October 16, 2009
Photo features, from L to R: Provost Roger
Rollins’ Associate Professor of Art Rachel Simmons recently received the Service-Learning Faculty Award in the independent sector from Florida Campus Compact.
This is the third consecutive year a member of the Rollins faculty has won the top faculty service-learning teaching award for independent colleges and universities in Florida. Rollins was also runner up as the institution in the state of Florida most committed to being an engaged campus. Rollins won the inaugural award in 2007 and is a recognized leader statewide and nationally for its leadership and ongoing commitment in the area of community engagement.
The awards were presented during the Awards Gala Luncheon in Miami on Thursday, October 15, which featured a keynote address by First Lady Michelle Obama on the importance of community involvement in education.
“This recognition is validation of our continued commitment to ensuring that our students are instilled with qualities that enforce responsible leadership through engagement in local and global communities,” said Rollins President Lewis M. Duncan.
The Service-Learning Faculty Award recognizes and honors one faculty member in each of three sectors for significant contributions to the institutionalization of community engagement by inspiring a vision for service on the campus and supporting faculty, students, and/or campus-community partnerships. The Engaged Campus Award recognizes institutions of higher education that demonstrate exemplary commitment to being an engaged campus.
Rachel Simmons received her B.A. from Rollins College and her M.F.A. from Louisiana State University. Over the last few years, Simmons has developed original murals with Rollins studio art majors as a part of the Rollins College Student-Faculty Research Scholarship Program. The murals enhance the facilities and enrich the lives of children throughout Central Florida at Boys & Girls Town, Fern Creek Elementary, the Jewish Community Center and the Winter Park Day Nursery.
“As artists who are also members of the Rollins community, it is important that we learn to interact in creative and constructive ways with the people who work, live and play around us,” said Simmons. “The aim of this work is to build lasting relationships through works of art that will be appreciated by the communities for whom they are created.”
First Lady Michelle Obama urges
The Rollins College Office of Community Engagement was established in 2001 and focuses on three strategic priorities at Rollins: engaged scholarship through the curriculum; campus-wide engagement through service, civic engagement, and activism, and community partnership and development through learning opportunities.
Rollins has garnered multiple national and statewide awards for its service learning programs, including being named to the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for commitment to service learning and civic engagement. In October 2007, Florida Campus Compact recognized Rollins for its commitment to being an engaged campus. Rollins was honored with the engaged campus Best in Class award in the independent category, out of the organization’s 51 member colleges, as well as the organization’s first-ever Overall Statewide Award.
The Florida Campus Compact Awards Gala and Luncheon is the premier recognition venue that formally acclaims exceptional service-learning and engaged scholarship currently underway all across Florida. The award winners are the people who are in the trenches, forging sustainable campus-community partnerships that enhance the collegiate experience and help our students become stronger and more active citizens.
“It was a monumental day in the advancement of the scholarship of engagement and the importance of service-learning in higher education,” said Director of Community Engagement Micki Meyer. “Mrs. Obama spoke intellectually about the need to equip students with the tools to be productive citizens of their communities through both the academic and co-curriculum. She spoke eloquently about her passion for committing to a life of change through service. Her words captured the Rollins experience of an applied and integrated liberal arts education for the 21st century."
Florida Campus Compact (FL|CC) is a membership organization of over 50 college and university presidents committed to helping students develop the values and skills of active citizenship through participation in public and community service. FL|CC works with these presidents and their campuses to integrate service with academic study and to provide a collegial experience for intercampus and community collaborations. FL|CC achieves its mission through site visits, conferences, workshops, technical assistance/resources, and awards. The ultimate goal of Florida Campus Compact is to develop educated and active citizens to sustain our participatory democracy.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact’s membership includes public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education.