President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award winners recognized during recent symposium

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Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock.
(Nexstar Media Group/ Staff File Photo)

LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) — The following is a news release from Texas Tech University:

Four teams from Texas Tech University were recently honored with the President’s Engaged Scholarship Awards during the Engaged Scholarship Symposium, part of the Discoveries to Impact Conference.

Two of the four collaborative efforts were given the President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award, while two other teams were recognized with the President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award and the President’s Exemplary Program Award.

The awards program recognizes Texas Tech faculty and collaborative teams in all disciplines for efforts that demonstrate outstanding commitment to partnerships that benefit both the university and other communities as well.

“These honors are bestowed upon individuals who exemplify the university’s commitment to community engagement through scholarship,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. “The collective contributions of these groups reflect a campus-wide effort to positively impact the communities around us. I am grateful to each for their important work.”

President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship

The President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes faculty for a project or collaboration that is committed to addressing a community need or larger social issue. Two teams were honored this year.

The Texas Tech Principal Fellows Residency Program was created as a partnership between the National Institute of Excellence in Teaching, the Lubbock Independent School District and the College of Education leadership faculty. The program has created a preparation pipeline in education for aspiring leaders in growing Latino and Black communities who are focused on equity and social justice.

The 15-month program immerses selected candidates as resident interns, who learn from mentor principals and Educational Leadership Program faculty coaches to help struggling teachers and at-risk students to simultaneously grow using a data-driven curriculum.

Since its inception, the Principal Fellows Residency Program has grown into a university-to-district alliance between the Educational Leadership Program faculty and school district leaders and partners who support the preparation of highly effective teachers for leadership roles in partnership districts. Now in its eighth year, the program has produced 80 Principals in Residence and continues to build the next generation of instructional leaders for the partnering districts

through leadership competencies, job-embedded skill development, investment in human capital and national and state standards.

Also earning the award is the West Texas 3D COVID-19 Relief Consortium.

A collaboration between several departments at Texas Tech, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and the University of Texas-Permian Basin, the consortium was created in March 2020 in the wake of the then-emerging coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. The group uses innovative methods to provide necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and assistance to health care workers battling COVID-19 throughout West Texas.

The consortium also conducted early tests in May on the effectiveness of homemade masks when PPE was in short supply and going mostly to medical professionals; created and delivered intubation chambers to West Texas hospitals; and delivered face shields to a facility in Wichita Falls in June.

In addition to the academic partners in Midland, Odessa, El Paso and Amarillo, the consortium includes businesses and medical facilities in Monahans, San Angelo, Midland/Odessa and Amarillo.

President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award

The President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes faculty for new projects or initiatives with the potential to advance engaged scholarship and the ability to significantly impact communities.

Assistant professor Sean Mitchell and adjunct assistant professor Megan Thoen in the Department of Psychological Sciences earned this year’s award for their collaboration with the Lubbock Police Department (LPD) to evaluate their crisis-management training program. This evaluation will help first responders be as well-equipped as possible to navigate crises to help reduce suicide rates and save lives.

The research being conducted by Mitchell, Thoen and their colleagues assesses the knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors of Lubbock police officers in relation to mental illness, substance use, suicide risk and managing mental health and suicide crises before and after they complete the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program required by LPD. Officers also are evaluated for their personal characteristics as well as experiences that may impact the effectiveness of the CIT program. The researchers follow up with LPD officers after the training to evaluate program material retention and longitudinal benefits.

President’s Exemplary Program Award

The President’s Exemplary Program Award recognizes faculty for projects that demonstrate outstanding academic engagement and commitment to addressing a community need or larger social issue and the program’s impact on both the community and the university.

Professors Courtney Meyers and Erica Irlbeck and assistant professors Lindsay Kennedy and Courtney Gibson developed the Agricultural Education & Communications block course format in response to alumni and those in the industry who suggested students need more development in terms of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills prior to graduation.

The first of its kind in any agricultural communications program in the U.S., this new course structure was implemented in 2017 and combined with two existing courses dedicated to publication production and campaign development, along with two new courses focused on advanced design and media convergence to replicate a real-world communications work environment. A total of 190 students have enrolled in the program since its inception.

“Texas Tech is extremely proud of the intensity and impact of our engaged scholarship,” said Joseph Heppert, vice president for research and innovation at Texas Tech. “Texas Tech educators, scholars and researchers contribute greatly to the success and quality of life of the community, the state and the nation. These activities are an incredibly important and visible part of Texas Tech’s DNA, and I am pleased to congratulate the winners of this year’s awards.”

(News release from Texas Tech University)

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