Dr. Tammy Crutchfield recognized by Gulf-South for work with Traffick Jam

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Dr. Tammy Crutchfield

MACON – Mercer University faculty member Dr. Tammy Crutchfield was honored with the 2020 Gulf-South Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education – Instruction at the organization’s annual conference, held virtually March 15-18.

The mission of the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education is to promote networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus-community partnerships, sustainable programs, and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service-learning and other forms of civic engagement.

The award was originally intended to be presented at last year’s conference before it was canceled following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Crutchfield serves as senior associate dean and professor of marketing in the School of Business. She was recognized by the Gulf South Summit for her work with Traffick Jam, a social brand created in her classroom.

Over the past six years, Dr. Crutchfield and her teams of marketing students have conducted community-based research on the incidence of adolescent sex trafficking in Central Georgia, developed and funded an anti-trafficking mentoring curriculum that is being implemented in high schools in partnership with the local school system and are currently in the process of expanding the service learning program to other universities.

The mission of Traffick Jam is to teach teens how to “drive out” sex trafficking and to mentor them to be all that they are created to be. The team’s research reveals that 11% of high school students in the community know someone who had sold themselves for sex, and 8% know someone who had been forced into selling themselves for sex.

To date, Traffick Jam has mentored 4,000 high school students, and nearly 500 Mercer students from across the University have taken Traffick Jam service-learning courses and mentored teens or managed the social brand.

Dr. Crutchfield was nominated for the Gul-South Summit Award by Dr. Julie Petherbridge, interim dean of the School of Business, and Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, professor of English and former senior vice provost for service-learning.

“Dr. Crutchfield recognized that there was virtually no preventive education or protection being offered to these highly vulnerable girls until they had already been trafficked,” read the nomination letter. “Her response: ‘If marketing was being used to exploit these girls to buyers, marketing could be used to combat this trafficking.’”

Additionally, Dr. Crutchfield was lauded for the program’s focus on “near-peer” mentoring. The nomination letter pointed out that “part of the genius of the Traffick Jam program is that teens listen to and engage with college students more easily and seriously than they do adult authority figures.”

Dr. Crutchfield has served on the faculty at Mercer since 1998 and specializes in small business marketing and social brand marketing. Prior to coming to Mercer, she worked in industry for seven years in the fields of production management, distribution and financial management.

She earned her BBA and MBA from Georgia College and her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Alabama.

About the School of Business

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history, and his grandson Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher, a Macon businessman, longtime supporter, trustee and former board chair for the University. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education in order to develop innovative leaders who are responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by the Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening and Online BBA, Full-Time (Day) MBA, Evening MBA, Online MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA, Evening MBA, Health Care MBA, and Innovation MBA), Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit business.mercer.edu.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​