Community Engagement News

The year’s highlights include the release of a Faculty Learning Community book on experiential learning and Provost Murray’s appointment of 11 community partners to Barry’s Community Advisory Committee.

Community Engagement

May 09, 2022. 5 min read

Community Engagement Community Engagement News May 9, 2022

Community Engagement Symposium and Awards Highlight ‘Challenging’ Academic Year

Students’ advocacy and activism efforts contribute to success

Kaitlyn Gallagher

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) member Kaitlyn Gallagher reaps the fruit of her labor in the Barry Urban Garden (BUG) on Founders’ Day of Service. Gallagher, who coordinates BUG maintenance, is completing a two-and-a-half-year assignment as a VISTA member at Barry.

Two major events—the eighth annual symposium and ninth annual awards—highlight a “challenging” academic year in community engagement at Barry.

Other highlights include students’ advocacy and activism efforts, days of service, and scholarly productivity by faculty members. Members of the Faculty Learning Community for Engaged Scholarship (FLC) celebrated the publication of their book on experiential learning.

“Although Barry students, faculty, and staff members demonstrated resilience and optimism in the face of COVID-19, it was still a challenging year,” said Dr. Glenn Bowen, executive director of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI). “We were forced to scale down some programs and events while canceling others. And the situation took its toll on the Barry Service Corps, causing the number of participants to dwindle.”

The academic year’s Deliberative Dialogue Series, “Fostering Resiliency in Times of Uncertainty,” was cancelled. So, too, was Alternative Spring Break (ASB), a planned immersion experience promoted as “A Journey for Racial Justice” in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Nevertheless,” Bowen said, “some successes were achieved, and we had good reason to celebrate as the semester was winding down.”

Community Engagement Symposium

Drs. John Saltmarsh, Melissa Quan, Tim Eatman, and April Khadijah Inniss.

The symposium’s featured presenters were, L–R, Drs. John Saltmarsh, Melissa Quan, Tim Eatman, and April Khadijah Inniss.

The Eighth Annual Community Engagement Symposium, a virtual event on March 30, was organized around the theme “Effectively Balancing Community Impact with Student Learning Outcomes.”

Community partners, students, and faculty members indicated the impact of their collaborative work as they made presentations during concurrent sessions of the symposium. Collaborative projects addressed such topics as food security, population health, financial literacy, refugee resettlement, and human rights.

Dr. John Saltmarsh, professor of higher education at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Dr. Melissa Quan, director of the Center for Social Impact at Fairfield University, led a workshop that preceded the concurrent sessions. The workshop engaged participants in discussing “Epistemic Justice in Practice: Implications for Community Partnerships and Student Learning.”

The fourth and final session of the symposium featured a presentation by Saltmarsh; Dr. April Khadijah Inniss, director of community-engaged research at King Boston; and Dr. Timothy Eatman, dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community at Rutgers University–Newark. Their special presentation was titled “Orienting Campus–Community Engagement Towards Reparations.”

Barry’s provost, Dr. John Murray, welcomed symposium participants as he delivered remarks during the opening session. Dr. Phyllis Scott, director of Barry’s Antiracism and Equity Coalition, spoke at the start of the final session; and Dr. Karen Callaghan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, gave the closing remarks.

Community Engagement Awards

Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards

Major awards were presented for Community Impact, Community-Engaged Scholarship, and Community Partnership.

Two students, three faculty members, and two community partners received this year’s major awards for community engagement. And Barry’s Facilities Management department was recognized for its support of community engagement over the years. The CCSI hosted Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Awards on April 12.

Amanda Gonzalez Garcia, a Barry Service Corps member, and Joseph Minani, a former Barry Service Corps Fellow, received the Community Impact Award for exemplary civic engagement that had “a considerable impact on the community.”

The Community-Engaged Scholarship Award was won by Dr. Heidi Whitford, an associate professor in the School of Education, and jointly by Dr. Sean Foreman, a professor of political science, and Dr. Jalane Meloun, a professor in the School of Education.

Hubert O. Sibley K–8 Academy and South Florida People of Color were the recipients of the Community Partnership Award in recognition of “commendable collaboration with the university that has contributed to measurable improvements in people’s lives while enhancing higher education.”

Gonzalez Garcia was named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, the national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education. A first-generation college student majoring in criminology as well as biomedical and forensic photography, she is one of 173 student civic leaders recognized this year for their commitment to solving public problems and creating positive change.

Community Engagement Awards

Barry Service Corps Fellow Maria Stampolkou won first prize in this year’s Community Engagement Poster Competition. The posters were exhibited in the Salvaneschi Commons, Thompson Hall.

During the Community Engagement Awards Ceremony, prizes won in this year’s Community Engagement Poster Competition for undergraduates were presented. Maria Stampolkou received the first prize for her entry titled “Supporting Broward County Children in Foster Care by Securing Resources to Improve Stability and Well-Being.” Skylar Smith received the second prize and Amanda Gonzalez Garcia the third prize.

Advocacy and Activism

Students’ advocacy and activism efforts contributed to the success achieved in community engagement this year. For example, students taking Dr. Katherine Nelson’s COM 201, Communication for Social Change, focused their advocacy projects on food security, environmental preservation, youth development, and care for homeless persons. They posted images and related messages on Instagram, supporting the work of such community partners as Breakthrough Miami, Bread for the World, and Florida Rising.

Meanwhile, students and faculty members in the School of Education concentrated their efforts on support for recently resettled refugees from war-torn Afghanistan. The civically engaged students included those taking Dr. Heather Johnson Desiral’s TSL 400, a language-related education course, who went to Doral to assist Afghani family members.

On February 28, some students, faculty, and staff members showed solidarity with Miami-Dade County residents by gathering with a representative number of them for Miami PACT’s Nehemiah Action Assembly. High on the agenda were the reportedly routine suspension of the driver’s licenses of county residents and the lack of tree canopy in low-income areas. The Barry participants saw advocacy at work as PACT members brought the issues to the attention of local legislators and other elected officials attending the assembly.

Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Awards

Some students addressed food security by taking part in advocacy projects; others supported recently resettled refugees from Afghanistan. Groups of students also rallied in support of “fair food.”

On November 20 in North Miami, a group of students rallied in support of “fair food”—a campaign led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and supported by the Student/Farmworker Alliance. The placard-bearing students protested the refusal of The Wendy's Company to participate in the Fair Food Program.

On April 2 in Palm Beach, another group of students, along with staff members, took to the streets as part of the CIW-organized “March to End Modern-Day Slavery in the Fields.” The Barry group was among an estimated 800 people representing worker and faith organizations, higher education institutions, and community groups who also gathered in Bradley Park for a protest targeting Wendy’s, whose chairman lives in Palm Beach. They demanded that he help to end “modern-day slavery” by having his company join the Fair Food Program.


Students taking designated service-learning and other community-engaged courses during the spring semester provided nearly 2,000 hours of service—approximately 300 hours more than in the fall semester. Some students completed their service in the Barry Urban Garden (BUG), an initiative that benefits the wider community.

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) member Kaitlyn Gallagher facilitated the service-learning/civic engagement module on food security, an element of which involves BUG-related work. Gallagher is completing a two-and-a-half-year term as a VISTA member at Barry.

Meanwhile, Yvonne Goodridge, an assistant professor of dance in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. George Vera, an associate professor of counseling in the School of Education, completed Service-Learning Faculty Fellowships awarded by the CCSI.

Days of Service

The major days of service were International Coastal Cleanup Day, Founders’ Day of Service; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service; and Sustainability Saturday.

As part of an International Coastal Cleanup project on September 18, Barry volunteers logged 130 hours of service, picking up more than 900 items of trash at Virginia Key Beach in Miami.

Dozens of students turned out on Founders’ Day of Service, November 6, to advance Barry’s commitment to community engagement. The students made a difference in the community near campus, where they engaged in various projects designed to improve physical and social spaces. Together with administrators, staff members, and alumni, the students rendered service at the Hubert O. Sibley K–8 Academy, the Cristo Rey School site, Stanton Memorial Baptist Church, and Shoreside Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Two groups served on campus. One group did various tasks in the Barry Urban Garden. The other created an online campaign supporting the work of Housing Opportunities Projects for Excellence (HOPE), Inc. by raising awareness of housing discrimination.

University President Dr. Mike Allen, who participated in the opening ceremony, thanked students for getting up early and turning out in large numbers.

Days of Service

As part of an International Coastal Cleanup project, Barry volunteers picked up more than 900 items of trash at Virginia Key Beach.

Days of Service
Days of Service
Days of Service
Days of Service

On Founders’ Day of Service, students and faculty/staff members made a difference in the community near campus, where they engaged in various projects designed to improve physical and social spaces.

In addition, over 350 volunteers packed 40,000 meals in just 4 hours on November 8—also during Founders’ Week—in the main campus gymnasium. Most of the meals were sent to Haiti, with some going to food-insecure Miami area neighborhoods.

On Barry’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, January 15, students and other volunteers considered the importance of “Taking the First Steps Towards Justice.” Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was a scaled-down day of service. Volunteers lent a hand with various tasks in the Barry Urban Garden, picked up litter from the sidewalks and verges in La Paloma, and assisted Cristo Rey Miami High School with promotion and recruitment.

On Sustainability Saturday—the last day of Barry’s Earth Week in April—a small student group removed invasive species, including the Australian Pine, from Matheson Hammock Park near Coral Gables.

Another noteworthy service project was the inspection, sorting, and packing of 20,000 pounds of food items at the Feeding South Florida warehouse in Pembroke Park, Broward County. For a few hours on an October day, a 34-member group from Barry did those tasks, which translated into approximately 18,500 meals for people experiencing food insecurity across the region.

Publications and Presentations

President Allen, Provost Murray, and other university leaders joined faculty members on October 28 to celebrate the publication of “Experiential Learning in Higher Education.” The book’s editors and authors are members of the Faculty Learning Community for Engaged Scholarship.

Dr. Allen praised the publication as “impressive.” And Dr. Murray called it “awesome,” adding that it was the kind of work he looked forward to seeing from Barry’s faculty members.

“Implementing an Experiential Learning Program Focused on Civic Leadership to Produce Social Justice Outcomes,” an article by Glenn A. Bowen and Courtney A. Berrien of the CCSI, was published in Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: A Journal for Engaged Educators.

Several Barry faculty members contributed to Volume 9, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IJRSLCE). The issue includes an introduction coauthored (with Jessica Mann of Duquesne University) by Glenn A. Bowen (CCSI); book reviews by Stephanie Bingham (Biology) and Laura L. Finley (Sociology and Criminology); and English-to-Spanish translation of abstracts by Yamilet Hernandez and Beatriz Calvo-Peña (English and Foreign Languages).

Experiential Learning in Higher Education
Educating for Democracy
Called Together 2022 Annual Meeting

Faculty Learning Community members edited and coauthored chapters of a volume on experiential learning in higher education. Also, Barry faculty members were among presenters at conferences in the nation’s capital and elsewhere.

Dale Hartz (School of Business) and Katsiaryna Matusevich (School of Education) were among the presenters at the Engagement Scholarship Consortium International Conference on September 13. And Glenn Bowen (CCSI)—representing IJRSLCE—participated in the Journal Editors Panel at that conference the following day.

Bowen was the lead presenter of a virtual session of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Meeting on January 20. The session title was “Responding to Sociopolitical and Racial Challenges Facing American Society Through Democratic and Antiracism Initiatives.” Additionally, Bowen was a facilitator of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities’ (ACCU) Community Engaged Scholar–Practitioners Conference on February 5 in Washington, D.C.

Community Partnerships

Barry University’s provost, Dr. John Murray, appointed 11 community partners to the Community Advisory Committee. T. Nikki Watkins, associate executive director of MCCJ, was appointed chair and Florence French Fagan, Florida state organizer of Bread for the World, vice chair of the committee.

The CCSI registered Cristo Rey Miami High School and LAORA—Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency as Barry community partners.

Community partners attending a professional development workshop on November 18 learned about logical models from a social work faculty member. Dr. Eva Nowakowski-Sims, an associate professor, presented logic models as an effective approach to program evaluation.

Some Spring Semester Community Engagement Highlights: A Pictorial Report

Spring Highlights
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Spring Highlights
Spring Highlights
Spring Highlights

Barry’s Voter Friendly Campus Action Plan to be Submitted This Month

Campus Democracy Project
Voter Friendly Campus

As Barry seeks the Voter Friendly Campus (VFC) designation for the second time, an action plan will be submitted to the administrators this month.

The action plan is based on a guide titled “Strengthening American Democracy,” designed to assist higher education institutions in their efforts to increase students’ civic learning, political engagement, and voting rates. Published by the Student Learn Students Vote Coalition, the guide outlines the action planning process and related principles, and it contains a self-assessment rubric.

The submission as well as the eventual implementation of the action plan is part of Barry’s Campus Democracy Project (CDP). After the plan is evaluated by the VFC administrators, the CDP Committee will accelerate the promotion of voter registration and actual voting.

Barry is one of only 15 higher education institutions in Florida that received the 2021–2022 VFC designation. The designation remains valid until December.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami Award Scholarships to ‘Littles’ Who Choose Barry

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami Award Scholarships

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami (BBBS Miami) is offering 10 scholarships to prospective students who are participating in its School to Work Program. 

BBBS Miami President and CEO Gayle Nelson made the announcement at Barry recently, declaring, “The B in Barry just got bigger!”

Barry is a partner with BBBS Miami, and the university’s Miami Shores campus is a site for the School to Work Program. “Littles” who take part in the program and decide to attend Barry will be eligible for the scholarships.

University President Dr. Mike Allen thanked Nelson for the commitment of scholarships.

We have moved

The offices of the Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI) are now located on the second floor of Thompson Hall. The main office is Thompson 211.

Phone: 305-899-3696| Email:

Community Engagement News

Community Engagement News will take a summer hiatus. This is the final issue for the 2021–2022 academic year. The next issue of this newsletter is scheduled for August 22, 2022.

Community Engagement News is a publication of the Center for Community Service Initiatives.

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