Annual Awards

PICCE recognizes outstanding faculty and community partners each year, highlighting impact and innovation in our community.  We showcase community partners for their excellence in partnering with institutions of higher education, the service as co-educators of college students, and their creativity in developing projects and research to involve students in solving real-world problems.  We also honor faculty from regional institutions of higher education for their commitment to community-based learning and their excellence in research that addresses the critical needs in our region.

Nominations for Awards

We invite faculty, staff and students at area institutions of higher education to nominate individuals or organizations in any of the following categories:

Impact Award: our annual award to recognize a new partnership, program or initiative bringing higher education and community partners together to make significant impact on critical issues facing Spokane.  Nominations in this category may focus on innovative service-learning, community-based research, philanthropy, or project-based work that creates a significant and demonstrable community impact while advancing knowledge creation and the greater good.

Mentor of the Year Award: this annual award recognizes a specific community leader who, in partnership with higher education, has advanced the learning of students, the research of faculty or the capacity of campuses to have an impact on the local community.  The recipient of the award is a co-educator and community scholar of practice in the fullest sense.

Community Partner of the Year: an award to recognize an agency or organization whose partnerships with Spokane campuses achieve a depth and breadth of collaboration and reciprocity.  Recipient organizations are typically a part of the learning, volunteerism, philanthropy and scholarship of multiple campuses, and they invest their time in both their mission as well as knowledge creation for community impact.

Nominations for 2018-19 are now open.

To nominate a community partner for a 2018-19 award , click here.

Awards will be presented on Tuesday, 16 April 2019, at 5 PM at Whitworth University.

Community Partner Awards


Impact Award

The Impact Award recognizes an innovative program of community engagement, bringing universities, students, faculty and staff to support our community in a novel and effective manner.

This year’s Community Impact Award is presented to the Computer Science Teachers' Association Spokane Chapter. Under the direction of Pete Tucker, Rob Bryant, and Terry Yeigh, this partnership has grown into a flourishing network of industry and education professionals committed to growing Computer Science learning opportunities in our region. Through corporate sponsorship and foundation funding, the CS Education group has developed partnerships between local campuses, school districts and non-profits to support ELO and summer education programs, such as STEMplosion and summer STEM camps in the Mead School District, Hours of Code with Spokane Public Schools and Spark Central, and project-based learning with Pride Prep. The network has also created numerous project-based and direct-service, community-based learning courses, providing hundreds of hours of classroom support by CS majors in local schools and a breadth of free tech solutions for local non-profits, from databases to websites, algorithms, apps and communications solutions. The CS Education Partnership is exemplary for the reciprocity and mutual benefit brought to all members.

PICCE is honored to recognize Rob Bryant, Computer Science Faculty at Gonzaga University, Terry Yeigh, Rogers High School, and Pete Tucker (pictured above), Computer Science Faculty at Whitworth University for their efforts in the Computer Science Teachers' Association Spokane Chapter.


Mentor of the Year

The Mentor of the Year Award recognizes an individual community partner for his/her excellence in advancing students’ learning and facilitating meaningful outcomes for our community.

This year’s Mentor of the Year Award is presented to Bridget Carstens. Bridget partners with Gonzaga University and other area colleges and universities on multiple levels improving student learning throughout their engagement at St. Anne’s. Bridget's constant willingness to work with us and our students to enhance student experiences makes her a model co-educator. Below is the quote from a Community Engaged Learning student:

“When I was in the process of choosing a place to volunteer at, I knew immediately once I met Bridget that I would love to be at St. Anne's. When she introduced me to the children and family center, she was so friendly and caring for all the children that it motivated me to work with the kids. She is so appreciative of everyone's time at St. Anne's, and makes me feel like I helped contribute to their hardworking programs. She really is a light at St. Anne's, and surely made an impact on me. I know that she is touching so many other people's lives, too!”

PICCE is honored to recognize Bridget Carstens, St. Anne's Volunteer Coordinator, for her commitment to the students and our community.


Community Partner of the Year

The Community Partner of the Year Award recognizes an agency in our community that has partnered with universities at multiple levels, including service-learning, Community-Based Research, place-based initiatives, and reciprocal service.

The 2018 Community Partner of the Year award is presented to Spark Central. Spark Central provides the West Central community with free opportunities for creative expression and learning, fighting pay-to-play culture and nurturing inspiration in an under-resourced neighborhood. Spark partners with multiple campuses to bring volunteers into service in support of its many programs. The organization supports student interns from Gonzaga, Whitworth and SFCC. Dean Vincent Alfonso of Gonzaga's School of Education serves on Spark's board, and Gonzaga faculty in education have created "Reading Nights" at Spark staffed with teacher candidates, leading literacy activities. The MFA program at EWU has supported Spark's "West Central Publishing Field Trip" program, with graduate students leading West Central youth through the experience of writing and publishing their own books in a single afternoon. It is fitting that Spark's mission is to support creative expression in West Central, for the staff has truly demonstrated creativity by partnering with so many campuses to bring the unique knowledge and skills of students and faculty into service.

PICCE is honored to recognize Brooke Matson, Executive Director at Spark Central, and her team for Spark Central’s collaboration and reciprocal partnership with several area universities and colleges.

Faculty Awards


Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Learning

The Award for Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Learning is a recognition for excellence in a scholarship of community-based teaching and learning. Presenters in this area explored how their teaching and students’ work in the community helped to advance outcomes for our neighborhoods or around critical-issue areas.

Cassandra Gulam (left) of Washington State University, Vancouver, was identified by her peers for excellence in community-based learning for her presentation entitled, “Language Learners in the Community: Partnering with Safety-Net Medical Clinics in Clark County.” The review board specifically applauded Cassandra’s attention to including her partners in the identification of project goals. The purpose and methods were clear, meeting learning needs as much as community needs.  In the words of one reviewer, the project offered “Well-demonstrated community need (expressed in advance of project design), application of skills to problem-solving, clarity of measurable outcomes, replicability (for those of us who might want to try this at our institution), and a strong intercultural competency component. I love, love, love this project and the way it addresses one of the biggest challenges (and virtues) in American health communication: our diversity!” Overall, Cassandra’s work modeled the kind of reciprocity that reviewers desired to see practiced between folks in higher education and the community.

Excellence in Community-Based Research

The Award for Excellence in Community-Based Research recognizes a community-based research. Award recipients advanced a project applying disciplinary expertise to a problem in the community in order to address and solve a critical issue.

The review board has chosen Shanna Davis (middle) and Allison Wilson (right) of Eastern Washington University for excellence in their community-engaged scholarship. Shanna’s and Allison’s presentation is called “Hello ELLO: Using Community Spaces to Address the 30 Million Word Gap.” The project involves partnerships in the community to allow placement of Everyday Language and Literacy Opportunities (the ELLO part of Hello ELLO) in public spaces to encourage language interaction among caregivers and children from birth to age 5. The project’s goal is to redress the language-acquisition gap among children from lower and higher-income families. You can now find ELLO opportunities in the county libraries, some grocery stores banks and even on some buses in Spokane. Shanna and Allison have collected data on the effectiveness of ELLO opportunities in the grocery store environment and are working on data from the partnership with Spokane Transit.