Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award


Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education, has selected Kenneth Reardon, Professor of Urban Planning and Director of Urban Planning and Community Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, as the recipient of the 2017 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. 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.

“KPMG is proud to support Campus Compact and the Ehrlich Award. We offer our deepest congratulations to Dr. Reardon and the four finalists,” said Bernard J. Milano, President of KPMG Foundation. “Campus Compact’s valuable programs and thought leadership continue to advance the pursuit of higher education’s public purposes. We applaud the work of Campus Compact and the work of their member campuses, which is exemplified by the 2017 Ehrlich Award recipient, Dr. Reardon.”

“It is particularly exciting for me to celebrate Ken Reardon because I have been learning from his writing, his public presentations, and—most importantly—from his example for years,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “Ken has shown us what it means for universities to work in partnership with community residents to advance progress toward more just and equitable cities. As a member of the scholarly community, Ken has also made invaluable contributions to Campus Compact, so we are especially honored to have the opportunity to recognize his achievements.”

“For the past thirty-five years I have been privileged to observe my undergraduate and graduate planning students learn from the inspired leadership of dozens of grassroots leaders committed to collaborative approaches to community building, problem-solving, and development,” stated Reardon. “The reciprocal learning my students and I engaged in with these local leaders had a life-transforming impact on many students prompting then to pursue social justice oriented careers in underserved communities.”

Reardon’s collaborative and participatory work with communities has improved wellbeing for countless individuals and has served as a powerful example to scholars and practitioners across the country. The long reach of Reardon’s career spans several decades and numerous U.S. cities, ranging from conducting participatory action research with hundreds of students in New York City in the mid-1980s to, in the 1990s, leading the East St. Louis Action Research Project (ESLARP), an initiative that led to more than $50 million in new investment in East St. Louis’ poorest neighborhoods. Reardon continues to engage his students, now in Boston, in work that connects higher education’s resources to resident-led change efforts, empowering communities and educating students as engaged citizens and community-oriented professionals.

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

  • Elizabeth Bennion, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University South Bend
  • Tracey Burke, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Dorinda Carter Andrews, Associate Professor of Race, Culture and Equity, and Assistant Dean of Equity Outreach Initiatives for the College of Education, Michigan State University
  • Tara Jo Holmberg, Professor and Department Chair in Biology, Northwestern Connecticut Community College


Recognizing excellence in engaged teaching and scholarship

The Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award recognizes one senior faculty member (post-tenure or middle-to-late career if not in a tenure line) each year. Honorees (who must be affiliated with a Campus Compact member institution) are recognized for exemplary engaged scholarship, including leadership in advancing students’ civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal community partnerships, building institutional commitments to service-learning and civic engagement, and other means of enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.