For Immediate Release: June 18, 2013
Providence College Professor Receives Prestigious National Award for Civic Engagement
Providence, R.I. – Dr. Richard Battistoni, professor of political science and public and community service studies, and director of the Feinstein Institute for Public Service at Providence College, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, an annual award given by the National Campus Compact, to one faculty member who exemplifies its ideal of an "engaged faculty." (The amount of the award is $2,000.)
Battistoni was nominated by Dr. Sherril B. Gelmon, professor of public health at Portland State University and an Ehrlich award recipient herself. The two of them have worked closely on national Campus Compact projects, including leading Engaged Department Institutes across the country. In her nomination letter, Gelmon said Battistoni “defines what it means to produce deeply engaged, high-quality academic work.”
The academics, community members, and former students quoted in the letter noted his leadership in developing the public and community service major at PC in the mid-1990s, his work on civic education for high school students, and his innovative ideas on using service learning to teach students and faculty about their roles in fostering the civic life of their own democracy. For example, through Battistoni’s coordination of Project 540, thousands of high school students identified civic problems that affected their lives and created action plans to address them.
Battistoni has been teaching at PC since 1994. A native of Bakersfield, California, he earned his doctorate at Rutgers University in 1982. As a professor at Baylor University, he began incorporating a major civic or community engagement component, such as a significant community-based service or research project, a community organizing effort, or a civic action or reflection commitment, into his courses. Battistoni has continued to do so for every class he has taught since 1989. He is the author or co-author of a number of publications, including Public Schooling and the Education of Democratic Citizens (University Press of Mississippi, 1985).
The Ehrlich award is named for a former board chairman of Campus Compact and the president emeritus of Indiana University. It recognizes a senior faculty member for “exemplary engaged scholarship, including leadership in advancing students’ civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal community partnerships, building institutional commitments to service-learning and civic engagement, and other means of enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.”