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SHSU Professor Honored with David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award

Congratulations to Phillip Lyons, professor of criminal justice and executive director of the Texas Regional Community Policing Institute at Sam Houston State University (Texas), for being honored with a faculty excellence award. Phillip, who attended the ADP 2012 national meeting in San Antonio in June, is the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award. This award is named for a former SHSU provost who founded ADP at SHSU.

What a great example of institutional intentionality in terms of recognizing and rewarding faculty for driving civic learning and engagement more deeply into the heart of the academic enterprise!

Congrats, Phillip!

— Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager

Faculty Recognized With 2012 ‘Excellence’ Awards

June 25, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

Faculty Excellence winners
Provost Jaimie Hebert and university President Dana Gibson congratulate the four winners of the 2012 Faculty Excellence Awards. This year’s recipients include (from left, flanked by Hebert and Gibson) Stacey Edmonson, Excellence in Service; Richard E. Watts, Excellence in Research; John Newbold, Excellence in Teaching; and Phillip Lyons, the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award. —Photo by Brian Blalock

Professors at Sam Houston State University do more than just teach. For the approximately 900 faculty members currently teaching at SHSU, their days are filled not only with service in the classroom, but within their communities and to their fields through scholarly research.

This year, four whose demonstrated commitment stands out from among their peers have been selected to receive one of SHSU’s Faculty Excellence Awards.

The 2012 winners include John Newbold, Excellence in Teaching; Richard E. Watts, Excellence in Research; Stacey Edmonson, Excellence in Service; and Phillip Lyons, the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award.

Phillip Lyons

Phillip Lyons

As the first recipient of the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award, Phillip Lyons continues to move into the foreground of Sam Houston State University’s motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service.”

The engagement award, named after former provost David Payne who formed the university’s American Democracy Project Committee, is given to a faculty member who shows “excellence in Community Engagement through their teaching, research, and service.” Through SHSU’s Engaged Scholars Committee, colleges offer academic community engagement-certified courses (a total of 106 courses) in which students apply the knowledge of their academic disciplines to define and address issues of public concern and advocate for change through close, collaborative, community partnerships.

Currently professor of criminal justice and executive director of the Texas Regional Community Policing Institute at SHSU, Lyons offers two courses that have a community engagement focus, face-to-face “Policing Strategy” course and his on-line “Law and Society” course.

His instrumental work in establishing an internship between Alvin and League City Police Departments as part of the Chinese Police Cadets Exchange Program, which hosts students from the Zhejiang Police College in Hangzhou, China, has made a worldwide impact. For this work, the City of League City proclaimed Jan. 11, 2012, as Chinese National Police Day and extended its “Building Bridges Award” as “a token of our esteem and mutual respect.”

“His eloquence in handling multiple personalities during the yearly cadet program puts everyone involved at ease. He is masterful in forming partnerships not only with students from another country, but also with two police agencies who furnish the host families,” a support letter stated.

“Professor Lyons believes these students greatly benefit from living the American policing lifestyle, and he has proven correct,” the letter continued. “These young cadets that visit League City will surely be important policy makers, and I am certain that the individuals will reflect upon their visit to America with admiration and respect. No one can anticipate the policy outcomes that may occur from such memories.”

It is a sentiment resounded by the cadets when they reflect back upon the experience.

“With the great hospitality and consideration of our host family and the Alvin Police Department, we had a special experience which allowed us to go deep into American life and develop a comprehensive knowledge of the practice of American policing,” one student said. “But what touched us most was that we made more kind friends from this special and impressive experience.”

“Theories experienced for oneself speak much louder than theories written in textbooks,” another student said.

College of Criminal Justice colleagues point to his work within the classroom utilizing a focus on community engagement that make is work so important to the college, stating that “his message is consistent, serve the students, the community, and the school;” “Philip has such a well-established history of course-related community engagement for his students;” and “he had community engagement components in some of his courses even before there were ACE courses.”
Watch and listen to Phillip talk about academic community engagement at SHSU here.

Learn more about ADP at Sam Houston State University here.

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