Middlebury

Vermont Campus Compact to honor Middlebury faculty, students and others at the Vermont State House

March 19, 2006

Awards to be presented March 30

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Three members of the Middlebury College community will receive 2006 Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) awards for scholarly and civic engagement, and for excellence in teaching.

On March 30 at VCC's third annual award ceremony at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, Assistant Professor of Economics Jon Isham will receive the Vermont Campus Compact Engaged Scholar Award; Assistant Professor of Geography Peter Nelson will receive the Vermont Campus Compact Excellence in Teaching Award; and Middlebury College senior Erica Goodman will receive the TD Banknorth Commitment to Service and Engagement Award, which is given to one student from each VCC member campus. A press conference about the award event will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The Engaged Scholar Award, which honors one faculty member in Vermont for engagement both in and outside the classroom, recognizes Jon Isham's innovative use of public service in scholarship, his commitment to students and communities, and his work with public service partnerships between campuses and local communities. According to VCC Executive Director Amy Gibans McGlashan, Isham's blend of teaching, scholarship and service epitomizes the engaged scholar idealized by the award, and serves as an exemplar of faculty citizenship to students, his fellow faculty and college staff.

"Jon has worked tirelessly to create new energy toward building a climate change movement.  The role model he has provided for students and colleagues, alike - locally, nationally and even internationally - has been nothing less than outstanding," said Susan Campbell, the Middlebury College dean of faculty. "Jon is getting things done, and perhaps even more importantly, he is empowering students to find their voice and take action to effect positive change on their own."

Peter Nelson will receive the Excellence in Teaching award, given each year to one faculty member in Vermont in recognition of innovative teaching methods using service-learning or community-action research. According to McGlashan, Nelson has made public service integral to his teaching. "Peter is committed to the student voice and its development in partnership with the community," she said.

Nelson regularly teaches two geography courses that include service-learning components - segments of the course that bring students into the local community for public service projects. For his classes, Nelson's students have worked with local organizations such as Middlebury Area Land Trust, Monument Farms Dairy, The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, Planned Parenthood and Addison County Community Action Group. "Professor Nelson's assigned projects are innovative, addressing real-world situations and including actual field research; such experiences are unique in an undergraduate setting," said Middlebury College sophomore Philip Picotte. "He incorporates social awareness and activism into each course, giving each student the opportunity for experiential learning.  He is among the most effective and committed professors I've met."

Middlebury College senior Erica Goodman will receive the TD Banknorth Commitment to Service and Engagement Award. This award is given to one student per VCC member campus for both breadth and depth of community involvement. Goodman's volunteer work during her college career has included serving as co-chair of the Middlebury College Volunteer Service Organization, coordinating weekly volunteer opportunities for other students. She also recruited volunteers for the Middlebury Area Land Trust, and helped organize its annual fundraiser. She worked with her basketball coach and teammates to create a Vermont registry for the National Marrow Donor Program. "Whether through work with student groups or independently, Erica has exemplified service leadership in the community," said Tiffany Sargent, director of the Middlebury College Alliance for Civic Engagement (ACE).

Other award recipients include Cheryl Mitchell of People of Addison County Together (PACT), who will receive the Middlebury College Engaged Partner Award. PACT works with ACE to improve the wellbeing of Addison County residents, and involves Middlebury students in dialog toward the identification and alleviation of poverty in the region.

Middlebury senior Mary Mendoza is a finalist for the Madeleine M. Kunin Award for her  restructure and revitalization of Middlebury College's volunteer services program, and for her numerous direct service efforts in both Middlebury and Burlington. The three-way public service partnership between Middlebury's ACE, PACT and the United Way of Addison County also is named a finalist for VCC's Campus and Community Partnership Award.

At the award event, students from five Vermont colleges will give talks on their volunteer efforts, including Middlebury sophomores Theo May and Ashley Valle, who will discuss their service-learning experiences in Argentina.  More than 30 poster sessions and multi-media presentations reflecting service-learning and civic-engagement endeavors and opportunities also will be offered at the event.

VCC, a statewide consortium of colleges and universities advancing the public good, each year honors students, faculty, college staff and the community agencies with whom they work, for their contributions and impact on Vermont communities.

For more information regarding Middlebury College award winners and finalists, contact ACE Director Tiffany Nourse Sargent at 802-443-5082.

For more information regarding the VCC award event on March 30, see http://www.vtcampuscompact.org, or contact VCC Executive Director Amy Gibans McGlashan at 802-443-2510, or agibansm@middlebury.edu.