Spotlight on Excellence in Engagement

From left to right: Nicole L. Baganz, Heather Howard, Timothy J. Steigenga


The 6th Annual Presidential Awards for Outstanding Faculty-Led Community Engagement were presented to three distinguished faculty members by President Kelly at the 2022 Honors Convocation Ceremony on April 13th. Our heartiest congratulations to these engaged faculty members.  

The recipient of the 2022 Presidential Award for Outstanding Engaged Research/Scholarship is Dr. Heather Howard, assistant professor for the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work in the College of Social Work and Criminal Justice.

Dr. Howard’s research focuses on community engagement as the basis for the data collection and analysis methods she utilizes. Her primary area of research is centered on trauma-informed care for women, particularly in substance use and health care from an empowerment lens.

Dr. Howard also engaged in a community participatory action research project in which women who were involved in the dependency system were empowered to share their reflections through PhotoVoice, a visual research method that allows participants to share their reflections through photos and images that represent their experiences.

The recipient of the 2022 Presidential Award for Outstanding Service is Dr. Nicole Baganz, assistant professor of Biomedical Science in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and assistant director of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute.

She has been recognized for inspiring young minds toward careers in STEM and eliminating the forces that restrict opportunities for understanding and treating those who suffer from mental illness.

Dr. Baganz is also responsible for the creation of the ASCEND program, which stands for Advancing STEM Community Engagement through Neuroscience Discovery. She further helped secure a $780,000 gift from the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation, initiating a four-year program that engages middle schoolers with multimedia and hands-on activities in neuroscience.

The recipient of the 2022 Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching is Dr. Timothy Steigenga, Professor from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College.

In the Honors Social Entrepreneurship course, Dr. Steigenga has pioneered the development of social entrepreneurship, a rapidly developing field that uses the traditional methods of entrepreneurship to solve social problems, rather than making a profit for its own sake.

In his courses, students are not only taught the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship, borrowing best practices from the for-profit sector to apply to nonprofit work, but also are encouraged to start their own social ventures with 40-page business plans detailing their visions for social change. The students who write the best plans are offered scholarships via the Kenan Social Engagement Program, which provides start-up funding for ventures aimed at making the world a better place.

Past recipients by year are as follows:

CE Research Award: David Devraj Kumar
CE Service Award: Patricia Gustafsson
CE Teaching Award: Precious Skinner-Osei
2020:CE Research Award: Cheryl A. Krause-Parello
CE Service Award: Melanie M. Acosta
CE Teaching Award: Jacqueline H. Fewkes

CE Research Award: Seth Fallik
CE Service Award: Rhonda Goodman
CE Teaching Award: Mara Schiff

CE Research Award: Cassandra Atkin-Plunk
CE Service Award:  Sameer Hinduja
CE Teaching Award:  Frederick Bloetscher

CE Research Award:  Jeanette Wyneken
CE Service Award: Adam Dobrin
CE Teaching: Rhonda Goodman

 Last Modified 10/23/23