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Awards and Grants

The Bennion Center is honored to recognize dedicated University of Utah faculty with several awards and grants, including the Bennion Center Public Service Professorship; the Distinguished Faculty Service Award; and the Community-engaged Learning Microgrant.

The prestigious Bennion Center Public Service Professorship is open to all faculty members at the University of Utah. The award is designed to help a faculty member strengthen community-engaged learning experiences and opportunities tied to civic engagement. Please visit the page to learn more about the Professors and their work.

The Distinguished Faculty Service Award honors a faculty member who has demonstrated a commitment to the campus-community connection through a life of active, unpaid community service and the integration of service with research and teaching. Faculty service must be based on a long-term commitment to making a positive difference on the campus and in the community, and to the educational value gained by students through community work, beyond the traditional roles of faculty.

The Bennion Center will make a gift of $1,000 in honor of the award recipient to a nonprofit or charitable organization of the winner's choice. This gift is possible by a generous endowment gift from Dr. David M. Jabusch, professor emeritus, University of Utah Department of Communication.

Anyone at the University or in the community may nominate a faculty member. The recipient will be honored at the Bennion Center’s Spring Celebration and the University of Utah’s May commencement ceremonies.

Nominations for the Distinguished Faculty Service Award must include the following items: 

  1. A letter that describes the nominee's significant contributions to the community;
  2. A letter of support from community recipients of the nominee’s service efforts;
  3. A letter of support from colleagues and/or students who can discuss the nominee’s commitment to service;
  4. The nominee’s curriculum vitae, with highlights of her/his community service and/or community engagement;
  5. The nominee’s philosophy of service.

Selection criteria include:

  • Evidence that the service contributed is beyond the traditional role of a faculty member;
  • Evidence that service has made a positive impact in the community and on campus;
  • Evidence of a sustained and long-term commitment to campus and community service;
  • Evidence of educational value gained by students through community work;
  • Integration of the nominee's service with research and teaching.

Assemble all nomination materials into a single pdf file and email them to the Bennion CenterThe deadline for the 2018 Distinguished Faculty Service Award is January 29, 2018. The winner will be notified by February 28.

Recipients of the Distinguished Faculty Service Award include:

  • 2017: Armando Solorzano, Family and Consumer Studies and Ethnic Studies

Dr. Solorzano has worked for nearly three decades to "validate the experiences  of disenfranchised or Armando Solorzanominoritized groups in Utah, to promote dialogue and understanding among different racial groups, to influence public policy, and to incorporate Utah minorities in the state and national research agendas." He created a traveling exhibit, "We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe: Recuerdo, Celebracion, y Esperanza: Latinos in Utah," that was viewed by more than 110,000 people and later resulted in a book published in Spanish and English. He also organized and participated in the April 2006 Dignity March in Utah. Dr. Solorzano created the Utah Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Council to coordinate the health programs, educational efforts, and legal representation of 20,000 migrant workers in  Utah, and he has worked for more than a decade with Even Start Program, which focuses on helping new immigrants integrate into local communities. He also is recognized for his commitment to community-engaged learning and inspiring "students to become agents of social change." 

  • 2016: Jensie Anderson, Law

Jensie Anderson and Dean McGovernDr. Anderson joined the S. J. Quinney College of Law in 1999 and soon was asked to help establish the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project, a program to represent individuals who had been wrongfully convicted of crimes. In 2001, Dr. Anderson became president of the board of directors, as well as the primary volunteer attorney for RMIC. As the center grew, she supervised law students who volunteered to investigate cases of possible innocence, obtained funding, hired staff, and recruited volunteer attorneys from private practice. Dr. Anderson also established a community-engaged learning course, Innocence Investigation and Post-Conviction Process, and Innocence Clinic, which enables students to earn credit interning with RMIC. She is pictured with the Bennion Center's Executive Director, Dean McGovern, at the 2016 Spring Celebration.


  • Carrie Byington2015: Carrie Byington, Pediatrics
    • Dr. Byington has worked for many years as a physician at the Salt Lake Valley Health Department’s South Main Clinic, which treats minority and underserved women and children. Her work there underscores her belief that all physicians owe a debt of service to their community. She also has given selflessly to others. As Dr. Vivian S. Lee, senior vice president for Health Sciences, said, “Dr. Byington has made a huge difference in the careers of the dozens of students and faculty she has mentored in her years as a practitioner, teacher, and researcher.”
  • 2014: Hester Henderson, Exercise and Sport Science
  • 2013: Patricia Eisenman, Exercise and Sport Science
    • Dr. Eisenman's service includes supporting the athletic training of elite athletes, creating a training regimen for the Judge Memorial High School swim team, and creating a swimming outreach program for underserved youth. She has also worked with Community Faces of Utah, an organization addressing health disparities in Salt Lake among people of African, African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Pacific Islander descent. Dr. Eisenman created and implemented the capstone community-engaged learning course ESS 4900, which engages undergraduate students in developing and delivering exercise regimens to underserved community members, including people with disabilities and seniors.
  • 2012: Ronald Smelser, History
  • 2011: Marissa Diener, Family & Consumer Studies
  • 2010: Luke Garrott, Political Science
  • 2009: Janet Kaufman, English
  • 2008: Robert Young, Architecture
  • 2007: Linda Smith, Law
  • 2006: Paul Florsheim, Psychology
  • 2005: Barbara Brown, Family & Consumer Studies
  • 2004: Cheryl Wright, Family & Consumer Studies
  • 2003: Not awarded
  • 2002: Carol Werner, Psychology
  • 2001: Cheryl Wright, Family & Consumer Studies
  • 2000: Robert Huefner, Political Science
  • 1999: Kazuo Matsabayashi, Architecture
Last Updated: 7/6/18