Newsroom

Fike Honored for Commitment to Service Learning

January 20, 2014

“For nearly 30 years, Carol has engaged Alma College students in sharing, teaching and discovering an appreciation of dance through movement with local first grade students.” — Anne Ritz, service-learning coordinator.

For more than 25 years, Carol Fike taught a “Creative Movement for Children” class that brought together Alma College students with local first-graders.

“We used scarves, bean bags, parachutes, hula hoops and other fun items,” says Fike. “The children balanced the bean bags on their shoulders, pulled a big parachute and threw and caught scarves. They got immersed in a fun, creative world.”

The class is one of several academic service-learning classes at Alma College that offer college students opportunities to participate in meaningful community service as part of their class requirements.

“Many of the college students who take this class are education majors, and it gives them an opportunity to see what working with elementary children is like,” says Fike. “They realize, ‘Wow, what an impact I can have on these kids.’ College students feel they are part of something bigger than just taking a college course for credit.”

In recognition of her commitment to service learning, Fike, who retired in December as a professor of theatre and dance, is a 2013-14 recipient of the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty Service-Learning Awards.

“For nearly 30 years, Carol has engaged Alma College students in sharing, teaching and discovering an appreciation of dance through movement with local first grade students,” says Anne Ritz, service-learning coordinator at Alma College.

Fike’s “Creative Movement for Children” is one of the longest standing academic service learning courses at Alma College, says Ritz. The college students share an appreciation of the arts and teach the first-grade students from Luce Elementary School how to move their bodies and express themselves.

“More than 600 Alma College students have interacted with hundreds of local youth who have visited the Alma College dance studio as their first introduction to college, where they could be ‘tigers in a rainforest and birds in the sky,’” says Ritz.

Every other year, Michigan Campus Compact recognizes the contributions of college faculty in the areas of community service and service learning. Recipients will be honored Feb. 3 during an awards ceremony at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus in the DeVos Center Loosemore Auditorium.