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Campus Compact Names Portland State University's Sherril Gelmon 2011 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award Winner
Author: Sue C. Kelman, director of communications at Campus Compact
Posted: June 1, 2011

SherrilGelmon2.jpgBoston, MA — Campus Compact has named Sherril B. Gelmon, DrPH, Professor of Public Health at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, as recipient of the 2011 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award. The award is bestowed annually to recognize one senior, tenured faculty for exemplary leadership in advancing students' civic learning, community engagement, and contributions to the public good. To qualify for the award, the faculty member must boast an extensive career that exhibits true dedication to service, to her/his community, and to the integrity of higher education.

"Professor Gelmon exemplifies the very essence of Portland State University (PSU)," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU. "She does superb work that seamlessly combines teaching and research as well as the university and the community. She is what being an engaged anchor institution is all about."

In his nomination letter, Professor Dwight Giles, Jr., senior associate with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) and Professor of Higher Education Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, (a 2003 recipient of the Thomas Ehrlich Award himself) says, "Sherril's work is a pioneering example of the integrated synergy of teaching, research, and service that is simultaneously cosmopolitan and local."

Former PSU president, Judith Ramaley, notes about Dr. Gelmon’s work, "…she exemplified the values of engagement in her own scholarship and teaching and was one of the first faculty members to be advanced to the rank of Professor as an engaged scholar using the revised promotion and tenure guidelines adopted by PSU."

Dr. Gelmon trained as a physiotherapist at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto, and earned master’s degree in Health Sciences from the University of Toronto. She received a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She currently is chair of the Division of Public Administration at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, College of Urban and Public Affairs, at PSU.

"My work as a faculty comes from both personal and professional roots," says Dr. Gelmon. "I grew up in a progressive, Jewish, western Canadian family infused with the values of continuous learning, social activism, community engagement, and respect for cultural diversity."

Today, Dr. Gelmon usually teaches at least three graduate courses annually that involve community engagement. "In all of these courses, community-based work is designed in collaboration with community partners to ensure mutual and reciprocal benefit, and students conduct reflective activities as well as developing academic products. Students in my classes are continually exposed to a variety of community engagement opportunities that help them to develop outcomes that reflect civic learning and orientation to community engagement both in their professional and personal lives."

Among her professional activities she is senior consultant with Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and was founding chair of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE).

The Ehrlich award brings $2,000 plus an opportunity to present at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Conference in January 2012 in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Gelmon will formally be presented the Ehrlich award.

Campus Compact is a nonprofit coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national association dedicated to this mission, Campus Compact is a leader in building community engagement into campus and academic life. For more information, visit