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Ben Kuebrich Receives Chancellor's Award for Public Engagement

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that Ben Kuebrich, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric PhD student, has received a 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship (CAPES) for his work with community organizing in the West Side neighborhood.  Kuebrich received a Chancellor’s Citation, which recognizes campus members who have demonstrated significant, long-term participation in active learning and citizenship through public and community service, in addition to providing leadership and a strong personal commitment to regenerating and sustaining community. The award website reads:

Ben Kuebrich with Chancellor Nancy Cantor


Ben Kuebrich, a Ph.D. student in the writing program in The College of Arts and Sciences, led a two-week intensive training for undergraduates on community organizing, which culminated in a two-day workshop for 25 community organizations in Syracuse. He is working with the Westside Residents’ Coalition and with the Gifford Street Community Press on establishing a mission statement, editorial board and publishing the first book. Kuebrich helped to develop the Police Delegation Board and to publish I Witness, Perspectives on Policing in the Near West Side, a book that brought together police and residents to talk about how crime should be managed in the neighborhood. He will spend the summer working to develop writing groups in the West Side neighborhood.

Kuebrich explains that he was fortunate to be able to tap into the work being done on the West Side by Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Steve Parks, and he has continued work in that community to learn how to be a better community organizer. Kuebrich writes, “It has been a really meaningful experience for me to contribute to a project where residents represent their own neighborhood on their own terms.  I am happy to be at an institution where the Chancellor recognizes this work as important, and I am equally happy to be in an academic department that is so committed to and supportive of civically engaged scholarship and action.”

I Witness has received a great deal of attention in the local press, as the Syracuse Post Standard has put together a series of pieces that seek to explore issues of mistrust, fear, and dialogue with respect to policing in the West Side. The series, which includes excerpts from the book as well as audio and video clips, offers perspectives from a number of people living and working in the area, and it shows the tremendous impact that this book has had on the West Side and the larger Syracuse community.

More information on the 2012 Chancellor's Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship can be found on SU News.


Photo Courtesy SU Photo Archives.