Success Stories

Prof wins service learning award

Danielle Wiese

When Danielle Wiese was in high school, she was inspired by her teachers to be an informed citizen. Yet, when she got to college, she was surprised by how many of her fellow students didn’t vote because they felt they didn’t know enough.

“It was very frustrating to me. There’s no secret to voting or getting reliable information,” said Wiese, an assistant professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley.

When she came to teach at Grand Valley two years ago, she was determined to get students involved in the 2008 presidential election. She created an innovative course, Presidential Campaign Communication, which included many in- and out-of-class activities to engage a wide range of students with other members of the West Michigan community and area media outlets.

Student projects included creating and facilitating Debate Watch programs for the Grand Valley campus and for East Kentwood High School; designing a Voter Information Project with the Spring Lake Public Library; and working with the local ABC television affiliate to prepare a weekly news segment, two-hour Web chats, and daily Internet blogs on student perspectives about the campaign. On Election Day, students served as guest journalists throughout the community, producing election coverage that ran on the WZZM TV-13 Web site.

Wiese’s efforts were recognized by her peers, and they nominated her for a state award. Wiese was selected to receive a 2008 Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award, the highest annual award that MCC bestows on faculty and staff in the state of Michigan. The award honors the person on each campus who made the most outstanding contributions in the area of community service-learning during the past year, and significantly enhanced students’ education.

“I didn’t think I was doing anything outstanding, but rather sharing my enthusiasm for what I feel is important,” said Weise. “I’m happy that my passion inspired others, and for the tremendous support I received from the School of Communications.”

Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to the development of personal and social responsibility as integral to the educational mission of their campuses.

“Professor Wiese is an advocate who challenges her students and her colleagues with the absolute importance of community service, service learning, and civic engagement,” said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas.

by Mary Isca Pirkola

This story was filed with the tags: Awards, Communications, First-Rate Faculty, Politics