Dr. Ashley Oliphant, associate professor of English and director of the Francis Center for Servant Leadership, has been selected by North Carolina Campus Compact as an Engaged Faculty Scholar. The distinction comes through a new program that provides resources and support to individual faculty members who will carry out research, scholarship and consulting to deepen campus-community engagement.
During her one-year term as Engaged Faculty Scholar, Dr. Oliphant will fill a dual role: leading a project at Pfeiffer and serving as a consultant to support faculty engagement at another institution in the Campus Compact network.
At Pfeiffer, Dr.Oliphant will restructure the first course of the first-year writing sequence (Introduction to College Writing) to include a significant service-learning component requiring real-world writing grounded in sustained direct service. The first-year “Pfeiffer Journey” seminars will provide the space for the service, the Francis Center for Servant Leadership will offer logistical and financial support, and English Department faculty will facilitate the reflections, writing and grading of the program. These experiences may also be connected to Pfeiffer’s growing living-learning community program.
A service-learning practitioner for more than a decade, Dr. Oliphant has directed the Francis Center for the past six years. She has used her first-year writing courses to explore a series of diverse themes, including animal welfare, advocacy and mentoring. She was the institutional writer for Pfeiffer’s latest Carnegie reclassification and the university’s applications to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Before coming to Pfeiffer, Dr. Oliphant was a teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received her doctorate in 2007.
Dr. Oliphant is one of two Engaged Faculty Scholars in 2015-16, along with Dr. Annie Jonas, chair of the Education Department at Warren Wilson College. They were selected from a strong pool of faculty applicants from across the statewide network. In August the Compact will identify the campuses where the scholars will serve as faculty engagement consultants.
North Carolina Campus Compact Executive Director Leslie Garvin conceived the new scholars program as a way to support outstanding faculty and encourage them to share their service-learning expertise.
“Over the years, we’ve learned so much about the great research and programs our faculty are engaged in,” Garvin says. “We wanted to provide a new opportunity for them both to deepen their engagement but also strengthen our network.”
The Engaged Faculty Scholars receive a stipend and professional development package valued at $2500, and host institutions are encouraged to provide additional support or course release. In addition to their proposed project and consulting work, the scholars will have opportunities to share their research at the network’s annual Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference for faculty and to submit work for publication in the Compact’s online peer-reviewed journal Partnerships.
Started in 2002 and hosted by Elon University, North Carolina Campus Compact builds the capacity of colleges and universities to produce civically-engaged graduates and strengthen communities. The statewide network is one of 34 state and regional affiliates of national Campus Compact, which claims over 1,200 member campuses.