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Public Service Professorship

This significant award is designed to help a faculty member strengthen community-engaged learning experiences and opportunities tied to civic engagement, and also foster stronger partnerships with the local community. It is open to all faculty members at the University of Utah. The prize of $7,500 is made possible due to the generous support of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

Public Service Professor for 2018-2019: Request for Proposals


Public Service Professor for 2017-2018: Matthew Basso, History and Gender Studies

During Fall 2017, Professor Basso and students in his Gender Studies class will undertake an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with Salt Lake County Aging Services. Students will conduct and transcribe oral-history interviews. Then, Professor Basso and the class will work with SLCAS staff to create summaries that can be used to advertise the agency's services. During Spring 2018, he plans to refine his website, The Aging Archive, with the goal of creating a searchable index of oral histories and adding primary-source documents to help historicize the topics revealed by the interviews.


Public Service Professor for 2016-2017: Adrienne Cachelin, Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Professor Cachelin's proposed project, which involves a community partner and graduate students from two programs, demonstrates the value in thinking about creative ways to address difficult issues such as food access and health. During the first semester of her professorship, Professor Cachelin plans to recruit doctoral student mentors from the Department of Education, Culture and Society and the Global Change and Sustainability Center to work with faculty and community partners in the development of long-term community-driven research projects around environmental justice. The second semester will feature an environmental justice seminar and a new graduate-level environmental justice course.


Public Service Professor for 2015-2016: Juan Carlos Claudio, Modern Dance

Basinger and Claudio
Juan Carlos Claudio received the award for Community Engaged Scholar of the Year in 2014. He is pictured with Nancy Winemiller Basinger, formerly the engaged faculty director at the Bennion Center.

As a professional, community-dance practitioner, Professor Claudio says he "feel[s] the need to become more knowledgeable in the areas of arts and aging." He has been researching since February 2015 the effects of dance as a form of symptomatic therapy in those living with Parkinson's disease. "Grey Matters: Stretching the Mind, the Body, and the Soul" is a collaboration with faculty and students from the University of Utah Departments of Physical Therapy and Modern Dance, and the U's Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. Project goals include helping individuals with the disease in the "(re)discovery of a more able vehicle and [invoking] imagery in the service of a more graceful functioning body thus ultimately instilling confidence and well-being." Read more about how Professor Claudio is "planting the seeds of change" in a July 2015 article published in Dance Studio Life.



Public Service Professor for 2014-2015: Akiko Kamimura, Sociology, and Justine ReelHealth Promotion and Education

Kamimura and Reel
Professor Justine Reel, left, and Professor Akiko Kamimura hold a framed quotation by Lowell L. Bennion that reads, in part: “Keep your wants simple and ask ‘How can I help?’”

Dr. Kamimura and Dr. Reel’s Public Service Professorship was based on a relationship with the Maliheh Free Clinic, which provides free medical services for uninsured and low-income individuals and families in the greater Salt Lake area. The goal is to help reverse the cycle of poverty and suffering created by poor health and thus improve quality of life. 

The project sought to explore the health-related needs of free-clinic patients--underserved and uninsured individuals who often lack access to health services and education. The collaborative project involved a combination of: six community-engaged learning classes in sociology and health promotion and education; research on health literacy, women’s health, and diet and physical activity; and community action including providing community promotion programs. Three main outcomes were realized. First, students picked roles that fit their background and interest and gained experiences relevant to their career goals. Second, the project has had long-term community impact by improving the health of the underserved in the community. Third, the project has allowed the community partner and the investigators to conduct more in-depth interviewing related to patient needs and pre- and post-evaluation of the health promotion programs.

Dr. Kamimura has published widely in conjunction with her public service professorship. 


Public Service Professor for 2013-2014: Janet Kaufman, English

Dr. Kaufman is a scholar who has been deeply committed to engagement in her teaching and in her research. Her project, “Student Self-Regulation: Emotional Awareness for Prosocial Behavior and Academic Success," involved partners Nicole Warren, principal of Rose Park Elementary School, and Christelle Estrada, director of English/Language Arts at the Utah State Office of Education. The collaboration entailed “explicitly teaching reading and writing, listening and speaking . . . engaging students in questions about how human beings in literature and life respond to complex feelings and circumstances, reflect critically, find perspective and see from multiple points-of-view, and develop the capacity to transform experience and action through language.” In this project, the Grump Meter tool helped students bring similar critical thinking to their own life stories that they bring to literature, and vice versa.


Public Service Professors for 2012-2013: Trinh Mai, Social Work, and Yda Smith, Occupational Therapy

Professors Mai and Smith continued their engaged scholarship along the Thai-Burma Border and with Karen refugees resettled to Salt Lake City. The focus of their year-long project was two-fold. First, the team worked with students and community members to compile oral histories of the Karen people to preserve them and to raise public awareness. Second, the team assisted the Karen Community of Utah to develop their traditional weaving program by forging a relationship with the Karen Women Organisation in Thailand. This work was informed and supported by both community-based research and service-learning coursework.


Public Service Professor for 2011-2012: Enrique Aleman, Educational Leadership & Policy

Dr. Aleman's Public Service Professorship supported the further development of a university-school-community partnership named Adelante: A College Awareness and Preparatory Partnership that he co-directed with Dr. Dolores Delgado Bernal. Over the year, he expanded his partnership in additional schools while providing more service-learning and community-based research opportunities for U students.


Public Service Professor for 2010-2011: Rosemarie Hunter, Social Work

Dr. Hunter's Public Service Professorship focused on assessing the training and support mechanisms in place for small Mutual Assistance Associations in the refugee communities in Salt Lake City. Dr. Hunter worked closely with various refugee community leaders, Salt Lake Community College Women's Business Center, and the Utah Department of Workforce Services Refugee Services Office. The research is ongoing. Early results indicate that gaps remain in the existing nonprofit trainings, incubator programs, and mentoring for the development of small nonprofits and businesses in support of refugees in Utah.

Public Service Professor for 2009-2010: Beth Krensky, Art & Art History
Group at Center for Art in the Cmty

Beth Krensky, kneeling behind the students in the front row, is a scholar in the area of youth-created art and social change.

Dr. Beth Krensky's project established the Center for Art in the Community, a collaboration with the Pioneer Craft House and South Salt Lake City. The Center is an important bridge between the
Department of Art & Art History
and the larger community in which it -- and the University of Utah -- is situated, and provides needed after-school programming to underserved youth in South Salt Lake City.


Public Service Professor for 2008-2009: Maryann Christison, Linguistics

Dr. Christison’s Public Service Professorship project was to research and design a service-learning course to foster awareness of, and to provide practical means for addressing, critical English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) needs all over the Salt Lake Valley.  Beginning in academic year 2009-2010, students from the Department of Linguistics and the College of Education received basic training in ESL teaching methods and techniques and collaborated with the English Skills Learning Center, Granite Peaks Lifelong Learning, the UNP Hartland Partnership Center, Catholic Community Services of Utah’s Immigrant and Refugee Resettlement programs, and with representatives from the Jordan, Granite, and Salt Lake City school districts to apply those skills. As a component of the Public Service Professorship, Dr. Christison designed a research project to determine how to measure the effectiveness of the service-learning course and its impact on the community


Public Service Professors for 2007-2008: Caitlin Cahill, City & Metropolitan Planning, and Matt Bradley, English/Honors

“The Mestizo Arts and Activism Youth Research Team”

The Mestizo Arts and Activism project is an interdisciplinary project integrating community-based arts, research, educationn and change. Seventeen students from West High School made up the Youth Research Team in 2007-2008 who, along with three University of Utah undergraduate students, developed community-based, multicultural arts and research projects based on their concerns. The Mestizo Arts and Activism project continues to draw upon the assets of the diverse communities of Salt Lake City’s west side, engaging the resources of community partners, the Mestizo Institute of Culture & Arts (MICA) and University Neighborhood Partners.


Public Service Professor for 2006-2007: Maged Senbel, Architecture + Planning

The focus of Dr. Maged’s work was the creation of the Westside Studio on North Temple. The project combined an interdisciplinary graduate-level service-learning course with community-based research. Students from various disciplines worked with Dr. Senbel to develop new methods of public input at official community council meetings for various urban planning projects specifically designed to meet the needs of low-income and minority communities. The project included a partnership with Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services and University Neighborhood Partners. Dr. Senbel’s research focused on methods for making cities and outlying regions more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.


Public Service Professor for 2005-2006: Hank Liese, Social Work

“The Documentary, Human Rights, and Social Justice”

Professor Liese created a year-long service-learning course titled, “The Documentary, Human Rights, and Social Justice.” Students from the class researched various topics and produced documentaries regarding services for people with disabilities, refugee resettlement, and safety for women from sexual violence. The student films were shown at an event co-hosted by the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center and the College of Social Work.


Public Service Professor for 2004-2005: Kaye Richards, Modern Dance

Dr. Richards developed and supervised a program at the Sorenson Multicultural Center and the Rose Park Elementary after-school program. Collaborating with local community artists and university students from the Departments of Theatre, Art, and Dance, Dr. Richards enriched the lives of many west-side children through classes in drumming, drama, and dance. The goal of her project included building partnerships and creating a greater appreciation for the arts while university students helped the children develop their skills and celebrate their cultural heritage.


Public Service Professor for 2003-2004: Craig Forster, Geology & Geophysics

Dr. Forster died in 2008; he is dearly missed.

This project involved the collaboration of three service-learning courses (COMM 1270, Analysis of Argument; COMM 3490, Rhetoric of Environmental Justice; and URBPL 5270, Regional Metropolitan Planning) and a broad cooperation of community partners in the general areas of environmental education, environmental action, humanitarian effort, urban planning, and political action.


Public Service Professor for 2002-2003: Rand Decker, Civil Engineering

“The Colorado Headwaters Center”

Dr. Decker’s project worked toward the development of the “Headwaters Center,” an interdisciplinary effort to provide service-learning opportunities for students and faculty interested in water conservation in the Colorado River Basin.


Public Service Professor for 2002-2003: Linda Ralston, Parks, Recreation & Tourism

“Promoting Healthy Communities in the Salt Lake Area”

Dr. Ralston has established partnerships with local schools and with campus departments to address community needs. In this program, university service-learning students were paired with high school students to identify and work on problems that inhibit the development of healthy communities. The primary partner in this effort was the Center City Charter School.


Public Service Professor for 2001-2002: Carrie Byington, Pediatrics

“Clinic-Based Literacy Support for Hispanic Preschoolers”

Dr. Byington developed a literacy program for Hispanic children, addressing the correlation between low income and low literacy rates that in turn affect health. She created a literacy curriculum that could be implemented by pediatric residents and medical students, incorporated service-learning components that allowed a wider base of volunteer participants, conducted research on the impact of the program on the participants’ literacy, and partnered with the Salt Lake County Health Department to create ways to sustain the program beyond the length of the award.


Public Service Professor for 2000-2001: Rich Lane,English

“The Family Literacy Center”

Professor Lane, in collaboration with Professor Janet Kaufman and representatives of West High School in the Salt Lake School District, developed three service-learning courses in the curriculum for students majoring in English education. Students in those classes designed and established the Family Literacy Center to help high school students increase their literacy skills in several areas.  Professor Lane spent the year expanding the administrative capacity of the center, researching similar programs at other universities, writing grants to support the operating costs, and developing contacts in the West High community.


Public Service Professor for 1999-2000: Doris Watson, Exercise & Sport Science

“U move with the Starzz”

As part of a partnership among the University of Utah, the WNBA Utah Starzz basketball team, and the Salt Lake City School District, students in the College of Health organized an intervention strategy in the after-school activities at four middle schools: Glendale, Bryant, Clayton, and Northwest. The primary focus was to provide middle-school girls with an opportunity to integrate physical activity more thoroughly into their lives.


Public Service Professor for 1998-1999: Martha Bradley, Honors College &  Architecture

Dr. Bradley involved three classes (Architecture 1615, Architecture 4230, and Honors 4473-4) in projects to preserve the history of the Gateway neighborhood of Salt Lake City.  Students applied concepts learned in the classroom to the immediate issues in this diverse neighborhood near the heart of the city that was experiencing radical changes. Students documented the lives of elderly residents who had been raised in the neighborhood, tutored children from the neighborhood, created photographic essays of the area, and re-created two historic blocks in the neighborhood.


Public Service Professor for 1997-1998: Phil Emmi, Urban Planning

“Urban Growth Issues”

Dr. Emmi involved urban planning students in the issues of urban sprawl through working with the Envision Utah and Future Moves organizations.  Students analyzed the complex relationship between land use, zoning, and transportation planning. One goal of this effort was to assist students in producing multimedia presentations for dissemination of information about the impact of quality growth issues along the expanding Wasatch Front.


Public Service Professor for 1996-1997: Evelyn Hall, Exercise & Sport Science

Evelyn Hall“Team Lincoln”

Under Dr. Hall’s direction, University of Utah students volunteered at Lincoln Elementary (Granite District), directing non-competitive games at recess for 450 children in grades 1-6. These activities were designed to facilitate communication skills, cooperation, and fair play through inclusion in physically active games and play. A research component included an assessment of inappropriate behaviors, attitudes and psychosocial benefits.


Public Service Professor for 1996-1997: Bonnie Gritton, Music

Dr. Gritton worked with chapter I elementary schools in the Salt Lake District to teach music appreciation and skills. Performance graduate students from the University of Utah presented a year-long series of lecture-performances. In addition, a mentoring program was developed in which musically gifted children from low-income families were given one-on-one instrument instruction. They worked to get pianos donated to the schools that would be available for practice during the day.


Public Service Professor for 1995-1996: Jim Woolley, Accounting

“Capstone Accounting #562”

Dr. Woolley developed a service-learning class in which his students worked with nonprofit organizations each quarter to help develop whatever accounting systems the organizations needed.


Public Service Professor for 1995-1996: Tom Huckin, Writing Program

“Technical Writing”

Dr. Huckin worked to develop better communication with the community groups partnering with the many technical writing courses offered each quarter. In his project, he met with representatives from numerous organizations to discern the types of needs technical-writing students could fulfill, such as brochures, annual reports, fund raising appeals, manuals, etc.


Public Service Professor for 1994-1995: Jeffrey Jenson, Social Work

A Mentoring, Skills Training and Job Placement Program for Troubled Youth”

This project involved students in a university-community effort to address the juvenile crime and youth gang problems in Salt Lake City. Participating youth received counseling and job training skills and were placed in employment positions in the community. University students served as mentors to forty youth during the course of the project. A curriculum to assist student mentors and class in youth violence was developed in the College of Social Work. The project was a collaborative effort between the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, business and human agencies.


Public Service Professor for 1994-1995: Cathleen Zick, Family & Consumer Studies

“Workplace Family Policies”

This class examined the range of workplace family policies and identified the extent to which these policies help employees balance their work and family roles. In addition to the class, students compiled a report on workplace family policies in Utah that could be used as a resource by employers, labor groups, human resource managers, elder advocates, and family/child advocates.


Public Service Professor for 1993-1994: Steven Sternfeld, Linguistics

“Building Community in and Outside of the Classroom: Exploring Linguistic and Cultural Diversity”

Professor Sternfeld developed a two-quarter course in which university students learned about the cultural diversity of the community as they helped young students explore their first cultures. The goal of the class was to help children realize the importance of their language. University and elementary school students compiled “culture trunks,” which contained material artifacts that could be displayed for exhibits in schools.


Public Service Professor for 1992-1993: Peter Philips, Economics

“The Barefoot Labor Educators: Bringing Labor Market Analysis to the Schools and Shop Floor”

Dr. Philips directed university students in a year-long research service project to inform labor union members, high school students and other Utah workers of changing job prospects. Using the resources of the university’s economic expertise, they examined what effect on jobs such things as trucking and airline deregulation, downsizing of military and defense production, enforcement of environmental regulations and the opinion of Mexican labor markets to U.S. capital have here in Utah. He and his students presented their findings at meetings around the state and the AFL-CIO convention in June 1993.


Public Service Professor for 1992-1993: Cheryl Wright, Family & Consumer Studies

“Child Care Training Project: A University and Community Agency Partnership”

This project created a partnership between upper-level students in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and the private, nonprofit Children’s Center to improve the quality of child care in the Salt Lake area. Typically, care givers in child care facilities do not have to meet any educational requirements—a detriment to quality care—and turnover is high. The project goal was to provide students a way to enhance the skills of child care providers in selected centers through a training program and to document the results of this program. 


Public Service Professor for 1991-1992: Scott Williams, Pediatrics

“Curriculum for Delivery of Primary Health Care to Medically Under-served Families”

Community-based clinics in Salt Lake County serve as training sites for health care workers where there was a dearth of information on providing effective health care to under-served populations. Dr. Williams developed a formal curriculum and resource guide that facilitated a university-community partnership to improve the workers’ ability to deliver needed services to these populations.


Public Service Professor for 1990-1991: Susan Miller, Writing Program

Susan Miller“Literacy and Social Development”

While the problem of illiteracy is well-recognized, knowledge available to volunteers willing to tutor people who are illiterate has been limited to very basic “how to” training. Susan Miller developed a course that included an assessment of public programs for literacy while providing alternative views of these programs. The course offered enrichment of students through exposure to a body of knowledge that was not widely available in this region.


Public Service Professor for 1989-1990: Doug Rollins, Pharmacy

“Pharmacology and Toxicology Elective Course”

Professor Rollins developed a pharmacy elective in which senior pharmacy, medical and nursing students conducted a needs assessment to find out where volunteer work by health professionals was most needed. The class developed a project that shared pharmaceutical knowledge with individual elderly people in cooperation with the Salt Lake County Division of Aging. The ultimate goal of the course was to sensitize students to community needs and train them to utilize their own skills and community resources to address them.


Public Service Professor for 1988-1989: Carol Werner, Psychology

“The Psychology of Social Action”

Professor Werner modified an existing course to include a “hands on” service component that allowed students to apply theories of behavior and attitude change to a real community problem. In the initial year of the course, students developed interventions to increase recycling in a selected area of the Avenues neighborhood in Salt Lake City. They found that those households that received informational visits from the students were twice as likely to sign up for curbside recycling.


Last Updated: 2/27/17