Welcome New Associate Director Dr. Kristy Howell!

Posted on January 09, 2023

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ICEE welcomes Dr. Kristy Howell to the team as the new Associate Director. Dr. Howell comes to UNCG from Johnson County Community College in Kansas, where she served as the Education and Engagement Coordinator in the Center for Sustainability. We are thrilled to have Kristy on the team and we hope you will welcome her on campus when you see her. Learn more about her work here.

A quick hello from Dr. Kristy Howell,  the new Associate Director of UNCG’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement:

I am so pleased to join Emily, Erica, Madeline, Isi, and the group of community leaders and scholars working to expand UNCG’s work in the Greensboro community. As I start my first full week on campus, I’m especially excited to support the continued success of the Partnerships and Pathways grants, the Collaboratory, and to explore what opportunities UNCG offers for me to support employee professional development, expanding ICEE’s reach even further. 

My work as a scholar and educator overlap wonderfully with so many of UNCG’s and ICEE’s community commitments, that I count myself especially lucky to have joined the team and campus at this point in my career. For the past decade, I’ve worked to advance social, cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability in higher education and the communities we serve as educators. In my most recent professional position, I was the sustainability education and engagement coordinator for Johnson County Community College’s Center for Sustainability, where I supported professional development for faculty, education for sustainability across the curriculum, student leadership for more sustainable campus practices, and better communication of institutional sustainability work. In addition to my commitments in the office, I was active in serving campus as a member of our staff and college councils and as a co-chair of our diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning goals.

My research intersects with the work of sustainability, broadly defined, and community engagement. I’m an historian by training, and I bring a particular interest in higher education history – especially the ways community colleges in the Midwest created themselves and their institutional cultures as “open access” institutions within historically redlined communities. Beyond working on turning two campus case studies, on campuses in Kansas and Illinois, into journal articles, my current research expands things a bit – geographically, anyway – to look at the integration of community colleges in Mississippi.

Community connections to the academy are something about which I’m particularly passionate. I’ve worked for years – both as vocation and avocation – on issues at the intersection of sustainability, history, social justice and equity. The most rewarding community service opportunities I’ve had have been focused on education and service related to learning (and unlearning) community histories, more accountable and just policing, environmental racism and the climate crisis, and the social determinants of health. I look forward to finding ways to engage in similar community service here in Greensboro. I’m especially excited to find all the ways UNCG’s record of community engaged scholarship and service overlap with the connections and service I love. 

Outside the office, I’m an avid knitter and over-caffeinated (but still slow) runner, a fearless cook, and an insatiable reader. My husband Thomas (a Wilmington native) and I have two cats and two thousand books. We are both excited to be closer to family, and he’s overjoyed to return to the land of “real barbecue.” I know work like this can’t happen just from an office, so as I get more familiar with Greensboro and UNCG, I welcome your thoughts on where you think I should bring my laptop, coffee and a knitting project to get to know all of you. You’re always welcome to drop me a line at kwhowell@uncg.edu, or to follow my professional account on Instagram – @drkristyhowell.

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