Ruth Harman, an associate professor in the department of language and literacy education, recently received the 2018 Engaged Scholar Award from the University of Georgia’s Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.
Established in 2008, the award recognizes a tenured faculty member for contributions to advancing public service, outreach and community engagement at the University.
“Engaged scholarship is at the heart of what I do in my research, teaching and service at UGA and beyond,” said Harman, who also serves as a professor-on-special-assignment with the Professional Development School District (PDSD). “Receiving the award is a wonderful recognition that the work my colleagues, students and community partners conduct is valued by the University of Georgia.”
In collaboration with PDSD, Harman works with Coile Middle School in Athens, Georgia, to provide her pre-service teachers the opportunity to engage in arts-based and sustainable projects with bilingual and bidialectal youth interested in theater, spoken word and photography.
By teaching a course at the school, Harman’s students can immediately apply their reading and knowledge of sociocultural theories to the classroom. Additionally, Harman uses art and sustainable projects to engage with community members at the Parkview housing community in downtown Athens for her First Year Odyssey course.
Thanks to the University’s award, she can continue cultivating edible gardens and art designs at both the housing complex and its newly-opened community center.
Harman’s research, teaching and service focuses on exploring how best to support the literacy and language development of emergent bilingual learners in K-12 classrooms, especially in the current climate of high stakes school reform and anti-immigration discourses.
She will be recognized for her contributions to the University’s public service and outreach mission at the Public Service and Outreach Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 16.
“We all position ourselves as learners of youth culture, not as teachers,” said Harman. “With my collaborators Kevin Burke, Jason Mizell and Heidi Hadley and with the amazing support of Athens Housing Authorities, I intend to continue to build more and more partnerships with the local communities across Athens.”
Her current project, “Cultivating Community Connections Across Athens,” fosters strong community connections and a robust community center with Parkview housing complexes and the future of Parkview Extension.