Awards and Recognitions

In recognition of exemplary contributions through research on service-learning and community engagement, IARSLCE honors those whose research contributes significantly to understanding and advancing community engagement, across all approaches and all educational sectors. We are pleased to present the recipients of this year’s awards.


2020 Award Recipients


IARSLCE is pleased to recognize Nadinne Cruz with the Distinguished Career Award. A pioneer, a trailblazer, and an inspiration for critical thought and practice, Nadinne Cruz’s 30-plus years in the community engagement movement in higher education has had deep and significant impacts on scholarship, on practice, on the formation of community engaged scholars, and on holding the movement accountable for a central commitment to social justice.


IARSLCE is pleased to recognize Professor Tom Dee (Stanford University), Professor Emily Penner (University of California Irvine), and Assistant Superintendent Bill Sanderson (San Francisco Unified School District). Their work looks at the impacts of ethnic studies courses on student attendance and achievement and has had local and national impacts as their scholarship has informed policy and practice in the development, adoption, and defense of ethnic studies requirements in K-12 schools.


IARSLCE is pleased to recognize Professor Darren E. Lund (University of Calgary) whose scholarship and practice integrates cultural humility to advance community engagement work for equity and justice. He is the founder of the Service-Learning Program for Diversity and editor of the award-winning Wiley International Handbook of Service-Learning for Social Justice (2018).


The recipient of the Dissertation Award is Dr. Colleen Rost-Banik, who received her doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Minnesota. She is honored with this award for her dissertation, How Service Learning Constructs Ideal Citizens for the Nation, a critical ethnography that masterfully explicates how the mutually constitutive efforts of democracy and domination are extremely difficult to untangle.

The finalist for the Dissertation Award is Dr. Melissa L. Lyon who earned her doctorate in 
Educational Leadership and School Administration from Fayetteville State University. Her dissertation is titled Using Q Methodology to Explore Views of a Selected Competency Framework for Community Engagement Professionals.


The International Research Award recipient is the Service-Learning and Leadership Office at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Identified “as one of world’s most impressive and impactful service-learning initiatives in higher education,” PolyU has developed international partnerships in places such as Rwanda, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, focused on engaging students in tackling complex and significant issues. The impact of these programs on the lives and livelihoods of community partners alongside scholarly contributions about multicultural and cross-cultural engagement showcase the contributions of PolyU to the enhancement of international efforts in service-learning and community engagement.


For the first time, IARSLCE is recognizing a Publication of the Year to celebrate the author(s) of a single published scholarly article, book chapter, book, or book series that has had a significant impact on the study and/or practice of service-learning and community engagement.

Aurora Santiago-Ortiz, a PhD candidate in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the finalist for the award authoring a “breakthrough publication”
in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, “From Critical to Decolonizing Service-Learning: Limits and Possibilities of Social Justice-Based Approaches to Community Service-Learning.”

The Publication of the Year is awarded to Dr. Elizabeth Yomantas of Pepperdine University for her chapter “Decolonizing Knowledge and Fostering Critical Allyship,” which appears in the book Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Equity in Higher Education (Parson & Ozaki, 2020). The piece, focused on a teaching and learning experience in Fiji, expands the boundaries of service-learning by designing experiential learning programs based on the indigenous research paradigm, culturally responsive methodologies, and critical pedagogy for service-learning courses in international settings.

Congratulations to the recipients of the IARSLCE awards. Thank you to all of the nominees and association members who participated in the review process to determine this year's recipients. To read more about the recipients, please visit our website. Recipients will be honored in a virtual celebration in early 2021 and have been invited to share their work with the IARSLCE membership. 


Past Award Recipients:

2008: Julie Hatcher, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis and Emily Janke, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (co-recipients)
2009: Alan Bloomgarden, University of Massachusetts Amherst
2010: Katrina Norvell, Portland State University and Elaine Ward, Dublin Institute of Technology (co-recipients)
2011: Stephanie T. Stokamer, Portland State University
2012: Lina Dostilio, Duquesne University
2013: Travis York, The Pennsylvania State University
2014: Kendra Brewster, City University of New York
2015: Cynthia Toms, Westmont College
2016: Nora Pillard Reynolds, Temple University
2017: Kristi Farner, University of Georgia
2018: Elisabeth Fornaro, Temple University
2019: Thomas Dahan, Rutgers University, Camden

Early Career Research Award:
2008: KerryAnn O’Meara, University of Maryland College Park
2009: Nicholas Long, Providence College
2010: Timothy Eatman, Syracuse University
2011: Tania Smith, Stanford University
2012: Emily Janke, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
2013: Eric Hartman, Providence College
2016: Stephanie Stokamer, Pacific University
2017: Amy Cook, University of Massachusetts Boston
2018: Danielle Lake, Grand Valley State University and Timothy Shaffer, Kansas State University (co-recipients)

Distinguished Research Award:
2003: Andrew Furco, University of California at Berkeley
2004: Robert Bringle, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
2005: Sherril Gelmon, Portland State University
2006: Barbara Holland, National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
2007: Janet Eyler, Vanderbilt University
2008: Shelley Billig, RMC Research Corporation
2009: Dwight Giles, Jr., University of Massachusetts Boston
2010: Barbara Moely, Tulane University
2011: Jeffrey Howard, Depaul University
2012: Rahima Wade, University of Iowa (posthumous)
2013: Lorilee Sandmann, University of Georgia
2014: Sarena Seifer, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
2015: Edward Zlotkowski, Bentley University
2016: Barbara Jacoby, University of Maryland, College Park
2017: Julie Hatcher, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
2018: Patti H. Clayton

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award
2019: Tania Mitchell, University of Minnesota

International Award Recipient
2019: Nadine Peterson, University of Johannesburg

Public Scholarship Award
2019: Dotte Agency, University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design

Community Outcomes and Impact Award
2019: Montagnard Dega Association / Montagnard American Association