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.