University of Vermont

Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning

Alan Tinkler and Gabriella Tufo-Strouse Receive Engaged Partnership Award from Vermont Campus Compact

A service-learning partnership success story!

Alan Tinkler receiving the Engaged Partnership Award

Alan Tinkler, Assistant Professor in the Education Department, and Gabriella Tufo-Strouse, Volunteer Coordinator of the King Street Youth Center, have been awarded the Engaged Partnership award from Vermont Campus Compact. 

The Engaged Partnership award recognizes collaborations between campus and community partners that serve as a model and an inspiration for the potential of campus-community engagement. These partnerships demonstrate: involvement of a variety of stakeholders in a long-term effort to address a commonly identified community challenge; institutionalization of the relationship beyond a single individual; a focus on reciprocity and mutual benefit; and an ability to demonstrate impact.

Alant Tinkler's work in service-learning pre-dates his arrival in Vermont, but he has quickly established himself at UVM as a committed practicioner of service-learning. Alan is a scholar of service-learning, presenting five national peer-reviewed presentations at deciplinary conferences in the last four years alone. One of these is itself co-authored by his co-winner, Gabriella. Gabriella and Alan are writing an article based upon their partnership for the Michigan Journal of Service-Learning. The reciprocity this co-authorship represents is further illustrated in Alan's recent community work as co-coordinator of the Burlington-Winooski Partnership for Change.

Gabriella Strouse is the volunteer coordinator at King Street Youth Center in Burlington, Vermont; the organization's mission is to "promote personal and social welness through educational, recreational, and social programs" with a goal to "give children, youth, and families the life-building skills necessary for a healthy and productive future." Currently, the organization serves over 500 children and familes each year, many among them New Americans. Gabriella works with over 100 volunteers to support the mission of this well-respected orgnization. Gabriella is committed to service-learning in particular among the volunteers who come to King Street, and deeply values the critical reflection and reciprocity brought to the partnership by Alan's classes. 

Thier partnership began in the fall of 2010, with a service-learning course of Alan's. In their article for the Michigan journal, titled "Six Things Community Partners Want You to Know about Service-Learning," they detail the qualities each brought to the partnership. Gabriella is clear that faculty must "be attentive to the vission and mission" of the organization, must "understand the human dimension of the work," and should "regard the process as important." In the examples they recount to illustrate thse principles, the strength of their partnership is revealed: they hold collaborative meetings, reflect at the completion of service, and openly discuss challenges and opportunities. They are clear about the long-term nature of their partnership across multiple semesters, and this has empowered King Stree to have particular expectations. For example, students do not "count hours" and then disappear back to the University, rather they are expected to show up ever week and stay for their appointed time, even if children do not work with them in a given week. These details illustrate the throughness of Alan and Gabriella's conversations and work together. The rigor of this partnership informs her work at King Street, and as she works closely with UVM students in additional capacities. Empowering King Street to require high-caliber partnerships and bringing UVM students into the critical work of supporting New Americans is Vermont is an enormous contribution that Alan and Gabriella have made together. 

Alan and Gabriella will formally receive thier awards at the 2013 Vermont Campus Compact's Engaged Campus Forumn to be held on April 12. For more information, click here.