2018 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards
During the Spring 2018 Faculty Honors Convocation, two Texas Tech faculty members were honored with the President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award. Sponsored by the Offices of the President, Provost, and University Outreach and Engagement, this new internal awards program recognizes individual faculty and teams of faculty who demonstrate exemplary and sustained commitment to engagement with community partners in their teaching, research/creative activity, or service.
Upper Llano River Watershed Protection Plan
Dr. Tom Arsuffi, Director of the Llano River Field Station, was honored for his engagement with numerous public and private partners for the protection of the watershed in the Texas Hill Country. His partners include county judges, the Llano River Watershed Alliance, Hill Country Alliance, Texas Public Radio, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Agrilife, landowners, ranchers, school districts, and more. "Engagement is something I always thought was really important as a mission for the field station," says Tom. "I thought it was really critical that the research we do has applied applications. That it's meaningful to the public, the ranchers, the locals, the agencies, and so forth." Tom's engagement has resulted in the creation of the Upper Llano River Watershed Protection Plan (ULWPP) which was formally accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 and now represents a strategic systems approach to conserving healthy watersheds in a five county area of 50,000 people. ULWPP project funding has directly engaged more than 25,000 students and citizens through workshops, outreach, and active involvement in design and implementation.
Since ULWWP, the Llano River Field Station has produced and facilitated twelve publications, three dissertations, two postdocs, ten masters, and provided numerous invited talks at professional scientific/education conferences, public presentations, and Texas Public Radio Water Symposiums reaching tens of thousands of people. The City of Junction also provided funding for a $137K laboratory.
Transitioning Veterans' Service Delivery
Col. Dave Lewis, Director of the Institute for Peace and Conflict in the Department of Political Sciences, was honored for his work in transitioning veterans' service delivery. His community partners include StarCare Specialty Health Systems, Lubbock County Detention Center, Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, Lubbock County Office of Dispute Resolution, Lubbock Police Department, and the South Plains Homeless Consortium. These partnerships have enabled over 4,000 military veterans in the Texas South Plains and Panhandle regions to gain access to resources during their transition from military to civilian life. Dave notes, "The community and university impact has been significant. Over 250 homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, veterans and their families have been housed within a thirty county area. Over 2,000 justice involved veterans were identified and approximately 700 were approached for services through a 20 county area."
The program has provided practical training to TTU undergraduate and graduate social work students. It has also resulted in the creation of the FASTRR (FIND, ASSESS, STABILIZE, TREAT, REASSESS & REINTEGRATE) service delivery strategy. The model is now nationally recognized and has been briefed to the U.S. Congress House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The creation of a Veterans Studies Certificate program in Political Sciences is bringing additional culturally-competent mental health and social workers to the workforce as society continues to face challenges for transitioning veterans into our communities. Finally, this project has resulted in a partnership with TTUHSC for clinical research in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury that has the potential to significantly alter mental health treatment for veterans.