PRESIDENT'S AWARDS FOR
EXEMPLARY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
2014 WINNERS


Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA)
One of the oldest school study councils in the nation, CASDA serves as the UAlbany School of Education's field arm, directly reaching teachers and administrators throughout New York State. CASDA collaborates with superintendents, principals, and educators to create unique, evidence-based solutions that cultivate strong leaders, enhance teacher effectiveness, and increase student achievement. The partnership between CASDA and the SOE ensures that emerging research and best practices in education reach those they can most positively affect, while providing opportunities for on-the-ground research. CASDA's work encompasses a range of topics in the field of education, including improving persistently dangerous or under-performing schools, training professionals on the latest state and federal regulation compliance, and hosting cross-district professional learning communities.

Center for Human Services Research (CHSR), Education Team
Led by three research scientists in the School of Social Welfare, the Center for Human Services Research's Education Team has been integral to the City School District of Albany's efforts to improve student achievement through the use of data-based decision making and evaluation of best practices. CHSR has helped the District secure, implement, and evaluate nearly $20 million in grant projects designed to assist the neediest children and turn around struggling schools. The Center's longitudinal tracking and reporting has helped CSDA monitor trends, assess program impacts, and make better-informed decisions. CHSR also serves as the data support and evaluation team for the Albany Promise Cradle-to-Career Partnership.

Michelle Feder - B.A. '11, Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Administration and Policy
As an undergraduate student at UAlbany, Michelle began her partnership with Club Zoe, an afterschool program for inner-city youth. That relationship has continued as she works toward her PhD and, over time, she has launched a number of initiatives for the organization, including her long-standing Tae Kwon Do program that helps provide youth with self-discipline and a sense of structure. Michelle, along with her colleague and friend Hannah Attard, has donated time every week for six years to work with youth in Albany's struggling South End neighborhood. Her involvement with the organization has expanded to include fundraising, food drives, volunteer recruitment, and fostering partnerships between Club Zoe and other parts of the UAlbany community.

Healthy Environments and Relationships that Support (HEARTS) Initiative
The HEARTS Initiative, led by Dr. Heather Larkin, Associate Professor, School of Social Welfare, reflects aspects of community-engaged scholarship and service, directly connecting practitioners in the community with emerging research and bringing emerging practices to research. The partnership of 15 organizations implements a multidimensional intervention plan to address "adverse childhood experiences" that contribute to many adult risk behaviors, including psychosocial problems, substance abuse, and biomedical diseases. The partnership helps address standards of care for both children and adults, initiates data-driven systems change in social services and care, and is one of the first instances of a large-scale collaboration among the region's social service providers.


Dr. Akiko Hosler - Associate Professor, School of Public Health
For the past three years, Dr. Hosler has led a series of community-based collaborative research and public health service projects in Schenectady to address and reduce diabetes burden within the Guyanese community. The Guyanese community makes up about 13% of Schenectady's population and has been severely impacted by the high prevalence of Type-2 diabetes. Dr. Hosler has conducted research in close partnership with the community, to identify and implement accessible, sustainable, and culturally-appropriate interventions to prevent and control diabetes. The Schenectady County Public Health Services and Ellis Hospital have both incorporated this project in to their "community health needs assessment and action plans" mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Junior FIRST Lego League Expo
Dr. Jennifer Goodall, Assistant Dean in the College of Computing and Information, has spearheaded this community-oriented service program for the past six-plus years, providing an opportunity for 6- to 9-year-olds to learn about science and technology and solve real-world problems. This work has been a piece of a larger effort to promote girls' participation and interest in STEM fields. The initiative has drawn over 750 children from local schools and community-based organizations who work in teams to use Legos to build models and present their applications of science and technology to solve a specific real world problem. Dr. Goodall and her student volunteers act as liaisons with parents and schools for months ahead of the event to ensure a positive and fun learning experience for participants. Dr. Goodall and her partners Bobbi Vogt at KeyBank and Linda Stephen at GSNENY organize a day on campus to celebrate the accomplishments of the kids with reviewers, medals, trophies and hi-fives.


Dr. Hal Lawson - Professor, School of Social Welfare, School of Education
Dr. Lawson's long career in academia has focused on "academically-based community scholarship" in which he contributes to knowledge generation and theory development as he collaborates with others to address urgent, complex problems and needs. His scholarly work focuses on improving outcomes for vulnerable people who live and work in challenging places, and it is action-oriented, targeting more expansive interventions, new organizational designs, and policy change. Dr. Lawson's work is richly interdisciplinary and covers a broad range of topics. Examples include a federally-funded, state-wide research and development project to remodel child welfare systems; an NIH-funded study in Troy using community-based participatory action research to develop obesity-related innovations; a research and development initiative sponsored by the NYS Education Department focused on improving persistently under-performing schools and districts, and innovative designs for multi-service and community schools, initially in Albany and now in Schenectady.


Arlene Lev, LCSW-R, CASAC - Lecturer, School of Social Welfare
For almost thirty years, Ms. Lev has provided services to the region's LGBTQ community, including clinical mental health services, educational programs and training for community and University audiences, advocacy on issues of health and welfare, and community development. With a particular emphasis on serving disenfranchised members of the community, she developed a number of groundbreaking initiatives on- and off-campus in the Capital Region, including Rainbow Access Initiative, a program devoted to reducing health disparities for LGBTQ people. At UAlbany, Ms. Lev developed one of the first advanced clinical courses in the nation working with LGBTQ clients. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project aims to improve the cultural-competency of professionals working with the LGBTQ community, providing specialized coursework and field placement opportunities for Social Welfare students.


Small Business Development Center
Since 1984, UAlbany's SBDC has helped more than 21,400 entrepreneurs access over $335 million in capital and has created or saved over 10,825 jobs in the region. In 2009 and 2013, the University's SBDC was ranked among the top ten SBDCs in the nation by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the "innovative way it champions small businesses while providing programs and services for entrepreneurs." These programs include a character-based microloan fund (SEED), the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, the Veterans Business Outreach Program, and others that directly address local economic development needs. SBDC has also counseled regional small businesses about the Affordable Care Act and collaborates with Chambers of Commerce and technology parks across eleven counties.

University in the High School
The University in the High School program is a 31-year-old program that provides high school students in the Capital Region and beyond with the opportunity to earn UAlbany course credits. As a "bridging" experience to college, UHS courses help students develop the skills and experience necessary for academic success in higher education. UHS staff and faculty liaisons work with teachers, principals, and counselors to ensure that these courses match the rigor of their campus counterparts. Additionally, the reduced course fees make earning college credit more affordable for students and their families. The program currently involved 31 subjects at UAlbany, 212 high schools throughout New York, and 544 high school teachers.

Previous Award Winners and Exemplars