University of Vermont

University Communications

Awards Showcase Service-Learning

Release Date: 05-10-2006

Author: Jon C. Reidel
Phone: 802-656-8206 Fax: (802) 656-3203

The Office of Community-University Partnerships and Service Learning recently honored faculty members, community partners and students for their participation in courses that combine academic theory with practical experiences addressing community or human needs.

Eileen Burgin, associate professor of political science, and Dan Baker, a lecturer in community development and applied economics, won Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty awards in a ceremony on April 26. Julie Graham, a reading recovery teacher and site supervisor for the UVM America Reads & Counts program at Chamberlin Elementary School, and Linda Shaw, a registered nurse and manager of the Copley Hospital Outreach Department, were given Outstanding Service-Learning Community Partner awards. Senior Kelly Hayes was named Outstanding Service-Learning Student.

An eye on advocacy: Eileen Burgin arranged partnerships with students in her “Advocacy in Congress: A Service-Learning Seminar” course and local nonprofit organizations with strong advocacy platforms such as the American Association of Retired Persons and Planned Parenthood. Burgin included elements of service-learning in the required “The American Political System” course facilitating partnerships with Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Community issues in Vermont and abroad: Dan Baker had students in his “Contemporary Issues in Community and International Development” course work with the Alburg Planning Commission to update sections of their town plan. Other students worked with the Starksboro Planning Commission on re-envisioning mobile home communities, while others helped the town create and launch a Web site. In his “Community and International Economic Transformation” course, Baker had students work with residents of Taulabe, Honduras to address issues facing that community.

Thinking locally and globally: Student winner Kelly Hayes worked with Baker on a water quality project in Taulabe that resulted in a regional planning body adopting a resolution to partner with the university on an environmental education program built around water quality monitoring. Hayes also participated in projects in the towns of Alburg and Starksboro and worked on the Green Forestry Education Initiative in the Jericho Town Forest through a senior capstone class in natural resources.

“Kelly’s sincere concern for the long-term welfare of the communities with whom she worked and of which she is a part, leads partners to trust her advice and rely on their assistance,” Baker wrote in his nomination letter.

A caring community mentor: Julie Graham was nominated for the community partner award by Jane Mekkelson, senior lecturer and director of UVM America Reads & Counts Program, for her volunteer work as was one of the original designers and implementers of the program, and for her continued work recruiting and training students to tutor elementary school children. “As a thoughtful and caring mentor, she has taught them even more about the importance of service learning and the personal efficacy that each of our students has to contribute to their community,” said Mekkelson.

A 'template' for school stress: Service-learning partner Linda Shaw was nominated by Hendrika Maltby, associate professor of nursing, for her contributions to Maltby’s “Community Public Health Course.” Shaw immerses students in many of the projects she’s involved in within the community, including employee wellness at Copley and Hannaford and in other businesses and schools. She helped launch a project with UVM students aimed at reducing stress and improving nutritional and exercise habits with fourth-grade students in preparation for standardized test-taking. The program is being used as a template for other schools as part of a community-based participatory research grant that is being implemented by Shaw and Maltby.

For more information about service-learning and community partnerships at UVM, see