2019 David Hoch Memorial Award for Service in Excellence Recipients Announced

April 5, 2019

The David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service is designed to recognize and honor the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement done by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution.  This award is named for the late David Hoch, the Dean of Honors at The University of Toledo, who served as the Director of Service Learning from 1999 – 2005.  Hoch was instrumental in initiating and nurturing the role of civic engagement at The University of Toledo, not only in the Honors Program, but in residence life and other departments as well. His guidance helped grow academic service-learning, student-led community service, and the presidential emphasis on broader civic engagement.

This award is given annually to up to two faculty or staff members from an Ohio Campus Compact member institution(s). To be considered, the nominee must demonstrate outstanding leadership in furthering the civic mission of the institution.  The president of the college or university must nominate each candidate.

“Across Ohio, college and university staff and faculty provide outstanding teaching, leadership and support for the civic development and education of college students. Ohio Campus Compact is pleased to recognize two of these faculty, Dr. Jolie Sheffer, Director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at Bowling Green State University, and Dr. Mary Ann Studer, Dean of the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity at Defiance College with the David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service.” ~Richard Kinsley, Executive Director, Ohio Campus Compact


Dr. Jolie Sheffer, Director, Institute for the Study of Culture & Society, Bowling Green State University

“She does her own community engaged teaching and research and works closely with our Center for Community and Civic Engagement, but in her own as the leader of a public humanities Institute, she is impacting our campus culture, creating powerful opportunities for students, faculty members and staff to engage with the community and develop their own skills and knowledge to create public good.” ~Dr. Rodney K. Rogers, President, Bowling Green State University 

Since I became Director in Fall 2016, I have reimagined of the Institute for the Study of Culture & Society (ICS) at BGSU, which was founded in 1996 to support interdisciplinary scholarship in the humanities and arts, to focus explicitly on thinking broadly about different forms of knowledge and connecting research with the broader community. This has taken several forms (see below). My efforts to foster relationships between the university and the surrounding community has profoundly affected me, both personally and professionally. In the current context when universities are under attack, and the humanities and arts funding is being cut, this work feels absolutely urgent. The work of ICS makes the case clearly and persuasively just how much universities do to address big social problems, foster innovation, increase equity and diversity in our communities, and prepare students for twenty-first-century life. Through this work, I have come to appreciate and love my university and the surrounding community in new, deeper ways. I have sought to strengthen and develop relationships with a variety of community partners, by helping BGSU faculty members to envision and plan meaningful collaboration with relevant organizations with who to share their work, and in turn to lead to new research and creative opportunities. For example, Dr. Lisa Hanasono, an associate professor of communication, served as a faculty fellow in Fall 2018, during which she developed a research project on the stigma of miscarriage and pregnancy loss. I worked with her to share that research with medical students and professors in the obstetrics/gynecology department at the University of Toledo, so that her research could materially affect how medical professionals communicate with their patients and their families about this important issue. In turn, that collaboration has led to a social scientific research project related to health communication and pregnancy loss, using data from patients and caregivers. The result is a virtuous circle, whereby research informs community practice, which in turns shapes another research project. All of this has incredible potential for impact in the entire region, over a long period of time. Similarly, I have now worked with the Bowling Green K-12 school district on several projects, the most recent of which is that Lara Lengel, professor of communication, is offering a continuing education workshop credit for school teachers in the district on the warning signs of human trafficking, a peer mentor training for teens about the warning signs of trafficking among teenagers (who are one of the highest risk groups), and collaborating with a nurse practitioner at the Wood County Hospital to collaborate to address human trafficking and sex work as public health issues. In yet another example, ICS brought in internationally recognized graphic designer Antionette Carroll, founder and CEO of the Creative Reaction Lab, to lead a four-hour workshop on Equity-Centered Community Design; participants included BGSU faculty, students, staff, and community partners from organizations including the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Wood County Board of Development Disabilities. Other current and recent community partners include the Toledo School for the Arts (grades 8-12), Bowling Green and Perrysburg chapters of the League of Women Voters, the Cocoon women’s shelter, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, and the Wood County Senior Center.

1) I have created new programs to engage undergraduate students in ICS activities, from low-impact practices such as emailing faculty teaching courses on related topics to bring their students to our events (external speakers, as well as BGSU Faculty Fellows) and creating general-audience curriculum guides (featuring videos, scholarly articles, journalism, podcasts, and websites) to supplement each of our events. A high-impact, experiential example of student engagement is the B.G. Ideas podcast, which I created, and for which I interview local and national experts working to create social change through art, activism and/or research; undergraduates majoring in Media Production edit those podcasts into a professional quality program. (We just completed our first season of eight episodes, which will be released in early April. Another season is in the works.)
In addition, I created an undergraduate internship program in ICS, which allows students to gain professional experience, for academic credit, applying skills from their major to the work of a public humanities center. For example, students majoring in public relations and journalism have written press releases (in conjunction with the university’s professional marketing and communications team), developed a social media campaign strategy, and written scripts for the podcast and a video interview series. Students majoring in graphic design have created posters, flyers, brochures, PowerPoint slide templates, and digital screens, as well as developed a protocol for improved accessibility for the visually impaired. Over the past two years, I have supervised twelve undergraduates from eight different majors, tailoring tasks to match their skills and professional interests. I take a great deal of care to provide regular feedback and professional advice on job materials, external internship applications, research opportunities across campus, and I serve as a professional reference or graduate school recommendation writer. The results have been remarkable – the interns have all become increasingly interested in, aware of, and committed to in community service and social justice work.
2) I have also sought to create a peer-to-peer community among the BGSU faculty to support community engaged scholarship. I reinvigorated an existing interdisciplinary research cluster model to provide material support and scaffolding, including developing a team-teaching fellowship to encourage innovative, interdisciplinary pedagogy with a community engagement component, and providing resources for public scholarship. This year, I am working with a new cluster devoted to the study of poverty to host a public panel discussion with activists in the region working on housing affordability and equity issues. In addition, in order to aid faculty in becoming more comfortable communicating their research expertise to non-academic audiences, I developed a media training program for BGSU faculty fellows. I also regularly bring together past, current, and future fellows to create a sense of community and share best practices for publicly-engaged scholarship. The goal is to create a supportive network for community- based work, which has both short- and long-term benefits.

Dean Mary Ann Studer, McMaster School for Advancing Humanity at Defiance College

“Dean Mary Ann Studer is a campus leader who understands how important transformative learning and collaboration are to a small, private institution in the recognized micropolitan of Defiance, Ohio.” ~Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, President, Defiance College

As Dean of the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity, I oversee three programs supported by an endowment created in 2003. First, I oversee the service leaders program that coordinates, monitors and develops leadership opportunities for students through service. This meets one of the mission pillars of Defiance College- To Serve. Second, I oversee the Honor’s Program at Defiance College where the best and brightest students collaborate in- and out- of the classroom. This meets two of the mission pillars of Defiance College- To Understand and To Know. Finally, I oversee our learning communities and community-based research programs. For 15 years I have led a program to Belize and oversee additional programs to Panama, Cambodia, Ghana, and Tanzania. Under my leadership, the School boasts a 100% graduation rate and 98% retention rate of student participants. I have presented over 45 times on the work of the McMaster program, and published six chapters/articles. The total estimated hours of work with communities is over 27,000 in the past 15 years.