The Excellence in Academic Outreach award honors those who exemplify UT’s land-grant mission by using intellectual capital to benefit the citizens of Tennessee.
Robert Kronick, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling and director of University Assisted Community Schools, has been the force behind the full-service schools movement in our community for 20 years. His work combines community activism, service to diverse and at-risk populations, UT student involvement, action research, and scholarship. Thanks to his efforts, three of Knoxville’s Title I schools offer medical and dental care, tutoring, counseling, and after-school and summer enrichment programs to more than 2,100 students and their families. In turn, these schools provide meaningful clinical and research experience for more than 300 UT students each year. Kronick has procured over $1.5 million in grant funding to develop and maintain these programs, and he has published extensively on the importance of partnerships between universities and communities in support of school reform. Although Kronick’s focus has been on Knoxville, his school reform efforts have ignited a movement that’s grown far beyond UT and earned recognition by the Carnegie Advisory Committee, which chose his program as one of 50 exemplary partnerships in 2015.
When asked why he shifted his research from an early focus on prison systems to elementary schools, Kronick said he wanted to have an early impact on people’s lives in the hope that they might escape incarceration. One colleague observed that Kronick “changes the world one student, one family, one classroom, one school, one school district . . . at a time.”