Association for Community Organization & Social Administration

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The Marie O. Weil Outstanding Scholarship Award

This award recognizes outstanding scholarship published in the Journal of Community Practice. Articles published within a volume year are reviewed and selected by an awards committee comprised of ACOSA scholars.  Selected articles are based on various criteria including contribution to the field, scholarly approach, and promotion of macro practice values. Taylor and Francis, the publisher of the Journal of Community Practice, co-sponsors this award.


2018: Megan E. Gilster, University of Iowa, and Cristian L. Meier, Utah State University

Article: Gilster, M. E., & Meier, C. L. (2018) Formal and informal social organization: Do geography, structural inequality, and other forms of social organization matter? Journal of Community Practice, 25(2), 172-189.


2017: Akilah Dulin Keita, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University; Lonnie Hannon, Department of Psychology & Sociology, Tuskegee University; David Buys, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Mississippi State University; Krista Casazza, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Olivio Clay, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Article: Dulin Keita, A., Hannon, L., Buys, D., Casazza, K., & Clay, O. (2016). Surrounding community residents’ expectations of HOPE VI for their community, health and physical activity. Journal of Community Practice, 24(1), 18-37. doi:10.1080/10705422.2015.1129005




Dr. Michael J. Parks, Minnesota Department of Health, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division

Article: Parks, M. J. (2015). Who Is Our Neighbor? Toward a Multilevel and Cross-National Roadmap for Building Community Capacity. Journal of Community Practice, 23(2), 182-202.



Dr. Alice B. Gates, University of Portland

Article: (2014) Integrating Social Services and Social Change: Lessons From an Immigrant Worker CenterJournal of Community Practice, 22 (1-2), 102-129. DOI:10.1080/10705422.2014.901270

Dr. Kelly L. Patterson, Dr. Tom Nochajski & Laiyun Wu, University of Buffalo

Article: (2014) Neighborhood Outcomes of Formally Homeless Veterans Participating in the HUD-VASH Program, Journal of Community Practice, 22 (3), 324-341. DOI: 10.1080/10705422.2014.929605










Allison Zippay (not pictured) & Esther Son

Volume 21:
Allison Zippay and Esther Son Community Approaches to the Siting of Psychiatric Housing

Samantha Teixeira & John M. Wallace

Volume 21:
Samantha Teixeira & John M. Wallace Data-Driven Organizing: A Community–University Partnership to Address Vacant and Abandoned Property

2013: Carmen Lavoire
Volume 20: Carmen Lavoire (2012). Race, Power and Social Action in Neighborhood Community Organizing, 20(3), 241-259.
This article has made an outstanding contribution to the field, and a scholarly approach, and promotion of macro practice values.

2012: Claudia Coulton, Tsui Chan, Kristen Mikelbank
Volume 19: Claudia Coulton, Ph.D., Tsui Chan, Ph.D.,  & Kristen Mikelbank, Ph.D. (2011). Finding place in community change initiatives: Using GIS to Uncover Resident Perceptions of their neighborhoods.

Abstract: The growing recognition that place matters has led to numerous foundation- and government-sponsored initiatives that attempt to simultaneously strengthen neighborhoods and address the needs of families that live there. Despite the centrality of the concept of neighborhood, these place-based initiatives have few tools to understand how residents identify with the space within their target areas. This article demonstrates how resident-drawn maps gathered in a household survey can be used to uncover individual and collective neighborhood definitions. Using data gathered as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections program in 10 cities, the study finds that there is considerable variation among residents in how they define their neighborhoods, but that there are also commonly held neighborhood identities that need to be taken into account in community practice.”  DOI: 10.1080/10705422.2011.550258

2011: Trina R. Williams Shanks, Stephanie C. Boddie, Solana Rice

Volume 18: Williams Shank, T. R., Boddie, S. C., &  Rice, S. (2010) Family-centered, community-based asset building: A strategic use of individual development accounts, 18(1) 94-117.

Abstract: This research examines individual development account (IDA) programs as part of a broader community development strategy for low-income/low-wealth communities, particularly communities of color. Through a review of multiple literatures and detailed case studies, we explore the potential of explicitly creating a community-based, family-centered development account program as a step toward a comprehensive community asset building approach in low-income urban neighborhoods. From the perspective of IDA practitioners, such an approach provides program participants with local support networks and access to additional services. From the perspective of grassroots community organizers, such an approach provides tangible benefits to low-income residents of their neighborhoods. The likelihood of success may depend on the availability of local resources to build areas of strength and reduce vulnerabilities, but there are examples where a family-centered, community-based asset building approach seems to thrive.

2010: Tara La Rose

Volume 17: La Rose, T (2009). One small revolution: Unionization, community practice, and workload in child welfare, 17(1-2), 223-246.

Abstract: This article presents the finding from a community based research project reflecting workers’ retrospective analysis of the enduring effects of a strike over issues of workload. The 273 bargaining unit members of CUPE Local 2190 took a stand against fundamental changes to their work processes resulting in standardization of practice and the introduction of neo-conservative/neo-liberal values to child welfare services in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Workers utilized the rights afforded them through their collective agreement, collaboration with the labor movement as well as the skills and techniques of community practice to engage in resistance and challenge workload from inside and outside the system.

2006: Femida Handy, Meenaz Kassam

Volume 14: Handy, F., & Kassam, M. (2005). Practice what you preach? The role of rural NGOs in women’s empowerment, 14(3), 69-91.

Abstract: If NGO employees are facilitating change for self-empowerment, such behavior must be modeled for successful transmission, as suggested in self-efficacy models of behavior change. Rural NGOs in India often depend on employees from the local population who are as likely to be marginalized as their clients. This may cause a gap between what the employees may be trained to “preach” and what they “practice,” thereby diminishing their effectiveness. We examine the employees of a successful rural NGO in India to establish if this gap exists. Using three empowerment instruments, we find that employees indeed “walk the talk.”

2005: Janet Finn

Volume 13: Finn, J. L. (2004). La Victoria: Claiming memory, history and justice in a Santiago Poblacion, 13(3), 9-31.

Abstract: This article utilizes the key themes of the just practice perspective to examine a fifty-year history of community practice in La Victoria, a poor urban sector of Santiago, Chile. The author employs five key themes–meaning, power, context, history, and possibility–in exploring the challenges, contradictions and possibilities for community building under dictatorship and democracy. Lessons for critical community practice learned from La Victoria’s history are addressed.

2004: Marla Berg-Weger, Susan S. Tebb, Cynthia A. Loveland Cook, Mary Beth Gallagher, Ashely Cruce, Barbara Flory

Volume 12: Berg-Weger, M., Tebb, S. S., Loveland-Cook, C. A., Gallagher, M B., Flory, B., & Cruce, A. (2003). The collaborative research education partnership: Community, faculty, and student partnerships in practice evaluation, 12(3-4), 141-162.

Abstract: This article discusses the founding and operation of the Emmett J. and Mary Martha Doerr Center for Social Justice Education and Research, an endowed nonprofit organization located within the School of Social Service at Saint Louis University. The nonprofit Center provides a creative mechanism for facilitating university-community agency research. The Research Education Partnership (REP) model creates a partnership among students, community agency personnel, and faculty in funded practice research and program evaluation. Four collaborations,their benefits and challenges, are described. Students are prepared to integrate research into practice. The Center promotes and supports faculty-community partnerships for social justice.

2003: Donna Hardina

Volume 11: Hardina, D. (2002). Linking citizen participation to empowerment practice, 11(4), 11-38.

Abstract: The author examines the social work literature on citizen participation and empowerment in order to identify key concepts that can be used to define empowerment-oriented community practice.  A historical overview of the emergence of citizen participation and empowerment in the practice literature is presented, along with an overview of similar innovations and concepts  related to social service delivery: the use of informal help and the Independent Living Movement. This literature is used to develop a model of empowerment practice that focuses on the importance of participatory decision-making structures in community- based organizations.