Callie Womble Edwards, acting director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation’s Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) Group, has been awarded NC State’s Award for Excellence for Human Relations for her work creating a diverse, welcoming workplace for staff and students.
The Awards for Excellence are the most prestigious honor given to non-faculty employees at NC State and recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions that go above and beyond an employee’s normal job responsibilities. This year, 12 individuals at NC State received this award out of 56 nominations from divisions across the university.
Edwards’ award for human relations is given to staff who have made an outstanding contribution toward enhancing the quality or morale of the workplace or toward enhancing the public image of a department or division, NC State University or state government.
“I feel incredibly honored to be selected for this award,” said Edwards. “I truly love what I do as well as the team I have the pleasure of collaborating with and leading. As an alumna turned staff member, the College of Education broadly and the Friday Institute specifically are such special places to me. It is a joy to put our motto ‘think and do’ into action each day.”
Colleagues who nominated Edwards recognized her work navigating the complex logistics of running research practice partnerships with schools during the pandemic and creating the Program Evaluation and Education Research (PEER) Internship Program for Undergraduate Students, which provided opportunities for students from historically marginalized communities to receive training in leadership, educational research and evaluation techniques while expanding the PEER Group’s capacity.
The internship program launched in 2020 as a result of staff gaps and a lack of capacity. Edwards saw an opportunity to create a mutually beneficial program not only for her team but for students who might not have been exposed to research and evaluation.
In partnership with the federal work-study program, she recruited NC State students for this internship program from a variety of majors. All that was needed was an interest and curiosity for education research. Students received mentorship, skills and lessons that could be applied to any field.
This program allowed the PEER Group to focus on more skilled tasks and dive deeper into projects, as interns took on routine tasks, including setting up surveys, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, synthesizing information and preparing research reports.
“I truly can not think of a single colleague I have worked with during my tenure at NC State whose excellence in their relationship with our education partners, coworkers and the individuals she mentors is surpassed,” said Shaun Kellogg, interim executive director of the Friday Institute. “Callie has that rare combination of being both incredible to work with and consistently producing incredible work.”
This is the second year in a row that a staff member in the NC State College of Education has won NC State’s Award for Excellence. Laura Fogle, director of the Media Education and Technology Resource Center (METRC), was awarded NC State’s Award for Excellence for Outstanding Service in 2021 as a result of her public service during the coronavirus pandemic.
About the Friday Institute
The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation advances K-12 education through innovation in teaching, learning and leadership by bringing together students, teachers, researchers, policymakers and educational professionals to foster collaborations that improve education for all learners. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation is part of NC State’s College of Education, one of the leading land-grant colleges of education in the nation.