NC Campus Compact
Duke University’s Kathy Sikes has been honored with the 2022 Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award by North Carolina Campus Compact, a network of colleges and universities committed to civic and community engagement. The award recognizes a higher education administrator in the state who works to realize a campus-wide vision of service, supports the engagement of faculty and students, and forms innovative campus-community partnerships.
For decades, as one nominator states, Sikes has been a “staunch advocate for service-learning.” She currently serves as the Senior Fellow for Duke Service-Learning where, among other responsibilities, she develops tools for mentoring undergraduate community-based research and integrating critical service-learning and social justice practices into the core work of the program. She has also introduced new and engaging opportunities for partnership between Duke Service Learning and local nonprofit organizations. Sikes currently serves as a team lead for a Bass Connections project focused on documenting effective practice and stories of community-based research at Duke. She has extended her impact beyond Duke by presenting at many of the major conferences in the higher education service-learning and community engagement field, including the International Association for Service learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) conference. Sikes was the Senior Assistant Director for Programs and Outreach for DukeEngage from 2013-2019.
She served as the Program Manager for the Learning to Teach, Learning to Serve grant which funded faculty at 12 NC colleges and universities, sponsored 72 new courses and engaged 900 pre- service teachers in service. Building on Learning to Teach, Learning to Serve, she developed a second project funding service-learning practice and research in 14 teacher education programs across the country. Sikes has promoted this effort internationally serving as the Executive Administrative Director for the International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE) and hosting an international conference at Duke.
Fiercely passionate about literacy, Sikes currently directs the NC LiteracyCorps, a 59 member team focused on improved education outcomes for NC communities through social justice service and action. She is responsible for reviving this highly impactful AmeriCorps program that supports literacy in North Carolina by providing both direct-service and capacity building to nonprofit educational organizations across the state. The program had dissolved in 2019 leaving many organizations without this important resource. Thanks to her initiative, experience and leadership, the NC LiteracyCorps is back and now housed at Duke. Before coming to Duke in 2009 Sikes served as the Executive Director for the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) at UNC Chapel Hill for over a decade. SCALE’s mission is to mobilize and support college students and campus-based programs to address the literacy needs of the community. Under her leadership, SCALE engaged hundreds of undergraduate students to work in literacy education across the country and was honored with the Provost’s Engaged Scholarship Award. She also helped organize a highly attended annual conference that led many young people to be civically-engaged through literacy education. Sikes previously served on the board of the National Coalition for Literacy and currently serves on the board of the Durham Literacy Center.
Sikes is a prolific fund-raiser and grant-writer having raised over $5 million over her career to support literacy, service-learning and engagement.
Sikes earned her master’s degree in education from North Carolina Central University and her bachelor’s in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
North Carolina Campus Compact recognized Sikes during its annual Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) conference hosted virtually on February 9.
North Carolina Campus Compact is a collaborative network of 38 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. Learn more at www.nccampuscompact.org