October 15, 2018

Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purpose of higher education, has announced Eva Zygmunt, Helen Gant Elmore Distinguished Professor of Elementary Education and co-director of the Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation at Ball State University, as the recipient of the 2018 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.

The award is bestowed annually to recognize one faculty member and up to four finalists for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.

"Campus Compact has long maintained that higher education has a special responsibility to build partnerships with primary and secondary schools to ensure educational equity and opportunity for all young people in America," said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. "Eva Zygmunt has demonstrated in practice that such partnerships can make a profound difference for children in schools today and for the next generation of teachers. Through her scholarly efforts, she has shared what she has learned with all of us concerned about educational equity and quality. I am thrilled that we can celebrate Professor Zygmunt's extraordinary accomplishments."

Zygmunt was selected for her groundbreaking work in teacher development. She has long been a national leader in community-engaged teaching, and is a co-founder of The Alliance for Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation, a research distribution network showcasing best practices in engaged teacher preparation from colleges and universities throughout the country.

Her work, including the Schools Within the Context of Community program she started at Ball State, has been instrumental in training future teachers in thoughtfully engaging communities to work toward social justice and educational equity in the classroom. During the past nine years, this program has been transformative for students in the low-income Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana.

The program succeeded by creating an authentic connection with the community, building a strong partnership through which local residents and future teachers could accurately identify and respond to community needs. The community-engaged teachers Zygmunt has trained and inspired, many of whom have continued in the work of educational justice, serve as powerful exemplars to their peers and students, multiplying the impact of Zygmunt’s work.

“My life has been forever transformed and enriched through my participation in community engagement in higher education,” Zygmunt said. “Along with colleagues and community partners, we have dared to dream of a model of educator preparation that privileges the funds of knowledge and cultural wealth of communities as essential knowledge for future teachers.

“Our collaborative efforts have resulted in a decade of development of community teachers who possess both the will and skill to enact pedagogies which are culturally responsive and sustaining, advancing education as a more equitable and socially just venture for all children,” she said. “Additionally, working with national and international colleagues, we are advancing this model as a new standard for the field of educator preparation. This work has been an honor and a privilege.”

The award is named in honor of Thomas Ehrlich, former chair of the Campus Compact board of directors and president emeritus of Indiana University, and is generously sponsored by the KPMG Foundation.

“Campus Compact’s recognition of engaged scholarship elevates the important role of faculty in advancing the public purposes of higher education,” said Bernard J. Milano, president of the KPMG Foundation. “The 2018 Ehrlich Award recipient, Dr. Zygmunt, exemplifies the power of partnership between campuses and communities. KPMG is proud to support Campus Compact and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.”

Four finalists have also been acknowledged for their achievements. They are:

  • Annjanette Alejano-Steele, associate dean, college of professional studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Penn Loh, senior lecturer and director of master of public policy program and community practice, department of urban and environmental policy and planning, Tufts University
  • Janni Sorensen, associate professor, geography and earth sciences department and director of the Charlotte Action Research Project, University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • Carole Spaulding-Kruse, professor of English, Drake University

Zygmunt and the four finalists will have the opportunity to speak on their work as part of the Midwest Campus Compact regional conference in Minneapolis this May, where the award will be presented.

Campus Compact recognizes the valuable service of the 2018 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award Selection Committee:

  • Tracey Burke, associate professor of social work, University of Alaska Anchorage and 2017 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award finalist
  • Justin Ellis, assistant director, Iowa Campus Compact
  • Tara Jo Holmberg, professor and department chair in biology, Northwestern Connecticut Community College and 2017 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award Finalist
  • Ken Reardon, professor of urban planning and community development, University of Massachusetts Boston and recipient of the 2017 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award
  • Andrea Vernon, executive director, Montana Campus Compact