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NMSU seeks nominees for faculty and staff Community Engagement Awards

New Mexico State University will present its second-annual Faculty and Staff Community Engagement Awards in January, and nominations are currently being accepted for the honor. The award is open to NMSU’s community college campuses throughout the state, as well as the Las Cruces campus.

Three women leaning over working in a field
Lois Stanford, left, associate professor of anthropology at NMSU, is the recipient of the 2016 Community Engagement Faculty Award. Stanford serves communities of southern New Mexico as president of the board of directors for La Semilla Food Center, and the partnership has been designated an “exemplary awardee” by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities during its selection process for the 2016 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award. Stanford is pictured here with La Semilla staff member Rebecca Munoz, middle, and Olga Pedroza, a Las Cruces council representative and La Semilla board member. (Courtesy photo)
Man presenting woman with an award
New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, left, presents Denise Rodriguez-Strawn with the 2106 Staff Community Engagement Award. (NMSU Photo)

The Community Engagement Awards were established to recognize individuals and groups across the NMSU system who have rendered exceptional engagement to the broader local, regional, state, national or global community.

During a recent self-study for NMSU’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification application, many stories of the exceptional work faculty and staff conduct in their community came to light. To recognize this work, the NMSU Foundation, in collaboration with NMSU’s Community Engagement Council, has established individual awards recognizing the work of faculty and staff throughout the NMSU system.

The Community Engagement Awards are conferred annually at spring convocation, with a prize of $500 to the winning staff application and $500 to the winning faculty application, funded by the NMSU Foundation.

NMSU Foundation President Andrea Tawney said the Foundation’s board felt so strongly about the importance of recognizing community engagement, they voted unanimously last year to establish the endowment.

“Our board shows a tremendous commitment to investing in programs at NMSU that not only support our students, but have an impact on the community we live in and our entire state,” Tawney said.

NMSU Vice President for Economic Development Kevin Boberg said the momentum created by the Carnegie announcement has continued to grow throughout the university system. Boberg and Cooperative Extension Service Director Jon Boren co-chair the university’s Community Engagement Council.

“We really want this award to grow over the years,” Boberg said. “It’s an important way to recognize all of the relationships and partnerships that our faculty, staff and students create with our community, and the ways those partnerships benefit everyone involved.”

Applications are being accepted now through Wednesday, Nov. 23, and more details about the criteria can be found at https://engagement.nmsu.edu/faculty-and-staff-community-engagement-award/.

The 2016 Community Engagement Faculty Award went to Lois Stanford, an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the 2016 Community Engagement Staff Award was awarded to Denise Rodriguez-Strawn, director of Service Learning for Educational Distinction, or SLED, in the College of Education.

The winner of the faculty Distinguished Community Engagement Award will be considered to represent NMSU for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, a national award presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

As the 2016 Community Engagement Faculty Award winner, Stanford was chosen to represent NMSU as a candidate for the Magrath Award for her work with La Semilla Food Center, a non-profit organization founded by some of her former students. Stanford’s work with La Semilla became the basis for NMSU’s recognition as one of five schools that were designated in the inaugural class of “exemplary awardees” by the APLU during its selection process for the 2016 Magrath Award.

NMSU is one of 361 colleges and universities nationwide – and the only one in New Mexico – to carry the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, and one of 47 public institutions receiving it for the first time in 2015.