Dr. Kyle Chambers
For the past two years, Kyle Chambers has been collaborating with the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota through his Developmental Psychology course. His students created interactive exhibits based on research and theory learned in Developmental Psychology and exhibited them either at the opening night of CMSM or for the CMSM play lab. Children and parents participate in these exhibits and learn valuable information about playing, nutrition, health and cognition. The community benefits from the students’ hard work and the students learn actively about concepts they may have otherwise just memorized. Gustavus is of course rewarded by the positive image of our students presented in the community and the media and community ties can be forged and strengthened.
Kyle has also involved his students with the Creative Play Place in St. Peter, where students test out the toys they created for their First Term Seminar called ‘Toy Design”. Once again there is a reciprocal relationship between the students and the community where both students and the community benefit from the involvement.
Kyle’s students are lucky to have such a creative, thoughtful professor for their classes who encourages learning outside of the classroom and helps them to envision how their academic work will benefit their future careers and the greater world
St. Dominic School
St. Dominic School, a Catholic preschool through 8th grade program, offers a quality education that commits to educating each child as a whole and a dedication to service and community. Over the past several years, the school has partnered with St. Olaf students on a variety of academic civic engagement projects to infuse environmental sustainability and nutrition into its curriculum and operations.
During the 2009-10 academic year a group of students from a course titled Ideals to Action worked with administrators to develop a plan for “greening” the school. Students in the Environmental Studies seminar and a first-year writing course developed and facilitated curriculum related to environmental issues and sustainable agriculture.
The school is currently serving as a core partner on the Food and Nutrition Service-learning Collaborative grant project. In Fall 2010 a student from Ideals to Action worked with the school to develop plans for a school garden. Students in a course on community agriculture are continuing with the garden project and are developing and presenting food-related curriculum to students in fifth grade.
Teachers and administrators provide opportunities for students to apply their skills in service of community and environmental goals. Along the way they provide mentorship that helps to form the next generation of engaged citizens and leaders.
Two years ago Cris was hired to help develop the Community Relations Specialist position at our Rochester campus. Cris soon took the position of uncertainty and turned it in a full-time position. Cris has been a champion in this position and has done numerous trainings with new Community Relations Specialists in our organization. Over the past 18 months, Cris has helped facilitate over 800 community events with over 4800 hours of service. Some examples of the events Cris has helped facilitate are below:
1) National Night Out – We had more than 1000 participants and received the civic award from the city of Rochester.
2) GI Jolly Night – Cris is a past member of our military service and has done great things with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and local guard and reserve units.
3) Channel One Food Shelf –In past years, TV personalities have been asked to host the Channel One Food Shelf event; however, Cris has emceed the event for the past two years.
In addition to developing a culture of community engagement at the Rochester campus, Cris also volunteers with the Special Olympics and Channel One.
The objective of the Center for Hmong Studies is “to take Hmong to the world and invite the world to Concordia, St. Paul.” Since the founding of the Center for Hmong Studies in 2004, over 6,000 people from throughout the world have visited the Center. Visitors have included elementary, secondary, and college students as well as scholars and community members who want to research on the Hmong community. The Center for Hmong Studies has provided opportunities to intentionally connect the Hmong community with our student body, has brought a wealth of knowledge and resources to the St. Paul community, and has enriched the life of our campus both academically and socially. The Center, besides developing and launching the first minor in Hmong studies in the world, regularly hosts events which showcase the traditions and heritage of the Hmong people. Such events this past year have included a Hmong Performing Artists’ Red Carpet event, a Hmong International movie event, book readings by Hmong authors, and an International Conference on Hmong Studies. The 3rd International Conference on Hmong Studies drew over 700 individuals. Many had to be turned away because of space capacity. The Center is truly succeeding in achieving its objective “to take Hmong to the world, and to invite the world to Concordia, St. Paul.”
Professional Learning Circle
We are nominating the Professional Learning Circle (PLC) organization for the Community Partner Award. This is a campus-community collaboration to establish a group of professionals who work with tutoring/mentoring programs in the Duluth community. The PLC pulls together leaders who examine how as a community we provide opportunity for positive adults to impact the lives of children in school settings. They host an annual S.U.C.C.E.S.S Series designed to help tutors understand core competencies for supporting students. The workshops offered were the Asset Approach, Building Relationships, Reading Skills, Math Refreshers and Cultural Competency. The program partners include Grant Community School Collaborative, COMPASS, Five Points, Men as Peacemakers, and UMD Office of Civic Engagement. The goals of the PLC are to; build stronger relationships; establish an understanding of local programs and goals; and provide a platform for cooperative programming and resource sharing.
This group has actively supported youth in an effort to close the achievement gap and ensure future academic success. This program is in its second year and has already shown promising results. An evaluation of these workshops found that 98% of participants surveyed found the training helped them to feel more confident in their work with children and youth.
Marah Jacobson-Schulte has served as the Coordinator of Service Learning at the College of Saint Benedict and our partner institution, Saint John’s University, since 2007. She has transformed service learning from a minor program that supported a small number of class projects to a thriving center of service learning and civic engagement activities that served more than 500 students and 50 community partners last semester, from local Boys and Girls Clubs to orphanages near our study abroad sites in South Africa and India. Marah has partnered with faculty to ensure all service learning projects meet the student learning outcomes for the new experiential learning requirement of our Common Curriculum, ensuring that service learning is deeply integrated with student learning.
Marah also oversaw the successful launch and development of our innovative Jackson Fellows program which supports students for full-time community service throughout the summer. She has served as co-director of the program since its inception in 2008. Under Marah’s leadership CSB has also launched the Bonner Leader Program, supported by the Bonner Foundation, which promotes a service and civic engagement curriculum of volunteer, leadership, and community-based research.
Marah’s creativity, energy, and dedication have made civic engagement a vibrant part of the CSB/SJU campus community. I am honored to nominate her for the Civic Engagement Steward Award.
Debby Walser-Kuntz currently serves as the Chair of the Civic Engagement and Service Committee. She has had that role since the inception of the committee two years ago and has played a critical role in the evolving nature of civic engagement at Carleton. She incorporates civic engagement into many of her biology courses at Carleton where she serves as an inspiration for her students, helping them connect their science learning to action in the world. Last year, she was named the Periclean Faculty leader at Carleton, through Project Pericles, for her work to redevelop her immunology class. She presented her model for her class at the AACU conference in San Francisco in January. She also organized a session iin Northfield with a chemistry professor at Carleton where both of their groups of students presented research on asthma, air particles and immunology to community members and leaders. Debby is a strong collaborator with Healthfinders, our local free health clinic, the Northfield School District and increasingly with Rice County Public Health. Thus she has worked with all levels of civic engagement, with students, with community partners and with faculty and staff to strengthen our programs at Carleton.