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Plenary Session Bios

  • Gretchen L. Birbeck
  • Professor, Neurology and Epidemiology
  • Director, MSU International Neurological and Psychiatric Epidemiology Program
  • Michigan State University

Gretchen Birbeck, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.H., F.A.A.N., became interested in neuroepidemiology and health services research while working in sub-Saharan Africa in the early 1990s. As a neurologist, she has investigated the neurologic conditions presenting to a large rural Zambian hospital. Epilepsy and other seizure disorders constitute a major health problem in this region and ongoing investigations via population-based surveys and case-control studies are being conducted to determine the prevalence of epilepsy in the region and to explore why epilepsy is so common. Her health services research has focused upon epilepsy care and care for vulnerable populations. She is particularly interested in non-traditional outcome measures, including health-related quality of life measures in epilepsy care assessment. She is also principal investigator for the California Resources in Stroke Study, a population-based study of hospital-based stroke care in California.

  • Jeri L. Childers
  • Fellow, Virginia Tech Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement
  • Virginia Tech University

Jeri Childers, Ph.D., conducts research, publishes, presents, and practices in engaging university and community leaders for civic change. Dr. Childers created the Engagement Academy for University Leaders, which has been offered by Virginia Tech's Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement since June, 2008. The program has won awards for its innovation and quality and has fostered a growing portfolio of related programs. Dr. Childers is collaborating with the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, the Coalition of Urban Metropolitan Universities, the American Association of State College Universities, the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, and the Transformational Regional Networks to offer these programs and to share resources for postsecondary institutions, engaged scholars, and civic leaders. Currently, she is also supporting the development of the TRE Networks and the Transformation Regional Engagement Toolkit, which offers tools and models for campus-community partnerships for regional economic, community, and workforce development. Dr. Childers serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Prior to working at Virginia Tech, Dr. Childers served at Penn State and was the founding chair of the National Outreach Scholarship Conference.

  • Frank A. Fear
  • Senior Associate Dean, Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Michigan State University

Frank Fear, P h.D., is senior associate dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University. He studies, writes, and teaches about forms of extraordinary change in organizational and community settings with a focus on change resulting from collaboration with higher education. His articles have appeared recently in the Journal of Leadership Studies, Innovative Higher Education, Metropolitan Universities, the Journal of College and Character, About Campus, and Encounter. He is a frequent contributor to the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement and was lead author of Coming to Critical Engagement: An Autoethnographic Exploration (University Press of America, 2006). He was the inaugural chairperson of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program, a distinctive undergraduate program that promotes undergraduate student and faculty development through collaborative learning, where he continues to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, and design new courses. He also previously served as: acting associate director of MSU Extension; chairperson of the MSU Department of Resource Development; president and CEO of the Greater Lansing Food Bank; and was a founding member of the Capital Area Food Security Coalition. As well, Dr. Fear has been a consulting scholar with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, most recently in conjunction with the Food Systems Higher Education-Community Partnership initiative.

  • Nancy Franklin
  • Director, Outreach Sustainability Initiatives
  • Assistant Director, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment
  • Pennsylvania State University

Nancy Franklin, Ed.D., provides leadership for Penn State's sustainability-focused outreach and engagement. Her scholarly interest centers on institutional scale engagement and regional sustainability engagement. Currently, Dr. Franklin is serving on Penn State's Sustainability Council, which has been charged by the p rovost a nd senior vice president with the development of a comprehensive sustainability strategic plan for the university. B efore coming to Penn State in 2007 she was the southside regional director of information technology at Virginia Tech where she worked to leverage the university's assets in catalyzing economic and community transformation in the economically distressed south central region of Virginia. This effort in Southside Virginia was recognized with the 2007 C. Peter Mcgrath National Engagement Award.

  • Nancy K. Franz
  • Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach for Families and 4-H Youth
  • Director, ISU Extension to Families
  • Iowa State University

Nancy Franz, Ph.D., serves as associate dean for Extension and Outreach for Families and 4-H Youth in the College of Human Sciences, and the director of ISU Extension to Families at ISU. She has served as an Extension agent, specialist, graduate student, and administrator over her life with Extension systems in Wisconsin, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Iowa.

  • Jeffrey T. Grabill
  • Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Co-Director, Writing in Digital Environment (WIDE) Research Center
  • Michigan State University

Jeffrey T. Grabill, Ph.D., is professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing and co-director of the WIDE Research Center at Michigan State University. He is interested in how people write together to do the knowledge work of their everyday lives. Dr. Grabill's research is located at the intersection of professional and technical writing, rhetorical theory, and literacy theory, and focuses on the literate and technological practices of citizens, users, students, and others within communities and non-academic institutions. He is the author of two books, Writing Community Change: Designing Technologies for Citizen Action (Hampton, 2007) and Community Literacy Programs and the Politics of Change (SUNY, 2001), and has published articles in such journals as College Composition and Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition, and English Education. Prior to his work at MSU, he taught composition, technical writing, and digital rhetoric courses at Georgia State University.

  • Philip A. Greasley
  • Associate Provost for University Engagement
  • University of Kentucky

Phil Greasley is associate provost for university engagement at the University of Kentucky. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Greasley is a past international president of the Association for Continuing Higher Education and the Coalition for Lifelong Learning Organizations, and the current vice president of the National Outreach Scholarship Consortium and the Kentucky Campus Compact Advisory Board. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Greasley created the Kentucky Engagement Conference, which is celebrating its sixth year in 2011.

  • Victor L. Lechtenberg
  • Vice Provost for Engagement
  • Purdue University

Victor Lechtenberg, Ph.D., is vice provost for engagement at Purdue University. He served as interim provost at Purdue from 2007 to 2008. Dr. Lechtenberg joined the Purdue faculty as a professor of a gronomy in 1971 where he taught crop science and coordinated research until 1982. He served as associate director for the Office of Agricultural Research Programs, as the executive associate dean of agriculture, and was dean of agriculture from 1993 to 2004. He has been leading Purdue's engagement programs as vice provost for engagement since 2004. Dr. Lechtenberg is a member of several academic, professional, and scholarly societies and has written nearly 150 technical papers, approximately 50 abstracts, and 6 book chapters. He served as chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's national Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board from 1996 through 2002 and is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.

  • Jonathon K. London
  • Assistant Professor, Human and Community Development
  • Director, UC Davis Center for Regional Change
  • University of California — Davis

Jonathan London, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Regional Change at UC Davis, which brings together faculty, students, and communities to collaborate on innovative research to create just, sustainable, and healthy regional change in California's Central Valley and Sierra Nevada. The Center: connects university research with planners, land managers, non-profits, environmentalists, communities and social service providers; links university knowledge with state and local governments to develop policies that affect regional change; and works a cross boundaries, leverages resources, builds unity and creates programs to address unmet needs. Dr. London conducts research on rural community d evelopment and environmental justice and serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Human and Community Development. He has extensive leadership experience in nonprofit management, participatory research, and community engagement.

  • Valerie Osland Paton
  • Vice Provost for Planning and Assessment
  • Interim Dean, University College
  • Texas Tech University

Valerie Osland Paton, Ph.D., leads institutional effectiveness in administrative and academic affairs at Texas Tech University. She supervises the Office of Planning and Assessment, and the Quality Enhancement Plan/TTU Ethics Center. Dr. Paton represents Texas Tech as the institutional liaison to SACSCOC, member of THECB Peer Accountability Group for Value Added, member of the Executive Committee for the Council on Engagement and Outreach of the Association of Public and Landgrant Universities, and sponsoring partner for the National Outreach Scholarship Conference. Dr. Paton serves as a faculty member in the higher education program in TTU's College of Education. Her research interests include higher education policy and practice, engagement, planning and assessment. She is a co-PI for an Hispanic Serving Institutions STEM grant with El Centro College, TTU's Department of Biology, and the TTU Center at Junction; PI for a Suder Foundation grant on first generation students; and PI on a TTU Graduate School Grant for Growing Graduate Programs.

  • Daniel F. Perkins
  • Professor, Family and Youth Resiliency and Policy
  • Director, Penn State Cooperative Extension Children, Youth, and Families Are Resilient Initiative
  • Pennsylvania State University

Daniel Perkins, Ph.D., is engaged in teaching, research, and outreach through the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service. His scholarship involves the integration of practice and research into three major foci: (1) Positive Youth Development – decrease risks and increase skills and competencies of youth through evidence-based programs; (2) Healthy Family Development – increase resiliency through evidence-based, strength-based educational programming; and (3) Community Collaboration – promote strategies for mobilizing communities in support of children, youth, and families. His most recent effort is the development of the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness, which is designed to build science-based practice for promoting principles of effectiveness in evidenced-based programming to enhance military family readiness.

  • Luis M. Proenza
  • President
  • University of Akron

Luis Proenza, Ph.D., is chief executive officer of the University of Akron. He has led its transformation into a powerful engine for regional economic development, a catalyst for collaborative initiatives, and the preeminent public university in Northeast Ohio. Under his leadership, the University has undertaken community efforts to create two key enterprises: a University Park Alliance that is revitalizing a 50-block a rea s urrounding its campus, and the $ 200-million Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, a partnership with three area hospitals and a medical school to establish Akron as a center for biomaterials and biomedicine. Dr. Proenza has been involved in national science and technology policy matters since the 1970s when he was study director of the National Research Council – National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Vision. He has also served on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as well as being chairman of the Science and Mathematics Education Task Force and secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Recently, Dr. Proenza was appointed to the Council of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies and to the Technology Innovation Program Advisory Board for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Prior to his appointment at Akron, Dr. Proenza was vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at Purdue University. He also served the University of Alaska, first as vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate School, then as vice president for academic affairs and research.

  • Judith A. Ramaley
  • President
  • Winona State University

Judith Ramaley, Ph.D., began her service as the 14th president of Winona State University in July 2005. Prior to coming to Minnesota, Dr. Ramaley held a presidential professorship in biomedical sciences at the University of Maine and was a fellow of the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy. Previously, she was president and professor of biology at the University of Vermont, and president and professor of biology at Portland State University. Dr. Ramaley has a special interest in higher education reform and has played a significant role in designing regional alliances to promote educational cooperation, and exploring civic responsibility and the role of higher education in promoting good citizenship. She has published extensively on educational reform; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; and the leadership of organizational change. At the national level, Dr. Ramaley is a member of: the National Science Resource Council, the board of Second Nature, the Executive Committee of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the ACUPCC Policy Subcommittee, and the American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Presidents' Trust. She has also served on numerous boards/taskforces/commissions, including as chair of the National Board of Campus Compact and chair of the Greater Expectations Panel, a group developed by AAC&U to define the aims of a 21st century undergraduate education and to identify strategies for accomplishing these aims. Dr. Ramaley's model of developing and supporting leadership throughout the university is considered a hallmark of her tenure, as well as her charge to seek out and cultivate partnerships with both businesses and cultural entities across the state.

  • Douglas Schuler
  • Member of the Faculty
  • Evergreen State College

Douglas Schuler's work focuses on the opportunities and risks of information and communication systems in the social realm, and democratic, equitable, and sustainable uses of technology. Mr. Schuler is the director of the Public Sphere Project, where he is working on projects such as e-Liberate, a webbased application that supports distributed meetings using Robert's Rules of Order. He explores the idea of "civic intelligence," the collective capability of society to address its problems, with his teaching, learning, and organizing. He is author of Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution (MIT Press, 2008); coeditor of several books, including Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civic Society in Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004); author of New Community Networks: Wired for Change (ACM Press, 1996); and has written numerous articles and book chapters. Mr. Schuler is the former chair of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), a public-interest organization concerned about the impact of computers on society. He also co-founded the Seattle Community Network (SCN), an all-volunteer, free public access computer network.

  • Peter S. Spencer
  • Professor, Neurology
  • Director, OHSU Global Health Center
  • Oregon Health and Science University

Peter Spencer, Ph.D., FRCPATH, received his doctoral degree from the University of London, Faculty of Medicine (Pathology), and postdoctoral training in neuroscience in the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research on Mental Retardation and Human Development of the Albert Einstein College (AECM) of Medicine. One of five national Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., fellows in the Neurosciences (1974-76), he became professor of neuroscience, neurology and pathology at AECM, and founding director of the Institute of Neurotoxicology. In 1988, he joined Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to found the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, which he directed for 21 years. In 2007, Dr. Spencer founded and led the OHSU Global Health Center. He has served as principal investigator on numerous federal, individual, program, project, and center grants, including a current Framework for Global Health program grant. Dr. Spencer holds six honorary professorial appointments at foreign institutions, including several in China. An emeritus member of the American Society of Toxicology (2011), he was also 2010 keynote lecturer for the Society of Toxicologic Pathology and the International Federation of Societies of Toxicologic Pathologists. He is an honorary member of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences (2005) and recipient of numerous awards.

  • Alan Webb
  • Co-Founder
  • Citizen Circles and
  • Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) School of Social Innovation

Alan Webb is the project manager of Community Weaver 2.0 and one of two directors of the minimalist systems engineering partnership Night Train Consulting. He specializes in helping organizations rethink the use of technology to create more and better human interactions offline. Mr. Webb leads the Peer to Peer University (P2PU) School of Social Innovation and efforts to spread the Citizen Circles methodology, a simple and powerful way for small groups to improve themselves and the world around them through a learning process they create for themselves. He also works with TimeBanks, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes equality and caring community economies. His past work has included: starting a self-sustaining student-run course evaluations forum at the University of Virginia; working in corporate sustainability strategy for the founder of the Australian Green Building Council and the head of sustainability for one of Australia's largest multinational property companies; helping organize the first-ever Tibetan Social Business Conference in Tibet; and teaching social entrepreneurship to Tibetan youth in Tibet.

  • Julie E. Williams
  • Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach
  • University of New Hampshire

Julie Williams, Ph.D., is senior vice provost for engagement and academic outreach at the University of New Hampshire. She established the University's first Office of Engagement and Academic Outreach and is responsible for the development of funded research and education initiatives and grants to advance the work of individual faculty and multidisciplinary faculty teams that collaborate with external partners. Dr. Williams also provides leadership for two semester-long faculty development academies and four faculty learning communities. Since joining UNH in 2001, she has held key leadership roles in strategic planning and review, institutional accreditation, and communications planning. Dr. Williams chaired the planning team that resulted in the university's "Community Engagement" classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She developed the institution's first longterm, federally funded partnership with a historically black university, which has garnered national recognition. Dr. Williams also led the statewide planning effort in partnership with New Hampshire's Office of Economic Stimulus to help focus opportunities for the state of New Hampshire on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. She has served on the national advisory board for the "Engagement Academy for University Leaders," and has been a faculty member for the Emerging Engagement Scholars Workshop. She developed the Engaged Scholarship Writing Team which is currently working on a series of articles focused on the UNH model of engaged scholarship, to be published as a special journal issue. Prior to joining UNH, she held administrative and faculty appointments at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and Knoxville College.

  • James J. Zuiches
  • Vice Chancellor for Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development
  • North Carolina State University

James J. Zuiches, Ph.D., has led North Carolina State University's Office of Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development since 2006. In this role, he has applied the economic development industry cluster model to connect NC State to state and regional business growth and recruitment priorities. Prior to coming to NC State, Dr. Zuiches was a faculty member and administrator at Michigan State University, Cornell University, and Washington State University. He also served as a grant-making program officer for the National Science Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Zuiches is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He serves as a director on several boards, including the N.C. Agromedicine Institute, the Urban Serving Universities Coalition, the National Outreach Scholarship Consortium, Triangle Tomorrow, and the Food Systems Leadership Institute. He also served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture, Research Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board (2004-2008). Dr. Zuiches has presented two dozen papers in the U.S. and at international Triple Helix conferences, on such topics as the university's accelerators of innovation, economic cluster development strategies, public/private partnerships, and the impact of seed grants on faculty success.