OVERLAND PARK – University of Kansas Associate Professor Cheryl Lester received the Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship Award during the 2011 Campus Compact Heartland Conference, which was Sept. 22-23 in Overland Park.
The award recognizes successful use of service learning, a teaching method that integrates meaningful community service into the curriculum and incorporates student reflection to enrich the learning experience. Nominees from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Campus Compact member institutions were eligible to receive this inaugural award, and one faculty member from each state was recognized at this year’s regional conference.
Lester was recognized for her continual collaboration with Audio Reader, a reading and information service for people in Kansas and western Missouri with blindness, visual impairments or print disabilities.
Since 2006, Lester has incorporated service to Audio Reader in her Jewish American Literature and Culture classes. Initially involving her students as readers of Jewish content to be made available to listeners, Lester has continually progressed her students’ service learning experiences with Audio Reader to benefit both the organization and the students’ learning.
Two other inaugural service learning awards were given by the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma Campus Compacts to three recipients each at the Campus Compact Heartland Conference: the Community Engagement Professional of the Year Award and the Outstanding Community & Campus Collaboration Award.
The University of Kansas is a member of Kansas Campus Compact, an organization headquartered in Manhattan, Kan., that funds and facilitates service learning and civic engagement at the higher education level. Kansas Campus Compact belongs to Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,100 colleges and universities dedicated to community engagement.