Two WSU Faculty Honored with Lindquist Award
OGDEN, Utah – For their commitment to community engagement, social justice and innovative teaching, two Weber State University professors received the John A. Lindquist Award for 2020. Teacher education professor Forrest Crawford and physics professor Adam Johnston have worked to enhance connections, so even in a time of social distancing, communities and individuals support each other and learn together.
The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) administers the award, which is traditionally given during an annual symposium. This year the honorees, as well as community partners, faculty, staff and students involved in community engagement, are recognized on the CCEL Symposium Celebration website.
Forrest Crawford arrived at Weber State on a football scholarship in 1972 and earned his degree in sociology just three years later. He returned to the university in 1977 to begin a career that included counseling, teaching and advocating for diversity and social justice.
Crawford was appointed Weber State’s first assistant to the president for institutional diversity in 1992 where he had the capacity and commitment to bring people together in a shared vision. He helped establish WSU’s Native American Symposium and the Annual Diversity Conference.
As a long-time advisor to WSU’s student club Black Scholars United, Crawford continues to mentor and teach students, helping them match their skills to community needs for the benefit of both.
“Part of what I try to do, now, more than ever, is to make sure my students understand and apply clear, everyday practical and effective content in the classroom with the reality of what they experience or absorb on a daily basis. Equally important is helping our students explore and embrace meaning, context and practice toward personal growth -- ‘Knowing, Caring, Acting!’ What other way is justice delivered in a fair and equitable manner?”
Crawford’s impact has reached far beyond the university as he established organizations that amplified his passion such as the Utah Coalition for the Advancement of Minorities in Higher Education. In 1991, he co-founded and served five years as chair of Gov. Michael Leavitt’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Commission. Crawford was instrumental in the establishment of the official holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Utah. In 2019, Crawford celebrated the passage of Utah’s hate crime bill, which he had championed for many years.
Crawford served as secretary general for the International Society for Teacher Education from 2011 to 2016. He has worked within the NAACP, the Utah Migrant Council and Ogden’s Marshall White Center to provide youth education and enrichment. He helped found the Northern Utah HIV/AIDS Coalition where he currently serves as chair. He has also helped educate and inspire the Ogden community with international traveling art exhibits and tuition-free humanities courses through the Utah Humanities Council Venture Project.
Coretta Scott King praised Crawford for his lifetime of service. “Your commitment to educate, train and encourage your students using Kingian principles of nonviolent social changes, has touched the lives of many,” she said. “You have been instrumental in promoting the legacy of Dr. King through your speeches, essays and editorials.”
Watching Adam Johnston teach science in the classroom, the park or on the dance floor, it’s hard to tell who’s most enthralled, the teacher or the student. Making science approachable and applicable to all ages is Johnston’s goal and gift.
Johnston fits the lessons to the students. For example in 2007, he initiated Science in the Parks in partnership with Ogden School District’s free summer lunch program. After students eat, they spend an hour participating in a collection of interactive, playful, and fun science activities.
“We reach out to the community, kids in particular, to show them science is something that they can do every day -- at home in the kitchen or out on the playground,” Johnston said. “That’s the attitude scientists have, and we want to share with kids. Summer seems to be the right setting and the right time for that kind of playful attitude to take place.”
Johnston’s collaborations include co-creating “Dance/Science Fest: A Body in Motion and Forces at Play,” with dance professor Erik Stern. The performances and workshops encourage understanding of a body in space and the intersection of science and art. Johnston also consults with the Stewart Treehouse Museum in Ogden, where his students set up unique STEM activities for both children and grownups.
Former students Celia Nilson and Misti Haslam, secondary science teachers, wrote in a nomination letter, “Dr. Johnston always has encouraged us to be open to possibilities for children. He has demonstrated through example how to speak with young minds about the world and how to make them see, question, and become invested in the answers.”
Statewide, Johnston is a consultant and instructor for the Elementary STEM Endorsement program. He is also the higher education representative for the Utah Science Teachers Association; in 2010, the association named him Utah’s Outstanding University Science Educator.
The consummate teacher’s teacher, Dr. Johnston has worked broadly to prepare and mentor new teachers and develop science curriculum for WSU’s College of Science. He is the former director of WSU’s Teaching and Learning Forum. He has also written and presented widely on science education.
“I started my career at Weber State knowing I loved to teach physics, but I had to learn that the really important parts of teaching that I love are building relationships and making connections with communities,” Johnston said. “This understanding feels particularly salient right now as we’re trying to hold onto relationships in the midst of separating ourselves.”
The award is named for John A. Lindquist, a strong advocate of education and the community, who spent a lifetime supporting Ogden, Weber County and Weber State. Lindquist’s ties to WSU date back to the late 1930s, when he attended Weber College and was a student body officer. Throughout his lifetime, he generously supported cultural, academic, athletic, and student activities and programs.
“The Center for Community Engaged Learning is honored to house the John A. Lindquist award and is grateful to Kathryn Lindquist for establishing the award to recognize her father's legacy,” said Becky Jo Gesteland, CCEL executive director. “This year we're pleased to present the Lindquist Award to two dedicated faculty members who exemplify a commitment to engaged learning and sustained efforts to improve student-faculty-community relations. Both Forrest Crawford and Adam Johnston epitomize this award’s intent.”
Center for Community Engaged Learning
In 2018-19, Weber State students logged more 130,000 engagement hours, which translates to roughly $3,373,000.00 service to the community, (calculated by Independent Sector). In addition CCEL had 91 registered community partners and distributed over 5,300 pounds of food through the Weber Cares Pantry -- a 1,000 pounds increase from the previous year. Through CCEL’s partnerships and programs, students develop into socially responsible, civically engaged community members.
“Now, more than ever, we need to connect to our community and find ways to support each other,” said Becky Jo Gesteland, CCEL director. “Those who want to be engaged can visit our website where we’ve posted virtual community engagement opportunities that address issues of public concern, deepen the educational experience and strengthen campus-community connections.”
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
For photos, visit the following links.
For video, visit the following link.