Melissa Baker-Boosamra, Grand Valley affiliate professor of liberal studies, received a community service-learning award from the Michigan Campus Compact during a ceremony in Traverse City on February 9.
Baker-Boosamra, who also serves as faculty internship/practicum supervisor, was nominated as the person on Grand Valley's campus who has made the most outstanding contributions in service-learning and community service. MCC presents Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Awards to individuals in higher education roles across the state who have made the most outstanding contributions at their campuses.
Baker-Boosamra’s course, "Sustainability in Practice," allows a group of students to deeply explore the idea of sustainability through readings and dialogue, while engaging in 120 hours of community service projects that support that investigation, over the course of the semester. Students have worked with Blandford Nature Center's Mixed Greens Program, Grand Rapids Public School's C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy, the local economic development organization Local First!, and the F.A.I.R. fair trade coalition.
Steve Glass, associate dean of the College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said Baker-Boosamra's courses "represent high impact learning and engagement that is the hallmark of service learning."
She has written a chapter in a book, "Social Responsibility and Sustainability: Multidisciplinary Perspectives Through Service Learning," that details her interdisciplinary approach to service learning.
"Students really shine when they are given the opportunity to dig deeply into an issue, understand their relationship to it, and respond through thoughtful action in the community," Baker-Boosamra said. "They are empowered as students and as citizens. It's beautiful."
MCC has 42 member campuses. The coalition is comprised of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education.