LAWRENCE — The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at the University of Kansas, formerly the Center for Service Learning, has announced the 2013 Excellence in Service Learning Awards to honor service learning achievements in curricular best practices, community impact and student development.
Recipients of this year’s awards are Bob Basow, associate professor of journalism; Eudora Elementary School; and Bailey Reimer, a Shawnee senior in American studies and linguistics, minoring in Latin American studies.
Basow received the faculty award for implementing service learning in a manner consistent with good practice and for demonstrating a positive impact on students and the community. Basow's service learning courses apply students’ strategic communication skills to enhancing public outreach efforts for local nonprofit organizations and endeavors for the common good. Teams of students research and create recommendations for how the nonprofit organizations can more effectively solve communications challenges. Basow’s service learning efforts have led to the creation of the Jayhawk Buddy System, KU’s responsible drinking program; cost-effective advertising strategies for the Lawrence ReStore; and marketing plans that engaged the KU community in creating a culture of conservation, among others.
Eudora Elementary School was selected for the community partner award in honor of its commitment to the academic, civic and personal development of KU students and their facilitation of effective service learning environments. For a decade, Eudora Elementary School has hosted KU elementary education majors as teaching assistants and lesson planners. Eudora Elementary School teachers mentor, guide and serve as role models for KU students while also providing feedback and evaluation of KU student work.
According to Diane Coffman, curriculum and teaching instructor, “The students learn so much by working with actual elementary students and being able to observe and interact with professional educators outside of our classroom setting.”
Reimer received the student award in recognition of her civic commitment, personal development, and positive academic and community impact through service learning. Reimer has had multiple leadership roles in KU Alternative Breaks, a student-run service learning program that organizes student volunteer trips across the country. In planning Alternative Breaks trips, Reimer created and maintained relationships with nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and worked to maximize the impact on fellow students of the Alternative Breaks preparatory class.
Of her experience with service, Reimer said, “The single most formative experiences for me at the University of Kansas have been those through service learning initiatives — the lessons which I have used to shape my lifestyle, goals, schoolwork and extracurricular involvement.”
Reimer has also volunteered with the Shawnee Mission School District and with the national nonprofit Education Pioneers. Reimer held a resident assistant position for the honors community in Templin Hall and made it a priority to engage the residents in service and service reflection.
The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility presented Reimer and Basow with their awards in surprise class visits. All three award winners were recognized at the 2013 Experiential Learning Certification Celebration in conjunction with recognition of students who received certifications in service learning, leadership studies and arts engagement.