Thelen Wins MCC Award for Service Learning Efforts
Peggy Thelen is this year’s Alma College recipient of the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award for her contributions to service learning.
“I’m very excited and honored,” says Thelen. “We’re all part of the community, so it is important that we support the community in whichever ways we can.”
Thelen, assistant professor of education, has been a strong proponent for academic service learning since joining the Alma College faculty in 2004, says Anne Ritz, service learning coordinator at Alma College.
In addition to serving on the College’s Service Learning Task Force, Thelen is a devoted attendee of the Michigan Campus Compact Service Learning Institute, where she has presented the last four years.
She also has incorporated service learning in her early childhood education curriculum in classes such as Introduction to Early Childhood Education and Involving Parents and Community in Education. The results have been positive.
“Students love service learning,” says Thelen. “They understand that they’re doing real things for real people, that what they’re doing has a real impact.”
Recently, her education students partnered with business students in the “Wii Play Together: Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Education” after-school program, which is designed for kindergarten and first grade students to become physically active and academically engaged.
Beginning Feb. 15, this group of 22 Alma College students was responsible for organizing and implementing lesson plans at Luce Road Early Learning Center. They will offer snacks, help with homework and join in the fun of the Wii video game console.
Sustainability is important to Thelen, so when the month-long program is finished, all of the lesson plans will be available for teachers at the school to use. The children also will receive a bag full of supplies, including rulers, books and markers, so they can continue learning on their own.
Having experience teaching in schools is essential for education students, but Thelen also wants her students to be familiar with other organizations as well.
“Students need to know what resources are out there for families and children,” she says. “I want them to have experience at non-profit organizations such as local agencies and hospitals. In the past, we’ve worked with the Red Cross and Community Café.”
Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education.
The Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award is given to one person from each college campus who engages or influences students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction.
Posted: Mon, February 22nd, 2010 at 8:37AM