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 a 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 2021-22 are now open and are due April 8th, 2022.

To nominate a community partner for a 2021-22 award, click here.

Awards will be presented in the spring during the PICCE Student Symposium.

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.

The 2019 Community Impact Award is presented to the Spokane Regional Health District’s Walking School Bus program. Under the direction of Jenny Arnold, this partnership with Gonzaga, Whitworth and other organizations has resulted in numerous volunteers walking Spokane’s elementary aged students safely to school. Picking them up from their homes, volunteers are able to provide a safe and consistent environment. The program serves students at Holmes, Logan, and Bemiss Elementary Schools. Volunteers are assigned a route surrounding the elementary school to pick up students that are too close to be bussed. The program provides the students with increase physical activity, personal safety, increased attendance, and strong connections with their community. The Walking School Bus has led to tremendous relationship building opportunities as everyone (kiddos, families, and volunteers) knows that there will be a dedicated person on the route every single morning to smile and say “good morning”.  Campuses like Gonzaga and Whitworth are grateful for programs like the Walking School Bus which help us to live into our anchor mission, creating positive impacts while also building relationships in our neighborhoods.

PICCE is honored to recognize Jenny Arnold, Public Health Educator with Spokane Regional Health District for coordinating a program of significant impact for the health and well-being of our neighborhoods..


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.

The 2019 Mentor of the Year Award  goes to Marianne Sfeir. Marianne partners with multiple colleges and universities to improve students’ learning through their engagement with Family Promise. Marianne is always eager to work with PICCE campus members and gives special consideration to placing students in service experiences that will help them to grow in the knowledge, skills and values. By taking the perspective of students as learners, she is an exceptional co-educator, mindful of assuring quality learning regardless of the discipline or level of experience the student brings. Students at Family Promise serve in various capacities, but one of the most common is the Open Doors Program, a family shelter meeting the emergent needs of adults and children. Students are able to give a face to the experience of homelessness, as one Community-Engaged Learning student wrote in a reflection:

“"Before this experience, I did not have any background in [understanding homelessness] and now I have gotten to see the impacts of poverty which, I now know, stems from a multiplicity of reasons. Open Doors helps those in need of resources as well as creates a close community.”

We are proud to honor Marianne, a Whitworth alumna, for her mentorship of students that grows their knowledge while always placing a premium on the role of relationships to grow students as well as communities.


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 2019 Community Partner of the Year award is presented to Excelerate Success. With a mission to support Spokane area public schools, non-profits, and colleges, they collectively nourish an understanding of racial equity and inclusive practices. In 2018, the organization began a vital public dialogue inviting Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility,” to facilitate a training to challenge whiteness in our systems and institutions. The organization continues to lead these challenging, but critical conversations around identity differences, offering free workshops to support nonprofits with anti-oppressive missions and practices. Excelerate Success has created communities of practice to bring individuals, at every stage of learning, to the table to work toward inclusive outcomes. With this developmental approach, Excelerate Success has brought leadership in an area vital to the success of our nonprofit ecosystem. We applaud their commitment to building our capacity to operate our programs with an anti-oppressive/anti-racist focus and pushing all of us to grow in our work.

CEI 2021 Faculty Awards

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.

The Peer-Review Board of the Community Engagement Institute recognizes Beth Halaas and Vernon Loke of the School of Social Work at Eastern Washington University with their award for excellence in community-engaged learning. Haalas and Loke devised a learning experience for graduate students of social work and for organizational partners to teach the skills of program evaluation. Side-by-side learning brought students and professionals together, filling a gap in professional development for social service organizations. Student teams subsequently completed a program evaluation for partner organizations, adding to their capacity to review and improve programs. Their approach emphasized a reciprocal benefit to students through the engaged learning and community partners who gained skills as well as a completed program evaluation in an area of need. Peer reviewers praised their work as an example of the meaningful investment of the curriculum to meet community needs, as it prepares students professionally through applied learning.

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.