faculty partners, HCC was able to sustain this breadth of student and community engagement throughout the transition to virtual learning due to COVID-19. The college will continue to deepen and expand community partnerships in the future in reflection of its commitment to the vibrancy and resilience of the Howard County community and its mission of providing pathways to success for all HCC students.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

Recognizes and honors an individual for his or her lifetime contributions to the field of civic and community engagement.

Mr. James “Jim” Walters

Jim’s contributions to the field of experiential education through his decades of work at Montgomery College, his leadership roles as president of the National Society for Experiential Education and a board member of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, his service in retirement as an AmeriCorps VISTA member and as CCMA’s Director of Collective Impact and P20 CONNECTS, benefitted countless youth and communities. Jim’s unique personality touched and changed innumerable lives. His belief and care – often expressed through challenging, probing questions — were transformative. He was a master of experiential pedagogy, passing on his deep knowledge of reflective learning and metacognition with our VISTA members, CCMA team, and network.

Jim believed in the potential of CCMA as an organization and its power to facilitate change in human lives throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He participated in the very first public meeting to form our (then) Maryland Campus Compact and courageously challenged and supported our organization’s growth and impact every step of the way. Jim was a faithful and truthful member of our CCMA family. His legacy endures through the countless professional and personal relationships he cultivated with his genuine kindness and interest in others’ growth. CCMA is a stronger and more thoughtful, self-reflective organization and network because of Jim Walters’ thoughts, words, and deeds. His impact lives on through our continuing work.