Campus News Georgia Impact

Public Service & Outreach Awards 2017

Tina Harris

The Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach will recognize seven faculty and staff members for outstanding service to the state and UGA April 17 at the 26th annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon. 

2017 Engaged Scholar

Tina Harris, a professor in the communication studies department in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is this year’s recipient of the Engaged Scholar Award. This annual award recognizes a full-time, tenured faculty member for significant contributions in public service, outreach and community engagement. 

Harris teaches courses and conducts research primarily in the area of interracial communication. Through her courses, she challenges students to not only translate theory to practice, but also to become critical thinkers committed to positively impacting their many communities.

Staff Award for Excellence

The recipient of the Public Service and Outreach Staff Award for Excellence is Kate Smith, a program coordinator at the Fanning Institute. In her role, she serves as lead support for the institute’s youth leadership programs as well as leadership programs focusing on individual and community growth.  

Walter Barnard Hill Awards  

Five faculty members and service professionals will receive the Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia and beyond.

This year’s Hill Award recipients are Tracy Arner, Melanie Biersmith, Danny Bivins, Dennis Hancock and Janet Rechtman.

Tracy Arner manages the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s financial management training program, which provides specialized training and certification to finance officers, elected officials and others who serve in local governments and state agencies.

Melanie Biersmith is the statewide coordinator for UGA’s Georgia 4-H Environmental Education Program and manages operations of 4-H centers at Wahsega, Fortson, Burton and Camp Jekyll.

Danny Bivins, a senior public service associate with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s Strategic Operations and Planning Assistance division, provides expertise in downtown ­development, planning and design, historic preservation, quality growth and regionalism.

Dennis Hancock, an associate professor in UGA’s crop and soil sciences department and the State Forage Extension Specialist, helps resolve basic and comprehensive issues facing forage and livestock producers in Georgia.

Janet Rechtman is the co-leader for the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development’s nonprofit leadership development and capacity building practice where she develops, delivers and evaluates programming and training for communities, organizations and individuals in Georgia and beyond.