Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Faculty pair honored for service-learning initiatives
Feb. 26, 2010

KALAMAZOO –In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Rev. Coleen Slosberg (center), United Campus Ministry (UCM), and Dr. Timothy Palmer (left), professor of management in the Haworth College of Business, have taken their passion a step further. The two have incorporated an academic component into philanthropic opportunities and are offering these programs as service-learning experiences for WMU Business students.

This initiative has earned the duo this year’s Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award, an honor that recognizes contributions to community service. The prestigious annual award is the highest MCC bestows on faculty and staff in Michigan. The organization held an awards ceremony in early February to honor Slosberg and Palmer along with award recipients from each MCC member campus who engages or influences students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction.

“We are delighted that MCC has recognized Coleen and Tim for this project,” says Dr. Ajay Samant, interim dean for the Haworth College of Business. “Business majors who take part in service-learning projects learn a lot as they gain insight into societal issues. These opportunities offer them an added perspective as they prepare for future careers.”

Slosberg has been engaged in service-learning for more than 15 years having developed leadership and service-learning courses at both WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Palmer teaches a Strategic Business Solutions class. It was through meeting with Slosberg that Palmer was inspired to convert his Strategic Business Solutions class into a service-learning offering. Subsequently, this has become a popular and influential class in the Haworth College of Business.
Students have the option of choosing from several different service-learning experiences, all of which are coordinated by UCM. Some students work with Habitat for Humanity, others with Volunteering with Kids. Some students will choose to attend an Alternative Spring Break. These experiences may take the form of spending a weekend in Chicago where they engage in a variety of activities that may involve preparing and serving meals in homeless shelters, tutoring underprivileged school children, helping ESL adults practice English, or refurbishing social service facilities.

Integrating service-learning into the class provides Palmer the opportunity to complement the traditional business school focus on financial performance with opportunities for students to discover the relationship between the strategic choices that businesses make and how they impact community/urban issues.
Michigan Campus Compact annually recognizes outstanding community service and service-learning by faculty and staff of MCC member campuses. The Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award is given to one person from each campus who engages or influences students to be involved in the community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction. This is the seventeenth year for this award.

Caption for photo, above: From left Dr. Tim Palmer is pictured accepting the MCC Faculty/Staff Community Service Learning Award.  Rev. Smith-Slosberg was unable to attend the event.  Palmer is standing with Renee Miller Zientek, Michigan Campus Compact Executive Director, and Dr. Don Tuski, Chair of the MCC Board of Directors and President of Olivet College.