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Markham receives national award for leadership in civic engagement

Paul Markham, co-director of the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility at WKU, has received national recognition for his leadership in civic engagement.

Paul Markham

Dr. Markham received the 2012 John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement last week at the American Democracy Project Conference in San Antonio.  The award is given in recognition of exemplary early-career leaders who are advancing the wider civic engagement movement through higher education to build a broader public culture of democracy.

Saltmarsh is the co-director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a faculty member in the Higher Education Administration Doctoral Program in the Department of Leadership in Education in the College of Education and Human Development. The award recognizes his long-standing passion of nurturing and preparing the next generation of civic leaders to sustain and advance the civic engagement movement.

“It feels good to be recognized for work that not only prepares students to be successful in their lives and careers, but to be making a real change in our democracy and building a stronger society,” Dr. Markham, an assistant professor in WKU’s Honors College, said. “I’m thankful to those who have mentored me and look forward to doing the same for the next generation of citizen leaders.”

Recipients of the award are academic professionals working in an American Association of State Colleges and Universities institution. They have demonstrated leadership in building the wider civic engagement movement and have a record of advancing the civic learning of undergraduates. They act as an organizational catalyst to change higher education and to model leadership for change and have made an intellectual contribution to the development of the civic studies field and to the wider civic engagement movement.

“Civic engagement involves a process of collaboration and reciprocity and a purpose of creating partnerships of university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good,” Dr. Markham said.

In his nomination, Harry C. Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship and Senior Fellow of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, referenced Dr. Markham’s “tremendous organizing and public leadership skills. He has created diverse public relationships across all sorts of differences of views and interests, in our network of institutions involved in the Civic Agency Initiative, in the larger civic engagement movement, and on campus.”

Peter Levine, director of The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and research director of Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, said WKU is a national model of an engaged public institution, supporting and collaborating with the communities around it.

“I am sure that many people are responsible for WKU’s record, but from my perspective, Paul Markham is the most prominent representative of the University in national discussions about civic renewal and higher education,” he said. “He appears repeatedly in key roles, whether presenting at the White House, co-writing a statewide report on Kentucky’s Civic Health, or being invited to the Education Commission of the States’ national dialog on K-12 civic education.”

Contact: Paul Markham, (270) 745-3221.

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