Sarah Vitale, Ball State University

2021 Emerging Leaders in Community Impact

Sarah Vitale is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ball State University

For the first time, Indiana Campus Compact is honoring faculty and graduate teaching assistants from multiple Indiana Campus Compact partner institutions who are in the first seven years of their career and who demonstrate leadership and innovation in advancing and shaping community engagement across the field. The Indiana Campus Compact Emerging Leaders in Community Engagement recognition is designed to lift up emerging engaged scholarship work and the scholars who do it.

In her nomination letter, Jennifer Blackmer, Ball State’s Executive Director of Immersive Learning, said, “Dr. Vitale is committed to preparing undergraduates to advance the public good. She is passionate, focused, and committed to utilizing the humanities as a driver for community growth and providing a practical roadmap for faculty working in fields that, on the surface, might be less likely to employ community engagement as a strategy. In Sarah’s case, her results speak volumes, and point to the incredible impacts that community engaged strategies can have on faculty, students, and community partners alike—regardless of academic discipline. Of particular note is Sarah’s ongoing immersive learning project, the Philosophy Outreach Project. Far more than a simple recruitment strategy, in the Philosophy Outreach Project her students learn what it means to act in a socially responsible manner as they wrestle with complicated issues such as mass incarceration, generational poverty, and how institutions function within the framework of societies. The project also provides significant benefits to area schools struggling to find meaningful ways to engage in the humanities beyond cursory topics scattered throughout a heavily regulated curriculum. The level of high school student participation has been surprising and exciting, indicating a real need for this kind of work.”