Professor named first Senior Fellow for Faculty Engagement

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Many faculty members at UNC Charlotte are intimately involved in the community, often seeking to teach, conduct research, and engage in service in partnership with groups, institutions and public entities to improve social and economic conditions. Now, those faculty members have a new advocate and source of support, with the University’s first Senior Fellow for Faculty Engagement.

The Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement (formerly known as Metropolitan Studies) has named Prof. Ryan Kilmer of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to the newly created position for the spring and summer terms. Kilmer will provide guidance and leadership to the new Office’s efforts to facilitate, improve and promote engaged scholarship.

Led by Associate Provost Byron White, the Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement serves as the hub of UNC Charlotte’s engaged scholarship ecosystem, mobilizing, assessing and advancing efforts that connect the University’s interdisciplinary, urban research resources to community assets in order to co-create a thriving, inclusive region.

“This Senior Fellow will provide critical capacity in helping us support the emerging community of engaged scholars at UNC Charlotte who deliberately apply their research and curriculum to economic and social challenges facing the region,” White said. “Dr. Kilmer, who has been recognized for effectively collaborating with the community in his teaching and research for years, is in an ideal position to help establish this important function.”

The Senior Fellow will work through the Office to support UNC Charlotte in coordinating with faculty conducting research using engaged scholarship practices, as well as creating and implementing strategies to provide systemic support for such faculty. Working closely with White and Tamara Johnson, director of Engaged Scholarship, Kilmer will be an advisor and strategic leader, reaching out to faculty and identifying critical areas where they need support. 

He also will provide support and guidance in connecting the various areas that function within the Office, including the Urban Institute, the Institute for Social Capital, the Women+Girls Research Alliance, and the Charlotte Action Research Project.

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to support the Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement. I believe it is critical that we utilize our capacity and expertise on campus to address community challenges and work for the public good. I am glad that, through this role, I will be able to help facilitate those efforts,” said Kilmer, who was awarded the Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement in 2016 and was named a Gambrell Fellow in 2020. A child clinical-community psychologist, his research has focused on improving programs, services, and supports for children and families who have faced diverse challenges and who have been traditionally marginalized, and he serves as director of the Social Aspects of Health Initiative. 

This new fellowship will support key goals in UNC Charlotte’s Civic Action Plan, which charged the university to improve social outcomes in the region through mobilizing our resources and collaborating with the community. To facilitate this, the plan called for “a centralized structure,with dedicated staff, to coordinate and support the University’s community engagement efforts and assess collective impact.”

To learn more about this fellowship and participate in the university’s engaged scholarship efforts, contact Byron White, Associate Provost for Urban Research and Community Engagement, or Tamara Johnson, Director of Engaged Scholarship.