Professor Saha Granted the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award
Campus Compact is pleased to announce that Robin Saha, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.
The award is bestowed annually to recognize one faculty member and up to four finalists for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning, conducting community-based research, fostering reciprocal partnerships, building institutional commitments to engagement, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. The award is named in honor of Thomas Ehrlich, former chair of the Campus Compact board of directors and president emeritus of Indiana University, and is generously sponsored by the KPMG Foundation.
"KPMG is proud to support Campus Compact and the Ehrlich Award, and we offer our deepest congratulations to Robin Saha and the four finalists," said Bernard J. Milano, President of KPMG Foundation. "Campus Compact's programs and thought leadership continue to advance progress in pursuit of higher education's public purposes. We applaud their work and the work of their member campuses, the best of which is exemplified by the 2016 Ehrlich Award winner, Dr. Saha."
“I am thrilled that Campus Compact has the opportunity to recognize Robin Saha’s exemplary work,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “Professor Saha demonstrates every day that there need be no distinction among teaching, research, and service to the public. His scholarly practice engages students and community members in knowledge creation and action to challenge environmental injustice and produce a more equitable society. We can all learn from Professor Saha’s career.”
“In my experience, civic engagement makes all types of academic endeavors – whether in teaching and learning or carrying out research -- relevant and meaningful to all involved,” stated Dr. Saha. “I especially enjoy enhancing the capacity and commitment of students, our future leaders, and community and university partners to work collaboratively to effect positive and lasting change. This type of civically engaged work illustrates the constructive and vital role academic institutions can play in our communities”
In addition to being a leading scholar in the environmental justice movement, Dr. Saha has spent his career integrating partnerships into his pedagogy, research, and community activism. Saha consistently engages his students in real-world environmental problems and connects them with affected communities. Beyond his work in the classroom, Saha has also advocated for the importance of community-engaged scholarship within the Montana University system. He works to create opportunities for both faculty and students to promote community engagement, including being a founding member of UM’s Service Learning Advisory Board, as well as being involved in the creation of a climate change studies minor known for its engaged curriculum.
Saha’s deeply engaged scholarship sits at the intersection of environmental justice and health policy, emphasizing advocacy for marginalized communities. His nationally recognized work shed light on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and has been cited in Fortune Magazine, the Boston Globe, and Huffington Post. He has also been recognized for his local community-based participatory research, involving empowering disenfranchised communities to take active roles in data collection and advocacy to achieve significant environmental management improvements.
“Robin is an incredibly insightful and community-engaged professor,” remarked Andrea Vernon, Executive Director of Montana Campus Compact and Director of Academic Enrichment - Civic Engagement at the University of Montana. “His research and teaching, and the work of his students, have had profound impacts on the health and well-being of people in the most rural and underserved areas of Montana. Robin also contributes to the leadership and development of community engaged scholarship throughout the state and beyond by inspiring and supporting colleagues to do this work.”
Four finalists have been acknowledged for their achievements. They are:
- David Berle, Associate Professor of Horticulture, University of Georgia
- Christopher Janson, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Leadership, School Counseling and Sports Management, University of North Florida
- Ellen Percy Kraly, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Colgate University
- Susan Needham, Professor of Anthropology, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Dr. Saha and the four finalists, will have the opportunity to speak on their work as part of a special panel during Campus Compact’s Western Region Continuums of Service Conference in April.