Campus News Georgia Impact

FACS professor named Public Service and Outreach Engaged Scholar

Lance Palmer

Lance Palmer, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences’ housing and consumer economics department, is the 2013 recipient of the Engaged Scholar Award presented annually by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.

Initiated in 2008, this award recognizes a full-time, tenured faculty member for significant contributions in public service, outreach and community engagement.

Palmer is being recognized for his work during the past seven years with Georgia United Credit Union to develop an Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in Clarke County. Staffed by students in what are called service-learning courses, VITA provides free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income households.

“Palmer is an excellent example of how a faculty member can enrich students’ experiences and benefit Georgia,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for public service and outreach. “He has made both a programmatic and a practical difference.”

In 2012, the Clarke VITA site helped approximately 680 households file their federal and state income tax returns while also providing financial education, savings incentive programs and individualized financial coaching. To date, more than 400 UGA students have served the Athens community through Palmer’s VITA.

He also is working with other colleges, universities and organizations throughout Georgia to establish VITA sites in their communities.

His plan is to expand the service-learning-based VITA partnerships in Dalton, Atlanta, Fort Valley and Moultrie.