Texas Tech University

2021 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards

The Offices of the President, Provost, and Associate Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement are pleased to announce the Recipients of the 2021 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards. This annual awards program recognizes individual Texas Tech faculty and teams of faculty from all disciplines who demonstrate exemplary and sustained commitment to mutually beneficial engagement with community partners. Recognized faculty apply their teaching, research, or creative activity to address a significant community need or larger social issue, trying to find solutions that may improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities.

The three President's Engaged Scholarship Awards include:

• President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award
• President's Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award
• President's Exemplary Program Award

The following are descriptions of each winning project: 


The President's Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes TTU faculty for a longer-term project or initiative that demonstrates a significant and sustained commitment to addressing a community need or larger social issue through active collaboration with community partners. It carries a monetary prize of $2,000 and recognizes up to two faculty-led engaged scholarship projects or initiatives.


1. "A University-to-District Partnership in Leadership Preparation: The Co-Construction of the Texas Tech University Principal Fellows Residency Program"


Historically, community schools have struggled to effectively serve the changing demographic, including Latinx and Black student populations. To address systemic issues voiced by local school districts, the Texas Tech University Principal Fellows Residency Program began with a partnership between Lubbock ISD and the College of Education Leadership Faculty to impact an equity and social-justice-driven principal preparation pipeline in education, and produce a diverse pool of job-ready aspiring leaders to mirror the growing Latinx and Black demographics of the Lubbock ISD. Together, Lubbock ISD leaders and TTU Faculty visited and examined nationally recognized programs and Wallace Foundation research to create a plan to replicate a national model in the context of both Lubbock and the Texas school systems.

The pilot residency partnership included a joint selection of three highly effective diverse teachers. They began a 15-month job-embedded journey to learn as resident interns from mentor principals and TTU Educational Leadership faculty coaches, to grow struggling teachers and at-risk students in real-time using "just in time" curriculum filled with teacher and student data. The innovative job-embedded curriculum for principal residence training was developed with context-specific explicit competency-based feedback, shaped through instructional coaching and the use of both face-to-face presence and video capture to innovatively train principals in real-time.

The Principal Fellows Residency Program has grown into a university-to-district alliance between TTU Educational Leadership Program Faculty and school district leaders and partners who support the preparation of highly effective teachers for a school leader career (i.e., Assistant Principal or Principal) in partnership districts. Faculty have worked diligently with local, state, and state-border districts to build partnerships that improve educational equity and student outcomes. The eight-year collaboration has graduated 80 Principals in Residence and continues to grow strong. It builds the next generation of instructional leaders for the partnering districts through leadership competencies, job-embedded skill development, investment in human capital, and national and state standards. The reciprocity moves beyond degree and certification completers for TTU, and residents now serve as instructional coaches, assistant principals, principals, and in Texas Education Agency leadership roles in state and local communities. They lead the learning of others; they impact the knowledge, skills, and mindset of teachers and students by applying the equity frameworks and job-embedded social justice skills they learned in the Fellows Residency program to lead school improvement efforts.

Award Winners: 

  • Dr. Fernando Valle, Professor, Interim Special Education Department Chair, Department of Educational Psychology, Leadership, & Counseling, TTU College of Education
  • Dr. Irma Almager, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership, TTU College of Education
  • Dr. Vanessa de Leon, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership, TTU College of Education
  • Dr. Dusty Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership, TTU College of Education
  • Dr. Selenda Cumby, Instructor, Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership, TTU College of Education

Community Partners: 

  • Lubbock ISD 
  • Grand Prairie ISD

2. "West Texas 3D COVID-19 Consortium: Community Engagement to Combat a Global Pandemic"


Faculty, staff, and students from Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) formed the West Texas 3D COVID Relief Consortium (WT3D) to develop a supply chain to design, manufacture, assemble, and deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical devices to frontline workers across West Texas. Partnerships with surrounding hospitals, referral centers, nursing facilities, state hospitals, and other frontline facilities were formed to determine needs. In addition, partnerships with local manufacturing companies were formed to meet these needs, and a partnership with Angel Flight enabled the delivery of much-needed medical materials.

The WT3D provided the West Texas community with over 16,000 face shields, 250 intubation chambers, and 10,000 ear savers/guards with 76 hospitals receiving face shields, intubation chambers, and ear savers from WT3D. Other facilities with medical needs, including 25 referral centers, 50 nursing facilities, and 3 state hospitals also received PPE. Deliveries of PPE were made to first responders, the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and Arizona, VA Healthcare Centers, and clinics in Amarillo, Lubbock, and Big Spring. Surrounding Dental and Vision Centers, and 27 area correctional centers also received equipment. Approximately 5,000 face shields have been used for Texas Tech faculty and staff. The assembly of much of the PPE was done by student volunteers. While providing this valuable service, students have been educated in manufacturing processes, project management, and process planning. They have also been given ownership of the assembly process and optimized production while maintaining safety in operations. These students have become real-world problem solvers.

Furthermore, the research arm of WT3D generated and exchanged knowledge with network partners regarding item sterilization and reuse, face mask material effectiveness, and respirator fitting, which has also been shared with the community. The PPE combined with a commitment to research, innovation, and education has provided a means for West Texas to navigate the pandemic safely. The collaborations and networks that have been formed with the community have also been extended within the TTU system. Over seven separate colleges and schools within TTU and TTUHSC have been involved and collaborated in this work. Other entities, such as Athletics, Outreach and Engagement, and Research and Innovation, have also contributed. These collaborations have impacted the strength and togetherness of the TTU community in a desperate time and have led to practical solutions to abate the coronavirus while advancing engaged scholarship.

Award Winners:

  • John Carrell, Honors College
  • Aliza Wong, Honors College
  • Al Sacco, Whitacre College of Engineering (WCOE)
  • Bryan Norman, WCOE
  • Jnev Biros, WCOE
  • Chanaka Senanayake, WCOE
  • Nurcan Bac, WCOE
  • Joseph Dannemiller, WCOE
  • George Tan, WCOE
  • Changxue Xu, WCOE
  • Weilong Cong, WCOE
  • Paul Egan, WCOE
  • Roy Mullins, WCOE
  • Chase George, WCOE
  • Jeff Hanson, WCOE
  • Burak Aksak, WCOE
  • Siva Parameswaran, WCOE
  • Gordon Christopher, WCOE
  • Rumeysa Tekin, WCOE
  • Juliusz Warzywoda, WCOE
  • Richard Gale, WCOE
  • Derek Johnston, WCOE 
  • Turgut Baturalp, WCOE
  • Ronda Ingle, WCOE 
  • Rumeysa Tekin, WCOE
  • Juliusz Warzywoda, WCOE
  • Richard Gale, WCOE
  • Derek Johnston, WCOE
  • Turgut Baturalp, WCOE
  • Ronda Ingle, WCOE
  • Louisa Hope-Weeks, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Ersela Kripa, College of Architecture (CoA)
  • Catherine Soderberg, CoA
  • Brendan Shea, CoA
  • Noemi Despland-Lichtert, CoA
  • Jeremy Wahlberg, CoA
  • Victoria McReynolds, CoA
  • Sarah Aziz, CoA
  • Jeff Hoover, CoA
  • Peggy Jones, Office of the CIO 
  • Eric Gillette, Office of the CIO
  • Rebecca Massey, Office of the CIO
  • Ryan Cassidy, University Libraries
  • Sean Scully, University Libraries
  • Jim Williamson, College of Architecture (COA)
  • Stephen Mueller, COA
  • Jon Thompson, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Bryson Seekins, Arts and Sciences
  • Robert Duncan, Arts and Sciences
  • Trevor Dardik, Arts and Sciences
  • Karin Ardon-Dryer, Arts and Sciences
  • Sharran Parkinson, College of Human Sciences
  • Su Hwang, Human Sciences
  • Mark Charney, J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)
  • Mallory Prucha, CVPA
  • Katherine Davis, CVPA
  • Matt Roe, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Kevin Fehr, TTU Innovation Hub
  • Joseph Heppert, Office of Research and Innovation (ORI)
  • David Dorsett, ORI

Students Involved:

  • Ana Garcia, College of Architecture (CoA) 
  • Ladon Wade, CoA  
  • Toni Huerta, CoA 
  • Mohamed Rezk, CoA 
  • Jerod Booth, CoA in El Paso
  • Robert Kovenburg, College of Engineering
  • Wooyoung Jang, Honors College
  • Aric Denton, Honors College
  • Ahmad Altabaa, Honors College
  • Alejandro Gutierrez, Engineering
  • Alex Graf, Engineering
  • Alyson Willis, Engineering
  • Anissa Guerra, Engineering
  • Blake Perez, Engineering
  • Brittany Tu, Honors College
  • Bryson Seekins, Honors College
  • Calahan Chandler, Honors College
  • Chandler Calahan, Engineering
  • Chase George, Honors College
  • DongZhe Zhang, Engineering
  • Dylan Straw, Engineering
  • Elizabeth Antohi, Engineering
  • Emily Fedynich, Engineering
  • Emma Lessing, Honors College
  • Emma Martinez, Engineering
  • Ethan Weeks, Engineering
  • Fawwaz Shoukfeh, Honors College
  • Genesy Aickereth, Honors College
  • Hans Hudyncia, Engineering
  • Hui Wang, Engineering
  • Jacob Reed, Engineering
  • Jad Zeitouni, Honors College
  • Luca D'Amico-Wong, Honors College
  • Madison Hanson, Engineering
  • Marshall Mays, Engineering
  • Mary Vancura, Engineering
  • Mazen Nachawati, Engineering
  • Mohamad Altabaa, Honors College
  • Neil Patel, Honors College
  • Noura Shoukfeh, Honors College
  • Preston Abadie, Engineering
  • Pritom Mondal, Engineering
  • Reagan Collins, Honors College
  • Regan Elder, Engineering
  • Robert Gomez, Engineering
  • Robert Kovenburg, Engineering
  • Sam Christensen, Engineering
  • Sarah McLean, Engineering
  • Tyler Allen, Engineering
  • Yunze Li, Engineering

Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Partners:

  • Cody Perry, TTUHSC
  • Connor Barry, TTUHSC
  • Cyndy Morris, TTUHSC
  • Cynthia Jumper, TTUHSC
  • Ebtesam Islam, TTUHSC
  • Jennifer Nanz, TTUHSC
  • Kelly Podzemny, TTUHSC
  • Kevin Bass, TTUHSC
  • Kristy Melcher, TTUHSC
  • Max Pourghaed, TTUHSC
  • Mimi Zumwalt, TTUHSC
  • Min Kang, TTUHSC
  • Sarah Looten, TTUHSC
  • Sharmila Dissanaike, TTUHSC
  • Simon Williams, TTUHSC
  • Stephen Rossettie, TTUHSC
  • Suzanna Cisneros, TTUHSC
  • T Kasemsri, TTUHSC
  • Catherine Hudson, TTUHSC
  • Debra Curti, TTUHSC
  • Theresa Byrd, TTUHSC

Community Partners:

  • Mark Dannemiller, High School Student and future Red Raider, Fall 2021
  • Angel Flight
  • District Attorney's Office 
  • Ward Memorial Hospital
  • Under Armour
  • West Texas Aviators
  • Junior League of Lubbock
  • Odessa College
  • Midland College

  • Westech Seal, Inc.  
  • University Texas Permian Basin 
  • West Texas Medical Associates
  • Museum of the Southwest
  • Basin Design Service, LLC
  • Science Spectrum
  • Bayer
  • Exxon Mobil


The President's Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award recognizes TTU faculty for a relatively new project or initiative that demonstrates high potential for the advancement of engaged scholarship. The project or initiative shows outstanding promise for having a significant impact on communities and the university. It carries a monetary prize of $1,000 and recognizes one faculty-led project or initiative.

"Evaluation of a Crisis Intervention Training Program Among Police Officers and Recruits"


Responding to mental health and suicide crises among high-risk individuals in the community often falls to first responders, such as police officers. Crisis Management Training (CIT) among police officers is a first step toward suicide prevention and matching those in crisis with the appropriate services. Texas requires Lubbock Police Department (LPD) officers to complete a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), which includes psychoeducation, de-escalation techniques, and mental health and suicide crisis training to prepare officers for mental health and suicide emergencies. CIT, however, has not been rigorously evaluated to determine positive outcomes or barriers to the implementation of CIT skills. Additionally, no one has specifically identified what is (or is not) effective about CIT for suicide risk management. To best meet the needs of high-risk individuals and improve community safety, police officers must be equipped with effective skills to safely navigate crises, match individuals in crisis with the appropriate services, and save lives.

To address this community need, a team of Texas Tech faculty including Dr. Sean Mitchell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, and Dr. Megan Thoen, Director of the TTU Psychology Clinic and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, are working together with the LPD to evaluate the local CIT program. Their research involves conducting assessments of officers' knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors related to mental illness/substance use/suicide risk and managing mental health and suicide crises before and after they complete the CIT program. The faculty members also evaluate officers' characteristics as well as experiences that may impact the effectiveness of the CIT program, and then follow up with officers after training to evaluate program material retention and longitudinal benefits.

The project results in mutually beneficial solutions as the research informs ways to improve CIT and supplemental training that benefit people in crisis and officer safety while also providing an opportunity for TTU scholarship and community involvement. The results of the study also have broader state-level policy implications since the 40-hour CIT program is a state-mandated response to the Sandra Bland Act, signed into Texas law in 2017. This act was a reaction to Sandra Bland, a woman who died by suicide in jail, and mandates that the criminal justice system (e.g., jails) divert people with mental illness and substance use problems to the appropriate treatment rather than jail. This project is truly a partnership with scholarship and community impact at the forefront.

Award Winners:

  • Dr. Sean Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, TTU College of Arts & Sciences
  • Dr. Megan Thoen, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Director of the TTU Psychology Clinic, Department of Psychological Sciences, TTU College of Arts & Sciences

Community Partners:

  • Lubbock Police Department (LPD) 


The President's Exemplary Program Award recognizes TTU faculty for projects demonstrating outstanding academic engagement and commitment to addressing a community need or larger social issue. The award recognizes the program's impacts on both the community and the university (faculty, staff, or students).

"The ACOM Block: An Innovative Course Structure to Engage Students with Industry"


The Agricultural Education & Communications (ACOM) block course format was developed by a team of four ACOM faculty members to address feedback received from alumni and agriculture industry representatives who suggested graduates needed additional development in problem-solving and critical thinking skills. In 2015, a study evaluating ACOM programs nationwide ranked Texas Tech University as the number one ACOM program in the country. To remain at the top and to stay relevant with industry trends, the TTU ACOM faculty implemented the new, unique course structure in 2017. The innovative block format combined two existing courses dedicated to publication production and campaign development with two new courses that focused on advanced design and media convergence to replicate a real-world communications work environment. These four senior-level courses are designed to give students a comprehensive, capstone learning experience. The program is the first and only agricultural communications program in the country to implement this type of learning experience.

Throughout the Block experience, students develop and incorporate the skills necessary to thrive in the agricultural communications industry, while engaging in service-learning projects with community partners and industry representatives. This combination of hard and soft skills includes writing, design, visual communication, sales, web development, social media planning, and campaign development, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, strategic communication, and creativity. The ultimate learning outcomes from the ACOM Block include students publishing The Agriculturist magazine, honing writing skills, learning about visual communication, developing and implementing a communications campaign, creating video and social media content, finessing photography and graphic design skills, learning advanced web design techniques, developing professional portfolios, and writing research reports – all while engaging with the agriculture industry and community partners.

The creation of the ACOM Block has lead to an exponential growth of the TTU program and has matured to a point that it provides a more comprehensive educational experience for students. A total of 190 undergraduate students have experienced the unique four-course block structure within the ACOM program since its first semester in the spring of 2017. In the first three years of the ACOM Block's publication production course, which creates the Agriculturist magazine, students have published 384 pages of content, sold $101,610 in advertising (all of which is used to print and circulate the Agriculturist), and won national-level writing, photography, and design awards for their work on the magazine, including the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow's Excellence in Writing Award and first place online magazine, and the National Agricultural Alumni Development Association's first place student-produced magazine. The collaboration between courses in the block has also created a unique approach to curriculum development, especially among capstone-level learning experiences.

Award Winners: 

  • Dr. Lindsay Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, TTU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR)
  • Dr. Courtney Meyers, Professor & Graduate Studies Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, CASNR
  • Dr. Courtney Gibson, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, CASNR
  • Dr. Erica Irlbeck, Professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, CASNR

Community Partners: 

  • Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Lubbock County 4-H
  • PETS of Lubbock
  • Communities in Schools
  • Legacy Play Village


How to Apply in 2022

Applications can be submitted by logging into Texas Tech Competition Space at ttu.infoready4.com. Deadline for applications is February 15, 2022. 


For more information, please contact
Grant Gerlich, Community Engagement Manager
University Outreach & Engagement
grant.gerlich@ttu.edu | 806-834-8933

Outreach & Engagement