The Office of Partnerships and Outreach is excited to launch the Public Scholarship Faculty Fellows Program in collaboration with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).

During the spring 2024 term, nine Towson University faculty will connect with and learn from each other, university representatives, and national experts to better understand, examine, and apply public scholarship opportunities. Their work will culminate in a community conversation, led by the fellows, at the 2024 CUMU Conference in October.

What is public scholarship?Simply put, public scholarship is going beyond publishing research through scholarly journals and other traditional means and getting it out into a public audience to allow it to have its greatest impact of serving the public good. Topics the fellows will address include:

  • Community-engaged and collaborative research and writing
  • Advocating for public scholarship in promotion and tenure
  • Academic print publishing
  • Engaging with popular media through op-ed writing or expert interviews 
  • Open access publishing, copyright, and licenses
  • New media (podcasts, blogs, video)
  • Participating on public-serving committees and councils

Nine TU faculty members were chosen through a competitive selection process. Each has shared what they hope to gain.

As an applied researcher, I find that opportunities to disseminate both the applied and scholarly findings of my work and to make a significant contribution to the community are scarce. The Public Scholarship Fellowship provides a valuable platform for achieving this. Moreover, as an individual dedicated to lifelong learning, I look forward to gaining insights from my fellow cohort members.

Gashaw Abeza, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Kinesiology

I partner with several Baltimore City Public Schools and run a book club on supporting multilingual learners. I hope to find ways to strengthen ways to communicate current research on optimal learning environments for young children with partners in school systems and policy makers.

Lea Ann Christenson, Ph.D., professor, Department of Early Childhood Education

Most of my research focuses on diversifying performing arts resources and making sure that folks can find and access those materials. I partner across campus and beyond campus to do this work. I’m looking forward to learning from colleagues, joining with them to make the library a hub in collaborative community scholarship.

Christina Taylor Gibson, Ph.D., performing arts librarian, librarian I, Albert S. Cook Library

I’m passionate about doing community work and want to take the work we’re doing in higher education and make it palatable for the community..

—Omari Jackson, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Instructional Leadership & Professional Development

I am a substance use researcher looking to begin new projects in partnership with community organizations that work with people who use drugs. I look forward to discussing how to democratize research findings through public scholarship and new media.

—Laura Kroart, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Health Sciences

I’ve been engaging in a lot of work related to how we use the galleries to promote the idea that galleries and artwork aren’t precious, they are inclusive and for everyone.

Erin Lehman, Ph.D., art history lecturer, Director of Holtzman and Center for the Arts Galleries

My work is focused on supporting the writing needs of artists. I want to think about ways to write with, about, and for the community that isn’t exploiting.

Sherita Roundtree, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of English

I’m a journalist by training. Is there a possibility of making community journalism work count as scholarship?

Enakshi Roy, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Mass Communication

I study how cities manage their reputation to draw in new visitors, businesses, and residents. Without robust community engagement and support, achieving these goals is impossible.

Efe Sevin, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Mass Communication

Headquartered at Towson University since 2006, CUMU is a leading forum for higher education leaders committed to urban and metropolitan communities. Their year-round programming provides opportunities to connect and share practices for enabling sustainable change driven by students, faculty, staff, and partners across the community.

“We are always looking for ways to collaborate with Towson University. In a recent conversation, we were exploring ways that we can help to elevate and share the amazing engagement and partnership work that Towson faculty are doing, and suddenly we were off and running with the Public Scholarship Faculty Fellows Program,” said Stacey Johnson, Ed.D, director of learning and engagement at CUMU. “I’m thrilled to bring this group together to explore additional methods to get their work into the hands of those who it can most impact.”

Stay tuned for more posts from the faculty fellows over the course of 2024.