Dr. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson named Engaged Faculty Scholar by NC Campus Compact

This month two faculty members in the North Carolina Campus Compact network will begin one-year terms as Engaged Faculty Scholars. Dr. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson of Duke University and Dr. Rebecca Dumlao of East Carolina University (ECU) are the fourth pair of NC faculty members selected for the role, which was created in 2015.

Ahern-Dodson and Dumlao will receive support from the Compact and from their respective institutions as they undertake a project designed to deepen the scholarship of campus-community engagement at their school. They will also serve as consultants to another North Carolina college or university seeking to enhance community-engaged teaching.

“Faculty who have a track-record of successful service-learning and community-based scholarship make great ambassadors for this work,” says Leslie Garvin, executive director of North Carolina Campus Compact. “This program provides support for faculty members to advance their own projects, and we leverage their expertise to strengthen our network.”

At Duke, Ahern-Dodson is an assistant professor of the practice in writing studies. In her research, she studies how the concept of community shapes writers’ lives and practices. Through her work, she seeks to cultivate communities that are not only supportive to writers, but that also promote rigor, creativity, critical reflection, and civic engagement.

Her past efforts have included contributing to interdisciplinary initiatives focused on public scholarship and community engagement at Duke, serving as a faculty consultant and community partnership liaison for the Service-Learning Program, and teaching a range of community engaged courses on the Duke-Durham Neighborhood partnership, student activism, student self-authorship, and literacy.

As an Engaged Faculty Scholar in the coming academic year, Ahern-Dodson will work to develop a faculty writing network in order to support community-engaged scholarship at Duke. The project will include a scholarly writing retreat that will be open to faculty from other colleges and universities in the Triangle, as well as writing groups and a publication workshop. The project will be designed to help faculty reflect on and share community-engaged learning and research.

In her proposal, Ahern-Dodson explains the need for such connection among engaged scholars:

Community often runs counter to the concept of the academy, which typically positions writers in isolation (scribbling alone in the attic) and often creates sharp distinctions between scholarly writing and teaching. For publicly engaged faculty, this can be particularly challenging because teaching, research, and service are not so easily divided. We seek, instead, to integrate these dimensions of our work.

Ahern-Dodson’s project will also advance Duke’s Civic Action Plan, which outlines five priorities, including efforts that “encourage and support faculty and staff involvement in civic engagement.”

Joining Ahern-Dodson as a 2018-2019 Engaged Faculty Scholar is Dr. Rebecca Dumlao, professor in the School of Communication at ECU. Dumlao’s forthcoming book — A Guide to Collaborative Communication for Service-Learning and Community Engagement Partners — will apply communication scholarship to the field of community engagement. For her Engaged Faculty Scholar project, Dumlao will develop a semester-long, graduate level course, “Health Communication and Community Engagement.” Communication students will work collaboratively with community partners to address a community health-related issue, and Dumlao expects the course to serve as a model for integrating such experiences into graduate-level courses.

Engaged Faculty Scholars receive a stipend of $1500 and additional funds for professional development. The scholar’s institution is encouraged to provide a match of cash, course release, or other resources.

North Carolina Campus Compact is a collaborative network of colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. Started in 2002 and hosted by Elon University, the network includes 37 public, private, and community colleges and universities and is an affiliate of the national Campus Compact organization.


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