College of Liberal Arts

Humanities Institute Awards Local Non-Profit Professionals with Community Sabbaticals

Wed, Apr 19, 2017
Sera Bonds (left) and Cameron Allen.
Sera Bonds (left) and Cameron Allen.

The Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin has announced the 2017 recipients of the Community Sabbatical program, which provides paid flexible leave time, faculty collaborators, and access to library resources to selected staff members of non-profit organizations in central Texas.

The 2017 Community Sabbatical recipients include:

  • Cameron Allen, executive director of The SEED Adult and Family Learning Community, will explore options for humanistic ESL (English as a Second Language) assessment that demonstrates growth in language learning, as well as the vibrancy and complexity that students demonstrate on a daily basis in class.
  • Sera Bonds, founder and CEO of Circle of Health International, will research the needs of survivors of human trafficking by interviewing the survivors themselves. She aims to produce a client-centered guide for clinical and social service protocols for use in caring for survivors of human trafficking in Austin.

Since 2005, the Humanities Institute has provided grantees the opportunity to research an issue or develop a new program related to their organization or constituencies. In addition to awarding grantees a stipend of $5,000, the Humanities Institute matches them with university faculty members who advise and collaborate on the proposed project. 

Faculty advisors for this year’s Community Sabbatical grantees include:

  • Theodore Held, Director of Reproductive Health at People’s Community Clinic and assistant professor at the Dell Medical School, who will act as consultant to Sera Bonds.
  • Angela Valenzuela, UT Austin professor of educational policy and planning in the Department of Educational Administration and Director of the Center for Education Policy, who will be working with Cameron Allen.

"The Community Sabbatical program is a unique opportunity for professionals working in non-profits to take the  time to research an issue that goes beyond their day-to-day activities,” said Pauline Turner Strong, director of the Humanities Institute. “It also provides an opportunity for university scholars to put their knowledge to use on behalf of central Texas communities. The Humanities Institute’s Community Sabbatical program is known across the country as an innovative public humanities program.” 

Prior sabbatical recipients include Tim Staley, executive director of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, who examined the role of the public library in the 21st century to research how Austin’s new central library, anticipated to open this year, can best serve the local community; and Victoria Camp, director of operations for Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, whose project played a vital role in the passage of House Bill 1751, which increased funding to improve services available to victims of sexual violence.

For more information about program, contact Clare Callahanat 512-471-9056 or

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