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  Cornell University

2017 Engaged Scholar Prize

Nominations for the next Engaged Scholar Prize will open in the fall. Contact the Office of Engagement Initiatives for more information.

Read about the 2017 Engaged Scholar Prize recipient, Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.



To honor the importance of community-engaged teaching, learning, and research, the Office of Engagement Initiatives established the Engaged Scholar Prize. Each year, the prize recognizes a faculty member who inspires students, faculty colleagues, and community partners with innovative approaches that integrate community-engagement across scholarly activities.

The Engaged Scholar Prize carries an award of $30,000 to further expand and deepen community-engaged activities through support to essential participants, including community partner(s), the faculty member, and Cornell students — undergraduate, graduate, or professional.

The Engaged Scholar Prize represents Cornell’s commitment to supporting faculty members who teach, research, and act in ways that demonstrate higher education to be a critical partner in confronting the world’s most challenging questions. With this distinction, recipients are asked to give a public presentation or workshop in a venue appropriate to their work. An additional stipend will be provided to support the participation of key community partners in this presentation.

The Office of Engagement Initiatives will announce the recipient of the 2017 prize by April 15, 2017.

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Award Criteria

The Engaged Scholar Prize recognizes excellence in multiple aspects of community-engaged learning, teaching, and research, including:

  • integration of community engagement across the following:
    • teaching and mentoring;
    • research and scholarship;
    • creation of public goods and networks (e.g., exhibits, websites, groups);
  • demonstration of reciprocity and mutuality in community-based partnerships;
  • commitment to assessment of impacts and learning outcomes for all participants.


Nomination Process

The 2017 nomination deadline has passed.

Candidates for this award may be self-nominated or nominated by others. The nomination should be in the form of a brief letter that speaks to the award criteria, above. Nominees will also submit a package of supporting materials, described below.


Submission Package Checklist

  • Narrative description, including
    1. history of the faculty member’s involvement with community-engaged teaching, learning, and research
    2. integration of community engagement across teaching, learning, and research activities;
    3. evidence of the impact of the work on students and communities and/or community partner(s);
    4. evidence of research, service, or creative products resulting from the partnership.
  • Letters of support from
    1. dean;
    2. department chair;
    3. community partner(s);
    4. other colleague(s).
  • CV of faculty nominee
  • Website or other material of the community partner(s) stating the public purpose of the partner(s)


Prize Recipients

 2017 – Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering

2016 – Bruce Levitt, professor of performing and media arts