This award is given annually to faculty and/or staff from an Ohio Campus Compact member campus. To be considered, the nominee must demonstrate outstanding leadership in furthering the civic mission of the institution. The president of the college or university must nominate each candidate.
Dr. Brett Holden, Department of Theater and Film, Bowling Green State University
Dr. Holden's work in the area of service-learning goes back many years. Prior to joining the Department of Theatre and Film in 2008, he was deeply engaged with veteran's issues through war-literature and war-film courses of his own design in the Chapman Learning Community, a residential learning community he helped found at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). As a natural offshoot of Dr. Holden's courses, he developed the Veteran Assessment and Service Team (VAST), a student organization that engaged students in direct service to veterans and military families. After joining the department, and being a member of the first Service-learning Faculty Learning Community at BGSU, he transitioned these experiences into two solid service-learning courses he has offered for many years: War, Film, and the Soldier Experience and Iraq War Cinema. Students in these courses not only examine popular portrayals of military service, U.S. service personnel, and military families, but take part in on-site service to these individuals and their respective branches of the military in order to more fully understand why images relating to these branches and individuals tend to be so negative and harmful to these populations. Service projects have varied from driving veterans for Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio, assisting the local National Guard’s Family Readiness Groups, and engaging in an Equine Therapy program. As an example of a recent service-learning partnership, in the Fall of 2016 he taught War, Film, and the Soldier Experience again as a service-learning course, engaging students from a variety of majors in a close examination of films from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War; reading veteran writings; and hosting veteran testimonials. However, the event that brought the entire term together was taking part in a 723-person pre-deployment event for the Ohio Army National Guard (OANG) as a means of better understanding the military service (and military family) experience as compared to those incorrectly or incompletely depicted in Hollywood cinema. All of Dr. Holden's service-learning events involve an in-class orientation and needs assessment with their community partners, completed service hours at the pre-deployment event, an in-class debriefing/follow-up meeting with the partners, and a reflection assignment. Without their assistance, the OANG would not have been able to staff the sizeable event. At the event, military service members and their families were not only provided necessary services with the assistance of his class, but were permitted to interact with his students and gain a better understanding of their efforts to research and more accurately represent military service members and their families. These efforts go a long way to helping break down stereotypes of military service, military service personnel, and military families in relation to how they are often portrayed in cinema. Dr. Holden is proud of this work because it helps his students directly engage in applying what they learn in the classroom to real-world issues off campus. They are serving a minority group whose members have given tremendously to our country and who, unfortunately, have high college drop-out rates, higher divorce rates, struggles with medical care and mental health care and, for some, suicide. As a faculty member, Dr. Holden feels that it is his duty to help develop engaged, principled BGSU graduates who can immediately engage in working on behalf of others. He has always held that while his passion is working with military veterans and their families, his students develop a transferable skill set that could just as easily prepare them to work on behalf of the homeless, of cancer survivors and caregivers, of environmental groups, or a variety of other volunteer organizations.
Written by Dr. Brett Holden, edited by Brenna Limbrick
Laura is deeply ingrained in service-learning and civic engagement at Youngstown State University and the community at large. She has sustained the Pay It Forward: Student Philanthropy Initiative at Youngstown State University (YSU) for five years beyond seed funding received from Ohio Campus Compact due to student fundraising efforts. Currently, students have $3,000 in available funding and plan to review 29 proposals this spring 2017. Laura also incorporated Pay It Forward into a Financial Management & Fundraising course at YSU. In this course, students are required to submit a mock grant proposal using the Pay It Forward grant application template. Then, with the organization’s approval and if the student chooses, s/he can submit their proposal for actual funding. This began in spring 2016 and was continued this spring 2017. She has also instituted a full semester case study within a Nonprofit Leadership course. Students work in teams of four to solve challenging questions for a regional nonprofit organization. The host organization attends all final presentations and has access to all submitted papers with recommendations/solutions. The questions are developed by the host organization and presented to students during a site visit. Initiated in Fall 2016, this project was so successful and well received, Laura was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the first host organization, SMARTS – Students Motivated by the Arts. In the fall of 2013, she started planning Regional Case Study Exercises. Ten to fifteen students participate each semester and travel to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Columbus for a one-day immersive case study experience. The students work as consultants and offer solutions to challenges the organization is currently facing. The day includes a tour of the organization, Q&A with key staff, brainstorming of solutions, and a presentation given to the organization’s Leadership Team at the end of the day. This academic year 2016/17, students visited the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (fall 2016) and plan to visit University Circle, Inc. (Cleveland) in spring 2017. The Center for Nonprofit Leadership considers credit-bearing internships in nonprofit organizations the ultimate service-learning experience. This year the Center applied for and received renewal funding from The Raymond John Wean Foundation for the 2017 Nonprofit Leadership Summer Honors Internship Program. This summer ten YSU students will have the opportunity to participate in full-time, paid internships ($12/hour) in regional nonprofit and public sector organizations because of this grant funding. This is the fourth summer they have received funding. In summary, the effort to plan and coordinate these experiences for her students is very worthwhile. These experiences go beyond traditional classroom lectures, and Laura believes these opportunities are what help these students stand out from their peers and transition into employment in the nonprofit sector. To Laura, the ultimate reward is having a student become a colleague and friend. She takes great joy in seeing former students succeed, grow professionally, and “make the world a better place” in the Mahoning Valley and beyond.
Written by Laura Dewberry, edited by Brenna Limbrick
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