|Dr. James H. Ryan|
Vice President for Outreach and Cooperative Extension
The establishment of the Penn State Award for Faculty Outreach in 1998 was a milestone in the Universitys journey to reinvigorate its outreach mission. Each year since then, the University has honored a faculty member who is making exceptional contributions to improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians and others.|
This group of award winners now includes six faculty members: Dr. Mark T. Greenberg, Edna Peterson Bennett Chair in Prevention Research and professor of human development and family studies in the College of Health and Human Development, this years award recipient; Dr. Audrey Maretzki, professor of food science and nutrition, College of Agricultural Sciences (2002); Dr. Keith Verner, chief of the Division of Developmental Pediatrics and Learning, College of Medicine (2001); Dr. Lakshman Yapa, associate professor of geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2000); Dr. James E. Van Horn, professor of rural sociology, College of Agricultural Sciences (1999); and Dr. Jawaid Haider, professor of architecture, College of Arts and Architecture (1998).
Established by the Provost and the Vice President for Outreach and Cooperative Extension in collaboration with the Coordinating Council for Outreach and Cooperative Extension and the University Faculty Senate Committee on Outreach Activities, the Award for Faculty Outreach is designed to recognize and reward faculty who make significant contributions to outreach.
Donald Leslie, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Architecture, chaired this years Selection Committee. The committee included representatives from the Coordinating Council for Outreach and Cooperative Extension and the Faculty Senates Outreach Committee. Members reviewed nominations and chose the award winner based on how the faculty members outreach efforts have impacted individuals, organizations or communities.
Award recipients receive a stipend of $1,000 and are honored during the annual University Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon. We also highlight the good work of award winners and other faculty members involved in outreach in Penn State Outreach magazine.
The Award for Faculty Outreach celebrates the philosophy of engagement outlined in Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution, the report by the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. The report highlights the importance of faculty applying their expertise to social, civic and economic issues facing our nation and world. President Graham Spanier, who chaired the commission, is deeply committed to making Penn State the leading university in the country in the integration of teaching, research and service. His plan for increasing and enhancing outreach reinforces the importance of outreach activities as an integral part of our University and further strengthens the Universitys vision to become an indispensable resource for the people of Pennsylvania.
At Penn State, we define Outreach as the process of extending the intellectual expertise and resources of the University through teaching, research and service to address the social, civic, economic and environmental issues and opportunities facing our Commonwealth, nation and world.
Outreach will continue to be a vital part of the Universitys land-grant mission in the future, and Penn State will continue to be a leader in engagement, because we are building outreach into the fabric of the academic community, including the promotion and tenure process. The Award for Faculty Outreach is one important element of our commitment to sharing the scholarship and resources of the University with the public.
As I look back over the faculty members who have been honored with this award, I am amazed by the extraordinary contributions they have made to advancing knowledge and changing lives for the better. The award is a tribute to the wonderful ways they have integrated teaching, research and service in their disciplines to benefit others.
Award for Faculty Outreach winners are:
|Mark Greenberg focuses his research and outreach activities on programs that help children and parents. He said, Penn State has been an enormous catalyst for my ability to do effective outreach. Moving from the University of Washington six years ago made a major change in my work and goals, not only because of Penn States land-grant role, but also because Penn State takes its land-grant mission of integrating outreach and research seriously. What Im doing is really valued here. You can read about his activities beginning here.|
|Audrey Maretzki concentrates her outreach initiatives in four areas: nutrition education for low-income Pennsylvanians, food system education, cancer control in Appalachia and NutriBusiness development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is widely recognized as an international leader in nutrition and food systems education, serving in both statewide and national organizations. Maretzki said of her Outreach award, This is the Universitys award that most resonates with my passion, which is to reach out to people around issues that are important to them. A colleague credits Maretzkis success in outreach scholarship to her ability to achieve two-way engagement among University and community partners, saying, Her work integrates research-based expertise with indigenous knowledge, enabling local people and communities to create their preferred futures. Audrey Maretzki truly represents Penn States commitment to engagement, both in the United States and internationally.|
|Keith Verner is dedicated to instilling in children a love of science. His largest science and technology education program is the Center for Science and Health Educations Elementary School Science Centers. The centers involve more than 23,000 K6 students and more than 1,300 K6 teachers from dozens of school districts throughout Pennsylvania. By focusing on educating children about health and science, these programs not only have an immediate influence on children, but also a long-term impact, because the knowledge gained can lead to the adoption of lifelong healthy habits. Verner credits his outreach successes to the support he has received, noting, President Spanier has made it very clear that Penn State values outreach and that outreach is central and critical to the Universitys mission. And Dean [Darrell] Kirch has demonstrated his support for our educational outreach programs. We wouldnt be able to develop and deliver our outreach programming without this University-wide commitment to outreach.|
|Lakshman Yapa has devoted his career to connecting his expertise to the real social problems people face around the world. His outreach scholarship has two components: his work abroadin Eritrea, Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippinesand his work in the Philadelphia area. Rethinking Urban Poverty: The Philadelphia Field Project is an inspiring student service-learning program and model for such programs. In collaboration with The Schreyer Honors College, he leads a project designed to produce a new social theory of urban poverty. Honors Scholars complete course work in the spring semester and spend a month living, working and conducting research in a West Philadelphia neighborhood. A colleague praised his approach to outreach, saying, Dr. Yapas work serves as a wonderful model for the integration of outreach teaching, outreach research and outreach service. He challenges us all to continue to find new ways to engage our scholarship with community needs.|
|James Van Horn has spent more than 30 years developing outreach programs for children, youth and families. His programs have reached tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians and others around the world. As part of the Better Kid Care Program, he has conducted satellite training workshops for child-care providers in Pennsylvania and around the nation. The program also offers video learn-at-home and distance education units, on-site training and a toll-free telephone help line. Toddler Topics, a program he started in 1971, continues today. Cooperative Extension offices mail a newsletter filled with child-care information to parents and child-care providers. He also has taped radio programs for Pennsylvanians, written newspaper columns and features on childrens and family topics and participated in Penn State Public Broadcastings WPSX-TV program Farm and Home Show. Van Horn explains his approach to outreach this way: In my philosophy of teaching, research and service, all three components are intimately linked. Personally, its very satisfying to attempt to make a difference in peoples lives and to empower people to make good decisions.|
|Jawaid Haider, the first recipient of the Award for Faculty Outreach, has spent his academic career exploring how children perceive and experience space. His research is helping architects and designers create childrens museums and other childrens spaces that encourage play, imagination and fantasy. He worked with WPSX-TV to develop two video documentaries on spatial design for children in 1994. Since then, the documentaries have been seen by millions of people throughout the United States and around the world. For Haider, outreach is an integral part of everything he does. He said, I find I cannot separate outreach from the research and teaching I do. It all works together. As I have developed methodologies to explore relevant issues in my research, I have transferred these methodologies to my teaching. I also involve students in my research projects, which provides them with valuable experiences. Thats why we do research; it enhances our knowledge and teaching.|
These award winners represent the work done by literally hundreds of Penn State faculty who share a similar commitment and passion for making lives better.
Im confident Penn States commitment to outreach and engagement will grow and evolve in the years ahead. And the University will continue to celebrate the wonderful outreach initiatives of faculty through the Award for Faculty Outreach and other forms of recognition, for their work does indeed make a difference in the lives of many.