The 2013 Civic Engagement Awards have been announced, recognizing outstanding individuals and community partners in their exemplary services to the community.
The Minnesota Campus Compact’s President’s Awards for Civic Engagements give member college presidents and chancellors the opportunity to recognize leaders in college and university communities. They acknowledged three categories of effective leadership in students or student organizations, faculty or staff stewards, and community partners.
“These awards are an important opportunity for colleges and especially college presidents to recognize civic engagement in the community,” Director for Community-Based Service and Learning in the Center for Servant Leadership and LALACS Jeffrey Rathlef said.
This year’s recipient of the Student Leadership Award is Senior Psychological Science Honors and Sociology and Anthropology Major Katelyn Warburton; recipient of the Civic Engagement Steward Award is Professor of English, African Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Elizabeth Baer; and recipient of the Community Partner Award is Mayo Clinic Health System of Mankato.
Warburton is a member of the Wind Orchestra, Peer Assistants, Co-President of Psychological Sciences Honors Society Psi Chi, and Co-Coordinator of the Hoffman Center.
“Her nomination was based on her involvement in the Hoffman Center and her community-based research with Dr. Kyle Chambers. She was honored with the award for innovation and leadership in her research. I also worked with and advised Katelyn in the Hoffman Center. I can say that she has taken that program into a deeper degree of impact,” Rathlef said.
“I was really surprised and very honored. I’m constantly amazed by the work and dedication of Gustavus students to better our community and other communities. I feel very humbled to be among amazing colleagues in the CSL and other Gusties who want to better the community and our world,” Warburton said.
After graduation, Warburton hopes to pursue graduate school and work internationally by advocating youth education.
Professor Baer collaborated with Ben Leonard, Director of the Nicollet County Historical Society and last year’s recipient of the Community Partner Award, to create a course commemorating both the anniversary of the 1862 War and to recognize the historical situation Minnesota was in when the college was founded.
“Professor Baer’s nomination was based on her 2012 J-Term course, Commemorating Controversy: the US-Dakota War of 1862. She was recognized for the impact and deep legacy that the J-Term has brought about in the community,” Rathlef said.
Having planned the course for two years, Baer led fifteen students in extensive reading, field trips to battle sites, and had many famous historians and writers about the war present a series of six lectures to the class.
“I am, of course, very honored by this recognition. But more important, I believe these awards draw attention to the challenge and value of service-based courses in our curriculum, and especially to the tremendous rewards of working collaboratively with the local community. And it has empowered these students to recognize that one person can make a difference in this world. Overall, teaching this class has been one of the most rewarding teaching experiences in my forty-year career,” Baer said.
As a major project of the class, the students created a museum quality exhibit of a dozen panels about the war. They were displayed on campus in connection with Building Bridges and the Hillstrom Museum.
“The reverberations of this class continue. The exhibit is now under consideration for incorporation into the exhibits at the National Museum of the American Indian in Wash. D.C. This would be a huge honor. Many Dakota people attended the lecture series in January 2012 and returned to campus for Building Bridges,” Baer said.
The exhibit has been viewed by over 21,000 people and has been hosted all over the United States, in such places as Lincoln’s Cottage in Wash., D.C., and in circulation around Minnesota in such campuses as Macalester College and Augsburg College.
“The biggest thing I have heard her say about the J-Term course is that it sets in motion a process of healing. The exhibit has been very profound, needed, and a transformative experience for students,” Rathlef said.
As for the recipient of the Community Partner Award, the Mayo Clinic Health System of Mankato was awarded for the openness in partnering with Gustavus pre-health students in the two areas of career exploration and in emergency department health care.
“We feel very fortunate to have such exemplary healthcare facilities and so many outstanding healthcare professionals within a close proximity to the College,” Health Professions Coordinator Heather Banks said. “The collaboration with students is a valuable experience that can’t be matched. We look forward to the continued partnership in the future.”
For the past four years, sixteen pre-health students were selected to follow medical professionals and observe the patient/provider relationship and subsequent interactions.
“What is remarkable about Mayo is that they are very open to finding a partnership, especially when it’s so hard for pre-health students to get experience in the field. It’s a partnership Gustavus values greatly, and I would say it’s a partnership that Mayo also values as well,” Rathlef said.
Rathlef notes that the Civic Engagement awards are vital in appreciating leadership and partnerships on campus.
“The awards are really important for us because it’s a mechanism to really recognize and honor the work on campus,” Rathlef said.