Illinois State’s Collaboratory Civic Engagement Champion: Dr. Miranda Lin is the inaugural recipient of award


Reposted from Illinois State University News

By Henrique Villela

Dr. Miranda Lin, professor in the College of Education, was selected by the Center for Civic Engagement as the first Collaboratory Civic Engagement Champion. The new award was created in recognition of civically engaged teaching, scholarship, and service efforts from faculty/staff members in collaboration with community partners.

Collaboratory Civic Engagement Champions are selected based on activity reported on Collaboratory, a database that collects information on a variety of activities from all faculty/staff members (e.g., community-engaged research, outreach programs, events, course-based experiences, co-curricular activities) that utilize community engagement principles, practices, and/or pedagogies.

A professor of early childhood education, Lin was recognized for her collaboration with Western Avenue Community Center. Last spring, Lin’s Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning class partnered with the organization to provide volunteer support for both senior and youth programs. Her students engaged in service projects tailored to particular groups, including tutoring K-12 students, collecting and donating personal care items for seniors, and connecting youth with community resources. Lin noted that she was honored by the recognition and that it represents “not a one-person effort but a collective effort of the faculty and the community partners who want to enrich student learning and do good for their communities.”

Lin is a firm believer that community engagement needs to be organic to the students’ experience. “They need to be on the same page, so they think it is natural to get to know the community and do something for the community they care about, not because they need to do something as a course credit,” she said. Thus, her students engage in different projects across multiple courses. In one of her classes, education majors created a free library for YWCA’s Young Wonders program, promoting book drives and sourcing all the materials.

“Dr. Miranda Lin’s efforts illustrate Illinois State University’s core value of civic engagement and highlight our commitment to promoting active learning experiences where students see themselves as ethical leaders with the power of making a positive impact in their community,” said Dr. Ani Yazedjian, acting vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost.

The Collaboratory Civic Engagement Champion trophy awarded to Lin is a traveling trophy that will be passed on to the next awardee. Jeritt Williams, assistant professor of engineering technology, and Dr. Ashley Waring-Sparks, STEM program coordinator at the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, contributed to the trophy design, which features a 3D-printed Reggie at the top.

University activities related to civic engagement reported on Collaboratory can be submitted by faculty, staff, or students and will automatically be considered for the Collaboratory Civic Engagement Champion award.

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