BGSU named to President’s Community Service Honor Roll

The University’s commitment to service-learning and civic engagement has earned it a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2007.

Launched in 2006, the honor roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for such a commitment. Sponsors are the Corporation for National and Community Service, through its Learn and Serve America program; the U.S. departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development; USA Freedom Corps, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

BGSU is among 391 institutions named as honor roll members. Their selection was based on factors including scope and innovativeness of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the institution offers academic service-learning courses.

“This recognition is a testament to the many ways in which BGSU is building programs that address the needs of our community and engage students in meaningful and powerful learning experiences,” said Dr. Jane Rosser, the University’s director of service-learning.

In its application, she noted, BGSU “identified five exemplary programs that demonstrated the range of ways our students are engaged in the community.”

Among those programs are:
• An investigation of the impact of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on Wood County water quality, led by Dr. Robert Midden, chemistry and director of the Chapman Community at Kohl Hall. Participating students are conducting water testing in conjunction with the Wood County Health Department.
• The Veteran Assessment and Service Team, in which students volunteer with veterans’ organizations. Heading that project is Dr. Brett Holden, English and associate director of the Chapman Community.
• “Foundations on Ice,” designed to build leadership and self-esteem through instruction of ice skating skills. Lona Leck, assistant director of the BGSU Ice Arena, is a co-director of the project, linking University expertise with 50 students from Toledo’s DeVeaux Junior High School.
• The Parent/Professional Empowerment Project, aimed at helping prepare special education teachers and meeting a training need for parents of children with disabilities and professionals working with students with special needs. Directed by Dr. Mary Murray, an assistant professor of intervention services, and Dr. Erin Curran, an assistant professor of leadership and policy studies, in partnership with representatives from the Lucas County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the program takes the innovative approach of embedding parents of children with disabilities in a BGSU class together with students and as co-teachers.
• A BGSU collaboration with the Perrysburg Heights Community Association involving oral histories, online presences and a community mural. Leading the project on campus is Dr. Radhika Gajjala, interpersonal communication.

“There are many others we could have chosen,” added Rosser about service-learning programs at Bowling Green, “but these five represented some outstanding models and forms of student engagement.”

The community service honor roll members, along with six Presidential Award winners, were recognized at the American Council on Education’s annual meeting this week in San Diego.

The Corporation for National and Community Service administers Senior Corps and AmeriCorps as well as Learn and Serve America, which supports service-learning in education and community-based organizations.

February 18, 2008