2016 Distinguished Community Engagement Award

2016 Recipients

Dr. Robin Evans-Agnew, Assistant Professor, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership

Dr. Evans-Agnew has built diverse and innovative partnerships to address the harmful effects of woodsmoke and indoor-air pollution. He has engaged community members, grassroots organizations, public health professionals and UW Tacoma and local high school students in meaningful and impactful ways.

His work has included partnering with Tacoma Pierce County Health Department to engage diverse adolescents in an innovative citizen-science project to collect air samples in their homes. He also has established a new partnership with Mexican-American mothers who have children with asthma, leading both to a new working relationship between these mothers and the Asia-Pacific Cultural Center and to a new tool for childcare centers to assess environmental risks for asthma. The impacts of his work range from this tool being adopted by the King County Health Department Childcare Initiative Pilot, funding to support these projects, student participatory research opportunities, community capacity building, as well as scholarly journal articles.

The 2016 Community Engagement Award Committee commends Dr. Evans-Agnew for his deep commitment to environmental and social justice, and in particular for the way his role as a faculty member at UW Tacoma has brought diverse populations together for public good.

Dr. Charles Emlet, Professor, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Dr. Emlet has spent over 15 years working with the Puyallup Area Aging-in-Community Committee to help make the city of Puyallup more age-friendly.

What began with Dr. Emlet as a founding member of a task force assessing Puyallup’s age-friendliness—one of 10 cities in the U.S. selected for this project—developed into community-engagement and participatory research with multiple outcomes, including the transformation of that early task force into a sustained educational and advocacy group. Dr. Emlet remains a key member of these efforts with impacts including the production of qualitative data about aging in place, policy reports to Puyallup City Government, peer-reviewed scholarly publications, the development of a successful annual volunteer fair, multi-organization educational forums, and notably, with student research, initiation of an elder-friendly business certification program.

The 2016 Community Engagement Award Committee commends Dr. Emlet for this sustained work, the multiple outcomes in our region, and his efforts to expand the impact of community-engagement here through recommendations that were forwarded to the White House and the recent successful application for Washington’s first WHO/AARP age-friendly community designation.

Dr. Jim Gawel, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Dr. Gawel has devoted himself and his faculty position to creating connections and building pathways for students in local communities to move into careers in the sciences. He has done this by building a pipeline for student access to the sciences through public engagement and education, and through creating higher education/K-14 partnerships.

Highlights include sustained workshops and partnerships with community college faculty; launching the South Sound Sustainability Expo, which is now a showpiece for the City of Tacoma’s Office of Sustainability; working with Tacoma high school students on scientific research projects; and long-standing work with middle school students to interest them in science and scientific inquiry.  This work has resulted not only in foundation funding, a film festival, and numerous student presentations, but also in the generation of interest in scientific work by students of all ages.  This is most evident in current UW Tacoma students who first worked with Dr. Gawel in middle school!

The 2016 Community Engagement Award Committee commends Dr. Gawel for his sustained commitment to social change through teaching and research.

2016 Nominees

Dr. Charles Emlet, Professor, Social Work & Criminal Justice
Dr. Robin Evans-Agnew, Assistant Professor, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership
Dr. Jim Gawel, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Dr. Michael Honey, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Dr. Stephen Ross, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences
Dr. Christine Stevens, Associate Professor, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership