Written By: Kelsey Anderson
University Health Services– Health Communications Specialist
Claire Berezowitz, a joint doctoral student in the Civil Society and Community Research in the School of Human Ecology and Departments of Educational Psychology, is one of 10 recipients (in the nation) of the 2016 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. The award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and community responsibility in themselves and others.
Berezowitz’s research, teaching, and leadership focuses on the relationship between students’ civic engagement and their well-being, as well as the collective health and well-being of students, families, and communities. She is scheduled to earn her Ph.D. in May 2018.
Berezowitz and her fellow recipients will be honored at the organization’s annual meeting beginning January 20 in Washington, D.C.
The award selection process was highly competitive, with more than 275 nominations from universities across the country. “These recipients represent the finest in the new generation of faculty who will teach and lead higher education in the next decades,” says Carol Geary Schneider, president of Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the organization that administers the awards.
“I’m honored to receive this award from an organization [the AAC&U] that I admire,” says Berezowitz. “Early on in my studies, the AAC&U Bringing Theory to Practice Project supported my efforts to convene a Civic Seminar, bringing together students, faculty, and staff from all across campus to explore the many curricular and co-curricular ways in which civic engagement efforts contribute to student health and well-being.”
Since receiving her first AAC&U grant, Berezowitz studied the development of students’ civic competencies with the aim of addressing health disparities and inequities in the social determinants of health. She is also interested in how these civic experiences impact the individual well-being of students.
“I feel very fortunate to be recognized for my teaching and research in this way.”
During her doctoral studies, Berezowitz has worked as the civic engagement and health equity project assistant with University Health Services (UHS) Prevention Services team where she coordinates campus and community efforts to develop UW-Madison students’ civic capacities to promote psychosocial well-being and address health disparities.
“Claire’s passion for teaching and learning, and her expertise in civic engagement, helps to ensure a more robust college experience for our students,” says Katherine Loving, manager of UHS Campus & Community Partnerships in UHS’s Prevention unit. “She supports students in doing evidence-based work as well as evaluating it to discover new knowledge to contribute to the field.”
In addition to her work with UHS, Berezowitz collaborated with faculty and other graduate students to deliver a community-based evaluation course, which allowed UW-Madison graduate students to learn and implement the process and methods for an evaluation of a coalition-led school garden grant program in the Madison Metropolitan School District in collaboration with the community partners. This initiative measured both the efficacy of the program in engaging the community, as well as the gardens’
impact on student engagement with learning. It was designed so that coalition members were both community partners and co-instructors of the UW-Madison graduate-level course.
She also collaboratively developed interdisciplinary courses that link academic and community learning, including the course Leadership for Civic Engagement and Social Change, which aims to develop civic competencies and leadership abilities among underrepresented students on campus.
“Claire is committed to understanding how civic experiences are related to students’ thriving, how academic and civic development are interwoven, and how higher education can enable students to apply their learning to public problem solving,” says Dr. Connie Flanagan, professor and Associate Dean in the School of Human Ecology, who has collaborated with Berezowitz on several projects.
She received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Public Service from the University of Notre Dame, and her Ed.M. in Human Development & Psychology from Harvard University.
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