Dr. Adam Kuban, Ball State University

2021 Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for the Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement

Dr. Adam Kuban Ball State

We start the awards and recognition ceremony with the Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for the Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement. The award was established in 2000 to honor Indiana Campus Compact staff member Brian Douglas Hiltunen and his work with faculty who practice the scholarship of engagement. Brian Hiltunen served Indiana Campus Compact for four years as a project director and helped to design many of our faculty development programs prior to his death in 1999.

This award continues Brian’s legacy as it lifts up and honors mid- to late-career faculty at Indiana Campus Compact partner institutions who exemplify what it means to be an engaged scholar.

In his nomination letter, Department Chair Johnny Sparks said, “Dr. Kuban has pursued numerous project-based teaching opportunities that immerse his students and him in real-time challenges, typically alongside community partners such as nonprofit organizations. From these opportunities emerge both traditional research and creative scholarship, which often create unique experiences and accolades for our students.”

Since 2014, Dr. Kuban has worked with 42 students and 6 community partners to prepare and deliver accepted presentations at 30 academic conferences and juried film festivals—in connection to these engaged endeavors. For example, in his Water Quality Indiana program, two of his students received regional Emmy nominations for their work on Downstream: Connecting Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico, a documentary about water quality . . . and another two undergraduates have been published in In The Trenches, a pedagogical periodical from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

In his nomination letter, community partner Wade Garard, Co-Founder & CEO of First Point Volleyball Foundation, said he nominated Dr. Kuban because of his work “leading a team of undergraduate students in the development of an original documentary titled Match Point: The Rise of Boys’ and Men’s Volleyball.” This work represents a collaborative effort with the First Point Volleyball Foundation and is Chaired by Olympic coach John Speraw.

First Point Volleyball Foundation is a national group focused on growing the number of opportunities for boys and men to play volleyball in the U.S., and the organization is aggressively focused on increasing opportunities for minority athletes. Their work has been instrumental in the development of six new programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), all of which have begun recruiting efforts and together will constitute an entirely new NCAA conference for Men’s Volleyball.

Mr. Garard described Adam as one of the most innovative, thoughtful, and engaging educators at Ball State University, and an outstanding teacher and scholar in immersive learning.