Brenda Schaefer of Moraine Park Technical College has been selected by the Wisconsin Campus Compact (WiCC) to receive the 2015 Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award. The Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award recognizes outstanding faculty or staff members of WiCC member institutions who have made significant contributions to civic engagement on their campus. The purpose of this award is to honor practitioners who have built successful campus-community partnerships to both support student learning and development and the civic mission of the institution.
“This award is a collaborative effort amongst the students and faculty at Moraine Park. The race is not about receiving the medal, but the journey along the way, the people we reach out to and the difference we make together - together is always better!” said Schaefer. “At Moraine Park, we are focused on building community connections and helping others; it’s because of this focus, along with the faculty and students that strive to make this happen, that my job is incredibly fulfilling every day.”
Schaefer is the sociology faculty and service-learning coordinator at Moraine Park. Under her leadership and guidance, the service-learning program at Moraine Park has developed into an established and respected program within the College and among higher education partners. Since 2013, Schaefer has worked on institutionalizing service-learning at Moraine Park by recreating definitions of service-learning, creating framework guides and classroom rubrics.
Schaefer implemented NobleHour, a tracking program to help record service activities and provide program impact data for administrators. She also supported the creation of a Service-Learning Certificate as part of degree coursework for undergraduate students.
In order to provide a uniform service-learning model, Schaefer developed training materials and opportunities for faculty, ensured diverse engagement activities, and integrated this model into a variety of unconventional fields and disciplines, including welding, construction, corrections and IT. As a way to ensure future commitments to service-learning, she coordinates service-learning projects for a requirement course on campus.
"Brenda Schaefer has transformed service-learning at Moraine Park. Without knowing where it could be, she set an expectation level for this effort at the College, and students and faculty responded,” stated Caron Daugherty, Moraine Park’s dean of general education. “Moraine Park now has one of the most established and highly regarded programs in the state thanks to her vision."
Every year, WiCC recognizes outstanding civic engagement practices by individuals and organizations at member institutions in hopes to celebrate the efforts of dedicated civic engagement practitioners across the state; reinforces the essential role of community involvement in holistic student learning; and promotes institutionalization of civic engagement on member campuses. For more information on service-learning at Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu/servicelearning.