FHSU professor receives award from American Democracy Project

Fort Hays State University's Shala Mills, chair and professor of the Department of Political Science, was recently awarded one of three national awards from the American Democracy Project, an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement was established in 2014 to honor exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and advancing the work of ADP.

"While many in academia give lip service to civic learning through an interdisciplinary approach, in my experience it is far more difficult to meaningfully commit one's career to that work in all three areas of teaching, research and service," said Tina Zappile, political science faculty member at Stockton University in the news release from AASCU.

Zappile continued, "Shala has put civic learning engagement at the core of her work and clearly demonstrates a deep commitment to increasing opportunities for students to address complex problems from multiple perspectives in the process of being more active in their communities."

Mills was recognized more specifically for her involvement in the AASCU programming, for her service as the national manager of the national blended course consortium and her involvement as the national coordinator for the global challenges project.

"I am so very honored to receive this award. FHSU's commitment to civic engagement has given me tremendous opportunities to engage in a wide range of meaningful work, whether it was establishing the Victor E. Garden on campus or developing the Global Challenges national blended model curriculum for the AASCU," said Mills.

"This award doesn't just acknowledge me, but really acknowledges all the colleagues and students both on the FHSU campus and across the country who have been part of the civic collaborations this award recognizes," she said.

"I just could not have asked for better people to work with or more important civic problems to address. I'm really grateful, not just for the recognition, but for the opportunity to be involved in this work of making our communities and our world a better place in which to live, work and flourish."

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