UNCG leadership honored for community engagement

Posted on May 31, 2022

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Shelton named 2022 ESC Distinguished Engaged Scholar

UNCG Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Terri L. Shelton has received the Engagement Scholarship Consortium’s 2022 Distinguished Engaged Scholar Award. 

The highly competitive awards program recognizes exemplary contributions to community-engaged scholarship at public and private higher education institutions. “These projects require a great deal of effort, negotiation, and thought to ensure that they are inclusive, mutually beneficial, and responsive to community needs,” said Engagement Scholarship Consortium President Lauri A. Van Egeren. “Our awardees show the world the possibilities of exemplary engagement scholarship.”

UNCG has strategically invested in and supported the development of community-engaged scholarship throughout VC Shelton’s tenure as vice chancellor. In 2010, the university became one of the first to explicitly recognize community-engaged work within promotion and tenure guidelines. UNCG also developed and launched the Collaboratory®, a database to track institutional community-engagement activities, networks, and impacts – the tool has now been licensed and used by over 50 other universities and colleges.

“Because of Dr. Shelton’s notable achievements, UNC Greensboro is widely seen as a leading institution for community-engaged scholarship, and we attract faculty, staff, and students because of our distinctive identity as a community-engaged, high-research activity university,” said Chancellor Franklin Gilliam, Jr.

UNCG and its faculty have received a host of awards for community-engagement, including last year’s Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’s national Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, as well as awards from Campus Compact, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. 

In addition to supporting other engaged scholars administratively, Dr. Shelton has incorporated the principles of community engagement in her own research for over 30 years. “It’s a better way to do things,” she says. “For me, it has never been an add-on or even an end goal – it’s both a value and a process that is fundamental to implementing programs, policies, and research that are effective, sustainable, delivered with cultural humility, and result in equitable outcomes.” 

Shelton, a clinical psychologist and UNCG’s Carol Jenkins Mattocks Distinguished Professor, has served as a principal investigator or co-investigator on projects representing over $42 million in external funding. She is particularly known for her pioneering work around family-centered care, which includes a 1987 book that served as the foundation for many of our nation’s current health policies when it comes to children with special health care needs – and the creation of the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. In 2018, the State of North Carolina honored Shelton with a Family Driven-System of Care Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Other impactful projects in Shelton’s portfolio address issues such as ADHD; early childhood social emotional development; gun, gang, drug, and domestic violence; underage drinking; youth with mental health and substance abuse challenges who become involved with the juvenile justice system; and improving outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

When asked about her work, Shelton begins with a proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” She adds, “I am grateful for the partnerships – with parents, teachers, policy makers, law enforcement, healthcare providers, and community members – that have permitted us to go far.”

by Sangeetha Shivaji