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Champions of Change: UK Professor Wins National Education Award

Posted at 3:45 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 15:45:32-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (University of Kentucky) — By Carol Lea Spence - August 30, 2019

Rosalind Harris, an associate professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Community Leadership and Development, has won the 2019 Outstanding Community Development Educator Award. The Community Development Society presented the award at its recent awards banquet at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The annual award is presented in recognition of excellence in teaching and instruction. Harris’s current research, teaching and community-university engagement focus on food justice and youth restorative justice. She has investigated the impact of federal policy on the abilities of historically black land-grant institutions to address the needs of the rural poor. She also has brought together Appalachian and Black Belt region scholars and activists to address challenges the two groups share.

For Harris, the classroom extends into the community, where her students learn to use deep listening, facilitation and mediation skills. She believes, and follows through with her teaching, that community residents and students should be active participants in shaping the practices and policies that affect their communities.

She and her students have also received training to lead healing circles, a Native American practice. This work was carried out within the Fayette County School System under the auspices of the Youth Restorative Justice Program coordinated by Linda Harvey. The healing circles work engages students who face challenges that might end with their being referred to youth detention. They learn to explore healthy behaviors and relationships through interactive activities that involve sharing stories and emotional resources.

Harris has received teaching awards from the Southern Rural Sociological Society and the College of Education, and the Mentor of the Year Award from the Southern Regional Educational Board. She is a past president of the Southern Rural Sociological Society.

The Department of Community and Leadership Development is part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

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