Meet the Editorial Team

Executive Editor

Valerie Holton, Ph.D., LCSW brings extensive teaching, administrative and community-based practice experience to the Journal.  Holton joined Virginia Commonwealth University as the inaugural director of community-engaged research. In her role, she develops infrastructure to support VCU faculty, staff, students and community partners in developing innovative and effective partnerships that positively impact our students, faculty, staff and community partners. Holton designed and led the university’s initial examination of partnerships, and was appointed to the presidential VCU Partnerships Task Force reporting to the Board of Visitor’s Governance and Evaluation Committee. She works across the university to establish research infrastructure that advances the university’s commitment to be a premier, urban, research university. A committed educator, she designs innovative approaches to educate university and community researchers in collaborative research, including a connected learning course on CEnR.


Holton leads the efforts to develop enterprise data collection efforts on VCU’s engagement with and impact on communities. She developed and established an IRB-linked tracking mechanism for CEnR, and is currently overseeing the developing enterprise data collection and reporting mechanisms for experiential learning (internships, service, co-curricular) activities, community-university partnerships and impact as an anchor institution.


Holton’s scholarship focuses on the role of urban universities in their communities and the infrastructure needed to enhance their impact within their institutions and across their communities. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Holton has worked extensively on the intersection of housing, homelessness and poverty. Prior to her current role, she provided technical assistance to human and state organizations in the areas of strategic planning and board development as well as program planning, development and evaluation. Holton also has developed and led innovative training programs for case managers throughout Virginia. Holton has taught in the education and social work at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels and served as an adjunct instructor at VCU in the Nonprofit Learning Point. As a licensed clinical social worker, Holton maintains a part-time, community-based practice with a focus on supporting adolescents and women during life transitions. She is a member of the board of directors for the YWCA of Richmond.

Strategy Advisor

Professor Barbara A. Holland, Ph.D. is recognized internationally for her scholarship and expertise on organizational change in higher education with a focus on institutionalization of community engagement. As an academic leader, she held senior administrative positions at Portland State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Western Sydney and University of Sydney. In government-related roles, she was Director of the Learn and Serve America National Service-Learning Clearinghouse for seven years and Visiting Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of University Partnerships for two years during the Clinton and Bush administrations. As a researcher and consultant, she has advised more than 100 colleges and universities in the USA and other nations regarding community engagement institutionalization and leadership of change, and she has authored many publications of note, including the creation of the Holland Matrix for Institutionalization.


As a scholar and leader, Barbara was a founding board member and 2011-12 Chair of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE), and also was a founding member of the National Review Board for the Scholarship of Education, the National Advisory Panel for the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement, and the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (now called Engagement Australia) which in 2008 named her one of their first two Honorary Fellows. In 2006, she received the IARSLCE Award for Research Achievement. She previously served as Executive Editor of Metropolitan Universities journal and serves in editorial roles for five other refereed journals. Barbara had been a lead faculty member for the Engagement Academy for University Leaders, sponsored by four major higher education associations, since it began in 2008.


Her current research and practice interests include the design of national and international frameworks for professional development of academic leaders, analysis of the strategic importance of community engagement to teaching, learning and research quality, and the development of comprehensive data systems for monitoring and measuring engagement's impacts and outcomes. Barbara's Bachelor and Master's degrees are in Journalism from the University of Missouri and her Ph.D. is in higher education policy from University of Maryland. She resides in Portland, Oregon.


Managing Editor

Zoe DiGiorgio, a graduate of the University of Maryland, has been a member of the CUMU staff since October 2016. In addition to coordinating communications for the organization, she also serves as the managing editor for MUJ, assisting with scheduling publications and assisting authors and editors with the Online Journal System. She can be contacted at

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