Bonnie E. Cone Professorship in Civic Engagement

The Bonnie E. Cone Professorship in Civic Engagement was established in 2017 and is awarded annually to a tenured member of the faculty whose teaching and/or research embody the University’s commitment to civic involvement, and whose work profoundly and systematically affects the relationship between UNC Charlotte and the larger community in a positive and meaningful way.

Faculty “engagement” refers to scholarly, creative, or pedagogical activities for the public good directed toward persons and groups outside the University. Such activities (in the form of research and/or teaching) develop as collaborative interactions that respond to short and long-term societal needs. The University recognizes the importance of establishing relationships of reciprocity and trust with community partners. Engagement serves people in the city, state, nation, or wider world through a continuum of academically informed activities.

*Prior to 2017, faculty were recognized for their community engagement efforts through the Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement.


The Professorship appointment will be for a three-year term. Each year, a recipient will be named.


The appointment will include the inscription of the professor’s name on a permanent plaque, recognition at the annual Provost’s Awards Reception, a stipend, and faculty development funds annually for three years. Additionally, each recipient will be named a Senior Fellow for Faculty Engagement in urbanCORE, holding a one-year appointment that affords the Fellow time and resources to design a project that addresses institutional barriers to engaged scholarship in the area of research, merit, curriculum or partnerships.
Note: In the first year of their award term, the recipient of the Bonnie E. Cone Professorship in Civic Engagement also becomes the UNC Charlotte nominee for the Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.

Nomination Process

All UNC Charlotte faculty, staff, and students or members of the Charlotte area community are invited to nominate a faculty member for this honor. The nomination letter should document how the faculty member has demonstrated outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: student engagement in the community through teaching, community-engaged research, and/or community-engaged creative scholarship.

The nomination period is currently closed.

Selection Committee

The Bonnie E. Cone Professorship in Civic Engagement selection committee is comprised of members of the faculty who were the previous recipients of the award, the Director of the Levine Scholars Program, the Director of Community Relations, and one community partner.


  • 2023: Mr. Carlos Cruz, Theatre
  • 2022: Dr. Susan McCarter, Social Work
  • 2021: Dr. Kim Buch, Psychological Science
  • 2020: Dr. Joanne Carman, Political Science
  • 2019: Dr. Mark West, English
  • 2018: Dr. Janni Sorensen, Geography & Earth Sciences
  • 2017: Dr. Thomas Schmedake, Chemistry*
  • 2016: Dr. Ryan Kilmer, Psychology*
  • 2015: Dr. José Gámez, Architecture*
  • 2014: Dr. Heather Smith, Geography & Earth Sciences*
  • 2013: Dr. James Cook, Psychology*

* Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement recipient (i.e., prior to change of award title)