2021 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service

April 21, 2021

Ohio Campus Compact is pleased to announce the  David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service Recipient for 2021!

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 performed 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 a faculty or staff member from an Ohio Campus Compact member institution. 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.

“Ohio Campus Compact is pleased to recognize Dr. Shannon Orr, Professor of Political Science at Bowling Green State University, with the 2021 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service. Her tireless dedication and contributions to teaching, leadership and support for the civic development and education of college students deserves to be celebrated.” ~Richard Kinsley, Executive Director, Ohio Campus Compact

2021 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service Recipient

Dr. Shannon Orr, Bowling Green State University
Professor of Political Science

Teaching and Civic Engagement
During my time at Bowling Green State University I have been committed to developing, implementing and sustaining civic engagement in my work with students, professionally and personally. Students in my classes have completed well over 100 projects for community clients in the last 10 years.  These projects have included a wide range of clients including cities throughout Northwest Ohio (e.g. Vermillion, Bowling Green, Toledo, Defiance), museums (e.g. The National Museum of the Great Lakes), public libraries (e.g. Weston and Bowling Green), social services (e.g. housing) and many more. Many of these community clients involve long-term relationships – For example, I have been working with NASA Plum Brooke on a long-term public science project; and the work with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation has lasted more than 10 years.

BGSU TAP (Training Alliance for the Public Good)
In the summer of 2020, COVID19 created unprecedented challenges for non-profit organizations as fundraisers were cancelled, facilities closed and stay at home orders impacted staffing and volunteers. At the same time, the demand for services from food pantries, mental health services, domestic violence shelters and more skyrocketed. To respond to the challenges in our region I developed BGSU-TAP (Training Alliance for the Public Good). Throughout the summer I worked with 45 students training them in nonprofit management, grant writing and project management. Working in teams of three they were paired up with regional nonprofits in need of grant writing assistance. Each team prepared a submission ready grant proposal for their nonprofit partner – in total more than $250,000 in grant applications for 15 nonprofit organizations were submitted to help organizations with COVID19 response and recovery. In addition to the nonprofit support, this program served as professional development and an internship opportunity for these students during a time when those kinds of opportunities were very limited. For most of these students, this was not only their first experience with grant writing, but their first professional experience working in their chosen fields. Not only did the program have a positive impact on regional non-profits, but an unexpected side benefit was that we created a close community of students that connected weekly during our virtual training sessions/team meetings and socially during a time of great isolation due to the pandemic. 

Professional Civic Engagement
Beyond the classroom, I am also committed to community involvement using my academic expertise. In 2018 I co-chaired the review of the Bowling Green City Charter, which led to 7 amendments being places on the election ballot, all of which successfully passed. This work included facilitating meetings with a large community committee as well as sub-committees, meetings with city administrators and research into best practices for city governance. 

  • I have led strategic planning exercises with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation department – including holding 10 community public forums over the last 7 years.
  • I have provided support to local non-profits applying for funding from the State of Ohio as part of their capital planning grants. 
  • I have given numerous presentations at national academic conferences on integrating civic engagement in the classroom.
  • I have published a book “Environmental Policymaking and Stakeholder Collaboration:  Theory and Practice” with CRC Press (Taylor Francis) which includes guidelines on how to use 70 different community engagement practices for governments and non-profits 
  • I served as President of the Bowling Green Curling Club during the building of the dedicated ice curling center.
  • I am a regular volunteer with Brown Bag Food Project, a local food pantry.

Community-Based Projects in the Classroom
Examples of the more than 100 community based projects that I have completed in my classes include:

  • a random sample survey of Bowling Green residents to assess recycling interest for the City of Bowling Green, and proposal for a new design (which was implemented)
  •  Development of a public art strategic plan for the City of Defiance
  • Random sample community surveys for the City of Sandusky to assess public attitudes about neighborhood identity and historical markers 
  • Random sample survey of the residents of Bowling Green for the City School District to determine support for levies and building a consolidated elementary school.  
  • a feasibility study of developing a public campground at Oak Openings Metropark. 
  • a report for the Minister of Economic Development for the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in South Africa on how to reduce fires in the local townships caused by open candle flames. 
  • Grant writing for many local organizations such as Special Olympics and the Friendly Center
  • Best practices study of non-profit curling clubs across the United States which was then shared with the World Curling Federation and is being used to guide the building of curling clubs around the world.
  • Membership study for the Wood County Historical Society which led to them successfully applying for grants.
  • Needs assessment for the Wood County Committee on Aging 
  • Development of evaluation tools for the Ronald McDonald House of Toledo
  • County wide study of recycling in Wood County, along with a proposal for a new design for a 24 hour/7 day a week program which is currently being implemented
  • Pricing study for the Toledo Zoo
  • Development of a strategic plan for a non-profit preschool
  • Strategic planning for B.R.A.V.E. an anti-racism organization.

Personal Reflection
My teaching philosophy is oriented around the idea of “we do hard things”. I encourage my students to challenge their own way of thinking, to do more than they think is possible, and to think about how they can make a difference in the world.  Community based learning is tough! But the rewards are immeasurable. I feel so lucky to be able to share these experiences with my students.