Elizabeth Cameron Wins Service-Learning Award
For the participants, it was a tournament to remember: Residents of
Masonic Pathways paired with students from Alma Middle School for a
Nintendo Wii bowling competition.
The organizers: 26 Alma College students in Elizabeth Cameron’s Management 323 class.
The winners: Everyone involved.
“This was one of the best service-learning projects we’ve done,” says Cameron, professor of business administration who integrated the “Wii Play Together” project in her management class as a way to enhance the planning, organization, team and leadership skills of her students, many of whom are preparing for business careers.
A Masonic Pathways resident (left) "bowls" with the Nintento Wii.
students feel they understand motivation theory on paper, but
implementing it in a real-world way is a lot harder,” says Cameron.
“The project was a lot of fun. We used it as a way to encourage more
social and physical activity. The stories we heard about how the
Masonic residents engaged with the middle school students were heart
Employing service learning in her classes is a priority for Cameron, who has been named the 2009 recipient of the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award. She will be honored at the 13th annual Service-Learning and Community Service Awards Ceremony Feb. 12th at the Grand Centennial Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.
Elizabeth Cameron wins MCC Service-Learning Award.
The prestigious annual award is the highest MCC bestows on faculty and staff in the state of Michigan.
“It takes an enormous amount of time to do service learning, and this award recognizes the value of what we do,” Cameron says. “I know that there are a lot of professors who utilize service learning in their classes, so I am very honored.”
Throughout the fall term, a team of Alma College students, led by Alma junior Kevin Everhart, visited Masonic Pathways three times a week to teach the residents how to “bowl” on the Nintendo Wii video game system. Another team, led by Mount Pleasant senior Devon Anthony, worked with the Alma Middle School students involved in the Explore After School program. The semester culminated with an intergenerational tournament, with Masonic seniors paired with the middle school students in a two-day competition.
The class was set up to demonstrate a businesslike system, with vice presidents, project managers and associates, according to Everhart.
“The class taught me more about managing and leading others than any coursework could have taught me,” says Everhart. “It taught me flexibility, how to work with people different than myself, and, most importantly, how to be an effective leader. I never knew that seniors citizens could be so much fun.
“I believe service to others is one of the most important aspects of the world,” he says. “This service project taught that you don’t have to rebuild someone’s house to rebuild a life. It can be done in many other ways, such as playing the Wii a couple of times a week.”
Alma College senior Kevin Everhart, right.
though the class concluded last December, three of the Alma College
students are continuing the project as a practicum with Masonic
Pathways, says Cameron, who, along with Alisa Dean, Alma College’s
Service Learning AmeriCorps VISTA member, will present the project at
the MCC Conference in Grand Rapids.
Peers designated Cameron as the faculty/staff person on the Alma College campus who has made the most outstanding contributions in service learning and community service. The award recognizes her influence on and the engagement of students to be involved in community service or service learning through modeling, influencing or instruction.
Cameron has successfully integrated service learning into the Alma College business curriculum, according to Anne Ritz, Alma College’s service learning coordinator who nominated Cameron for the award. Previous service-learning projects by Cameron include “Poetry Cafe,” “Building Better Executives” and a feasibility study for adding a women’s unit to a Saginaw residential probation center.
“Students in Dr. Cameron’s classes are taught management skills, including planning, leading, organizing and controlling, while partnering with a variety of local community groups and initiatives, including youth and healthy living programs,” says Ritz. “This apprentice style model helps students learn management skills in a real world setting.”
Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. MCC promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement.
Posted: Mon, February 2nd, 2009 at 1:18PM