The University of Connecticut has recognized two faculty members with the 2021 Provost’s Outstanding Service Award. The award honors faculty whose volunteer service is exemplary in enhancing the University’s mission in teaching, research, service, or engagement.
This year’s two recipients are Carol Atkinson-Palombo, professor of geography, core faculty in urban and community studies, affiliate faculty of the Human Rights Institute, and director of environmental studies; and Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, professor of history, an affiliate of American studies, and founding director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music.
“I am so pleased to recognize these two stellar members of our UConn community. They have both contributed significantly in sustaining a rigorous, collaborative, and creative environment for colleagues and students. I am grateful for all they have done, and will undoubtedly continue to do as leading citizens of our university,” said Carl Lejuez, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
Carol Atkinson-Palombo has been a faculty member at UConn since 2007. Nomination materials highlighted her sound reputation as an excellent, caring educator in tandem with her profile as an internationally recognized scholar of human-environment interactions. In terms of service, she has made substantial contributions in numerous areas, notably in environmental studies and engagement in faculty governance.
Atkinson-Palombo has been a central figure in the advancement of environmental studies and sciences opportunities at UConn. In addition to serving as the director for environmental studies and teaching the capstone course for that major, she has also served on the environmental sciences board that supported the undergraduate program since 2016. As a further step to embed human-environment issues in students’ academic experience, she was a leading advocate in the successful adoption of an environmental literacy general education requirement.
Atkinson-Palombo has also been an active presence in University Senate since 2015. She joined the Senate Executive Committee in 2018 and served as its chair during the 2020-21 academic year, skillfully managing the many new challenges that accompanied university concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to that, she chaired the Senate University Budget Committee, where her knowledge from the business sector and attention to detail were key to bringing more transparency in this area. During her tenure on Senate and SEC, Atkinson-Palombo has been an advocate for diversity and equity for women. She was also involved in University Metanoia serving on the Steering Committee for the Metanoia on the Environment.
Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar has been a faculty member at UConn since 1997. Ogbar has been the model of a productive scholar, dedicated university citizen, and sterling UConn ambassador. While producing pioneering scholarship in the fields of history and African-American studies and teaching some of the most popular undergraduate courses, Ogbar has developed an extensive record of service that reflects his commitments to excellence, diversity, and engagement benefitting virtually every sector of the UConn community.
He served as director of the Institute for African American Studies (now the Africana Studies Institute) from 2003-2009, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2009 to 2012, and vice provost for diversity from 2012-2014. Countless university-level committees and advisory boards have consulted with Ogbar for his expertise, across a breadth of areas. Committee memberships have ranged from advisory roles in support of the African American Cultural Center, Disability Studies, First Year Programs, UConn Athletics, Study Abroad and beyond. He’s had a hand in bringing many of the best and brightest to UConn, serving on search committees for University president, director of Women’s Studies, director of African American Studies, the heads of Philosophy and English, director of the Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Indigenous Studies faculty, and even the director of Public Safety and Chief of Police. He has also been a tireless advocate and mentor for students of color and first-generation students in a variety of capacities, formal and informal. He is a mentor for faculty of color and a model for all UConn faculty members. In addition to a recruiter and a mentor, he is also a program-builder, serving as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music.
The 2022 Provost’s Outstanding Service Award will open for nominations in the spring semester. More information is available on the Provost’s Office website.