Outreach and Engaged Scholarship Symposium

The Outreach & Engaged Scholarship Symposium was held Thursday, September 7, 2023, at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center.

The symposium showcased outreach, extension and engaged scholarship from faculty, staff, community professionals, students, collaborative teams, partner scholar groups from partnering institutions, public spaces, and communities around the State.

The symposium recognized current and ongoing public engagement, informed, and offered best practice guidance for outreach and engagement and promoted engaged scholarship as it seeks to accomplish annually. The symposium also promoted, recognized, supported, and appreciated engaged and emerging engaged scholars, including community partners, students, staff, and faculty addressing critical needs in the state of Alabama and beyond.

The schedule (below) of the 2023 symposium included a luncheon keynote, plenary sessions with presentations from by more than 65 scholars and professionals from colleges and units across the university as well as community organizations; a University Outreach Resource Fair, Gallery Walk & Social and the AAA Experience Reflection Reception. The 2023 symposium was an opportunity for intentional conversations about how engaged scholarship leads to significant, positive impacts in the community and the academy. We look forward to seeing you next year in September 2024!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Thursday, September 7, 2022


Dixon Conference Center Legacy Ballroom

Dr. Ford Dyke, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Kinesiology (College of Education)

Olympian Reita Clanton, Coordinator, Performance and Health Optimization Center, School of Kinesiology (College of Education)

Mindfulness@Auburn is the evidencebased approach to optimal performance, health, and well-being. Dr. Ford Dyke and Olympian Reita Clanton from the School of Kinesiology disseminate Mindfulness and the Pillars of Performance & Health through a seminar to kick off this year’s symposium. The curriculum is designed to support optimal performance, health, and well-being at Auburn University and beyond!

Dr. Adrienne Duke-Marks, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Human Development and Family Science (College of Human Sciences)

Unveiling the Power of Collaborative Networks for Transformative Impact. Forging connections between faculty/staff, state organizations, and community groups is critical for positive change. Mutual benefits can derive from such partnerships in unexpected ways. Attendees will gain insight into effective negotiation and strategic alignment of goals, which can foster impactful change in communities.

Tony Ventimiglia, Assistant Vice President for Research Administration (Office of the Senior VP for Research and Economic Development)

Christine Cline, MPA, Associate Director, Proposal Services & Faculty Support

Supporting Community Engaged Scholarship. The office of Proposal Services and Faculty Support (PSFS) assists faculty and staff in the broad aspects of proposal development for their research, scholarly, and creative programs (e.g., funding resources, PIVOT, etc.). The multifaceted mission of PSFS includes finding targeted funding opportunities for faculty to promote research across campus; facilitating the intramural grant programs, proposal development services for large, interdisciplinary projects; faculty engagement and education to help faculty better respond to the changing funding climate; and educating AU’s administrators and support staff through the COMPASS certification program to better serve the research and creative scholarship goals of Auburn University. The PSFS office is a unit of the Office of the Senior VP for Research and Economic Development.


Time: 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
Location: Dixon Conference Center Grand Ballrooms

Dr. Jennifer W. Purcell

Dr. Jennifer W. Purcell is a Professor of Political Science in the School of Government and International Affairs within the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences (RCHSS) at Kennesaw State University. She previously held a tenured appointment in the former Department of Leadership and Integrative Studies at KSU. Purcell is a leadership scholar whose research explores leadership capacity building in organizational and community contexts with emphasis on the role of boundary-spanning, organization development, coaching, and collaboration. As a community-engaged faculty member and former administrator, her contributions support the institutionalization of engagement and expansion of the field through research and professional development for graduate students, staff, and faculty.

Purcell’s leadership and scholarship have been recognized by a variety of awards, including the AASCU John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement which is awarded through the American Democracy Project. She is an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Community Engagement Scholarship (JCES), a former Associate Editor for the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (JHEOE), a founding member of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Professional Development Committee, Past-Chair and current Co-Chair of the ESC Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop, and Past-Chair of the ESC Marketing and Communications Committee.

Purcell earned a Doctor of Education in Adult Education in the Department of Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development at the University of Georgia and holds a Master of Public Administration from Valdosta State University and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and business administration minor from Mercer University. She also completed a Graduate Certificate in Organization and Leadership Coaching from the University of Georgia.


Dixon Conference Center Legacy Ballroom

Dr. Seth H. Perry, Dr. Morgan Yordy, Dr. Ann Lambert (AU College of Nursing)

Through the Auburn University College of Nursing, the SOUND Families program is working to provide quality resources to the community and families of persons with developmental disabilities, including access stations on Auburn’s campus, a mobile sensory room for community events, and items for sensory regulation. SOUND Families recognizes the strain emotional dysregulation places on families and caregivers, pursues evidence-based resources to mitigate familial stress, and enhances awareness through community involvement. By strengthening families, SOUND Families strengthens the Auburn community and beyond.

Carly Cummings and Dr. Soledad Peresin (AU College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment)

Currently, over 60% of Alabama's schools score below proficiency in science education. To help develop a solution, we used spatial and statistical analysis to understand which areas within the state are in need of academic and educational support. The Black Belt of Alabama, an area that has long faced underrepresentation and underfunding, is further being underserved in science education. Therefore, to help increase science proficiency and environmental awareness we have developed educational resources to connect standards to relevant material and environmental issues, while also developing free educational support programs to families and students. Lessons related to forestry, a land classification that covers over 70% of the state, are implemented into local schools, and connected to state standards, to see how relevant problem-solving lessons impact students understanding of the environment and the scientific principals involved. Moreover, a free community event on sustainability was developed and studied to research its impact on families and students. Lastly, a local mentorship group has been studied to see how their support impacts student’s science proficiency and environmental awareness.

Sarah Watts, PhD, RN (AU College of Nursing), Jeanna Sewell, PharmD (AU Harrison College of Pharmacy), Felicia Tuggle, PhD (AU College of Liberal Arts), Jen Slay (AU College of Liberal Arts), Rachel Helms, DNP, ARPN, AGACNP-BC, FNP-BC, ENP-C (AU College of Nursing), and Blanche Moreman, MEd, RD, LD (AU College of Human Sciences)

As challenges in healthcare continue to become more complex, Interprofessional Education (IPE) could be part of the solution to better prepare healthcare professional students for practice, which can improve patient outcomes, while also providing a unique approach to engage students with the community to provide much needed healthcare. At Auburn, our IPE initiative is innovative and goes well beyond the traditional experiences of units to provide unique and impactful learning experiences for students. As part of IPE at Auburn, faculty from disciplines across campus and VCOM collaborative to provide interprofessional seminars, simulations, and mobile community clinics. We believe IPE can be part of the solution to improve health outcomes and better prepare the next generation of health care professionals for practice.

Alan Bugg, Lauren Redden, Grace Herazy, and Jalen Rogers (AU College of Architecture, Design and Construction)

The McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University has a long history of constructing service-learning projects as a component in a few select courses. During a recent curriculum revision, the decision was made to reconfigure and dedicate one standalone service-learning based course for all students to complete in order to make a greater impact on the local community. This service-learning course is designed to integrate all components of the construction process. At the end of the semester, the students complete a questionnaire to determine areas of improvement and elements of the course that should remain unchanged. The owners also complete a questionnaire to determine their level of satisfaction. In addition to the required service-learning course, Building Science students have the option to take additional service-learning construction electives. These electives include a class in disaster recovery and a service-learning class conducted in Quito, Ecuador.

Danilea Werner, Julie Wells, and Angie Colvin-Burque (AU College of Liberal Arts)

The benefits of service-learning to university students are well documented. This presentation will describe a multi-faceted outreach program illustrating the Community-in-community-Inclusion model (Werner & Burque, 2018). BraveHeart Center for Place and Purpose is a Strengths-Based, Health and Wellness focused Community Inclusion Day Center for young adults with DD/ID who face moderate to severe life challenges. This program functions with three target service-populations, the young adults, AU students and the Community at large. At BCPP, young adults fulfil the role of Community Inclusion Ambassadors (CIAs) and act as a conduit to establishing, maintaining, and growing relationships within the community. AU students connect with CIAs through practicum, internships, volunteer work and service-learning assignments. This presentation will illustrate the role of AU students, BCPP CIAs and Community Partners performing a service project targeting food insecurity in East Alabama called Trick or Treat for Cans.

Dr. Melinda Lanius, Joanie Morris, and Heather Haskell (AU College of Sciences and Mathematics)

Mathematics is romanticized as an abstract, objective, transcendent science, which in short, is a myth; mathematical ideas cannot live outside of the human mind and the mechanism by which human beings conceptualize abstract concepts is metaphor. In this interactive round table, we will share examples of mathematical object lessons that we have used to bring mathematics alive for students and the general public, through our outreach events and in our own classrooms. Object lesson is an approach to understanding abstract lessons, where concepts are embodied through common household objects. Bubbles can illustrate the potential shapes of the universe, sticks can become secret encoders, and a junk drawer can embody the underpinnings of computers! This work was partially supported through a Mathematics Association of America, Dolciani Mathematics Enrichment Grant.

Dr. Amy Curtis, Dr. Kelly Strickland, and Hope Carroll (AU College of Nursing)

Auburn University College of Nursing works with multiple local community organizations that serve and support individuals living with cognitive disabilities. This presentation will highlight a few of our partnerships with outreach initiatives to not only support those individuals but provide a valuable learning opportunity for our nursing students who may have never worked with individuals living with cognitive disabilities. Nursing students need to be prepared to communicate with and care for this patient population as it is a significant portion of the worldwide population. When planning for these types of outreach opportunities it is important for nursing programs to ensure that their students not only understand how to disseminate health promotional information in a variety of ways, but the key is knowing how to communicate this information to those individuals living with cognitive disabilities.

Ruchika Rungta, Dr. Tannista Banerjee (AU College of Liberal Arts)

We explored state-level social distancing policies combined with partisanship, and this disproportionately affects small businesses and part-time and full-time work substitution at the county using Homebase and SafeGraph data for 2020. Introducing emergency declaration and business closure policies significantly reduced full-time work behavior, and small businesses opened. However, the political effect tells a different story; Republican-leaning counties will likely work more and less social distancing. Non-parametrical controlling of potential endogeneity reduces the impact of these policies, but it is still significant. Our results imply that social distancing policies reduce labor market outcomes, but these reductions vary by political affiliation.

Dr. Felicia Tuggle, Addison Meeks, Madysen Maggio, and Olivia Depew (AU College of Liberal Arts)

This presentation showcases how the Classroom as Organization (CAO), a highly experiential pedagogical approach to classroom structure and management can be used to facilitate student and community engagement in ways that are educational and impactful. The presentation highlights how an MSW classroom functioned as a student run organization where students were placed in leadership and management roles and tasked with collaborating with existing health focused community organizations to raise awareness about childhood obesity. A discussion of the competency-based knowledge and skills students learned through the CAO approach and community impact will be discussed.

Dr. Linda M Gibson-Young (AU College of Nursing), Dr. Hollie Cost (AU Outreach), Dr. Jennifer Kerpelman (AU College of Human Sciences), Dr. Chippewa Thomas (AU Outreach and College of Education), Rachel Snoddy (Chambers County Extension - ACES), and Chief Jim Doody (City of Lafayette EMS)

There is a growing rural health crisis in the United States. From fewer provider systems due to economics and closures, to clinician shortages, Social Determinants of Health (SODH) barriers, and payers not covering essential services (all systemic problems magnified by COVID) millions of individuals lack access to affordable, quality healthcare. Many go without basic health screening, medical care, and medications, while others must travel for hours to receive necessary medical services. We must encourage equal access to safe, affordable healthcare. Alabama ranks 45th in health care, and the state exceeds the nation on many indicators of chronic illness and poor health (Oates et al., 2017). According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) national rankings, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the World Health Organization, Alabama has the second highest rate of diabetes, third highest rate of obesity and the fourth highest incidence of heart disease. This presentation discusses the opportunities that exist for improved education and awareness of healthcare students about these unique needs and encouragement for those students to work in areas of the greatest need. With integration of telehealth technology, residents within our communities have significantly increased access to physical health, mental health, substance use disorder (SUD), and behavioral health treatment with connected organizations, increasing quality of life, decreasing acute and chronic conditions, and increasing their ability to contribute more positively to their communities. Additionally discussed are the opportunities for organizations to come together, leveraging advancements in technology and innovation to adequately address rural health needs.

Dr. Doris Adams Hill, Maria Gutierrez, and Mikyung Kim (AU College of Education)

The purpose of this proposal/presentation is to highlight how the Regional Autism Network (RAN) strives to serve underserved populations in Alabama impacted by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD). In addition to these families, we reach out to those whose first language is not English (mostly Spanish and Korean) with children with ASD/IDD, incarcerated mothers and their families, and rural programs. What makes the Regional Autism Network unique is that we serve families and individuals with ASD/IDD across the lifespan and actively collaborate with the agencies that serve them (Early Intervention, Vocational Rehabilitation, Head Start, Public Schools, and Faith-based Organizations). RAN staff will share contact information and other resources with those who attend.

Mackenzie Stagg, Rusty Smith, Emily McGlohn, Elizabeth Farrell Garcia, and Eddie Latimer (AU College of Architecture, Design and Construction)

For thirty years, Rural Studio has paired design-build education with service learning to provide a hands-on experience for students and design services for under-resourced communities. Based in West Alabama, Rural Studio provides a place-based model for engaging with Alabama citizens and communities. While Rural Studio continues its core mission, we are expanding the impact of its housing access and affordability work through the Front Porch Initiative. This model has created a feedback loop wherein student research and outreach activities are extended out into a wider regional and national scale, then, through faculty-led research and outreach, ideas and information are fed back into teaching and research prompts. Through reciprocal knowledge-building and information-sharing, we aim to understand how the work can be more broadly meaningful and impactful at both local and regional scales Collectively, this work embodies the three primary missions of the University: teaching, research, and outreach.

Dr. Ashley Brown and Joe Davis (Lee County Community Organization)

This presentation will discuss ways in which Lee County Remembrance Project (LCRP), a grassroots, community-driven initiative, has been working with the community to reconcile racial terror, violence, and trauma that occurred in Lee County, AL. LCRP has established a partnership with Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to align its goals with EJI's truth and reconciliation model. With a wealth of research, we provide education to the Lee County community on racial injustices that have occurred historically as well as present-day. Engaging the community in critical discussions has aided in implementing strategies to change our narrative and our landscape towards the goal of community healing.

Ashlyn Johnson, Lauren West, Caroline Hollingsworth, Dr. Ann Lambert, Dr. Amy Pridemore, and Dr. Claire Thompson (AU College of Nursing)

Learn how to develop five lessons plans and materials for children in Ecuador. The catch is - everything must fit in one suitcase.

Dr. Keith Hebert (AU College of Liberal Arts), Dr. Elijah Gaddis (AU College of Liberal Arts), Dr. Leslie Cordie (AU College of Education), Dr. Robert Finkel (College of Architecture, Design and Construction), and Dr. Richard Burt (College of Architecture, Design and Construction)

The 1965 Selma to Montgomery march was the climactic event of the Selma voting rights demonstrations. It provided some of the most recognized imagery of the civil rights movement and sparked several infamous crimes. This interdisciplinary project highlights the most recent endeavor that brought together educators from across the country to an immersive, week-long exploration of one of the most important landscapes of the American civil rights movement. Using the events of the infamous "Bloody Sunday" protests in Selma, Alabama, participants spent a week exploring the understudied ordinary people and places of this freedom struggle. Educators left the workshops changed and better able to navigate the intersections of race, place, and freedom struggles in their own classrooms and communities in the hopes that future generations of Americans will be inspired and promote the fundamental civil liberties our democracy is built on.

Dr. Mary Jane McIlwain, Dr. Jamie Harrison, and Ameshia Cleveland (AU College of Education)

This session will present the continued work of a school university partnership between Loachapoka Schools and Auburn University College of Education with the goal of increased language and literacy outcomes for pre-K through 5th grade students. In its fourth year of implementation, a summer literacy camp offers the venue for pre-service teachers to deliver instruction in oral histories and dialogic buddy reading to attending children. Using a service-learning framework, older elementary students are trained to read stories to pre-K children, thus developing their own reading fluency and comprehension. In addition, the preschool students develop oral language and narrative skills that prepare them to learn to read. The presentation will include videos and images from our 2023 experience, which has led to a replicable research design.

Dr. Joan R. Harrell (AU College of Liberal Arts) and Dr. Phyllis West (Governors State University)

Historically, the schooner Clotilda is to date the last known U.S. slave ship to bring 109 enslaved African children, women, and men from Benin Africa to Mobile Bay in Alabama. Emmett Lewis is the great grandson of Cudjoe Lewis, the last survivor of the Clotilda of the transatlantic slave trade of 1860. Lewis and hundreds of great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren of the Clotilda, live in Africatown, Alabama today in 2023. Auburn University and Governor State University students engage in three day long educational excursions to experience the intersection of the historical contextualization and lived experience of enslaved Africans and their present-day ancestors.

Dr. Jung Won Hur (AU College of Education) and Dr. Jay Bhuyan (Tuskegee University Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science)

The purpose of this presentation is to showcase the ongoing enhancement of the ITEST-Alabama program, which aims to increase knowledge and interest of computer science among minority high school students from Alabama's Black Belt high schools. Collaboratively managed by Auburn University and Tuskegee University, the project underwent significant improvements based on 2022 outcomes. Throughout the presentation, we'll explain how we redesigned the program, emphasizing how the students' input directly influenced the changes we made. By sharing our successes and the challenges we faced while making these improvements, we hope to provide useful insights for similar projects.

Gail Harper Yeilding (AU College of Education)

This summer, 12 teachers from all over the US traveled to Lira, Uganda to engage in Teach Ag Uganda, A Fulbright-Hayes Small Group Experience supported by the United States Department of Education. We engaged with our school partners weekly through Zoom and What’s App six months prior to travel and worked with five different schools to implement grants with Fields of Hope our host and NGO based in Uganda to begin an agriculture project at each school. All teachers reflected daily using the TIPS method (Taranth, 2014) and will continue to work on these projects with goals to be met by December. In this presentation, I will share our work at St. Gracious Secondary School to prepare the student leadership team to begin the project with a brooder, care of the chicks, record keeping, and vaccination. Website: https://globalteachagnetwork.psu.edu/teach-ag-uganda/.


Dixon Conference Center Pre-function Area

Learn more about the departments that make up the division of University Outreach at our Fair, Gallery Walk and Social! It’s an opportunity for us to showcase how we deliver on the land-grant mission of the university in Alabama and beyond. Meet us at the fair and see how you can “Outreach with Us!”

Vendors include:

  1. Office of Professional and Continuing Education
  2. Office of Public Service
  3. Center for Education Outreach and Engagement
  4. Office of Outreach Global
  5. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI @ AU) at Auburn University
  6. Government and Economic Development Institute
  7. Encyclopedia of Alabama
  8. Office of Faculty Engagement
  9. Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Initiative


Dixon Conference Center Terrace Room

University Outreach hosted the 2nd Auburn Across Alabama (AAA) Experience Wednesday, August 9th in collaboration with AU-Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This tour immersed participants in aspects of the civic, educational, health and economic landscape of Lee County and Chambers County. The purpose of this trip was to engage faculty, staff, and administration in experiences that could help them better understand community needs and assets. The intended outcome was that the university faculty and staff participants develop sustainable relationships with communities that result in longstanding positive impacts. The AAA Experience participants and the community members will debrief the experience at the “reflection reception,” continue deliberative dialogue, exchange, and initiate action planning.



For questions or assistance, contact Dr. Chippewa Thomas at thoma07@auburn.edu or (334) 844-5701.

Last Updated: October 11, 2023