Faculty at the University of Maine at Presque Isle were honored with two Maine Campus Compact Awards this spring as part of the coalition’s 15th annual awards ceremony in Augusta. Dr. Lisa Leduc, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, was honored with a Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence and the UMPI Business Program was the recipient of a President’s Campus Leadership Award.
The ceremony recognized the outstanding work in public service and civic engagement by Maine faculty members and students. During the ceremony, officials presented nine President’s Campus Leadership Awards, three Donald Harward Faculty Awards, 6 Heart and Soul Student Awards, and a lifetime achievement award. Founded in 1994, the Maine Campus Compact is a non-profit statewide coalition of 18 member campuses that seek to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.
As the recipient of a Donald Harward Faculty Award, Dr. Leduc was recognized for making public service an integral part of her teaching, using service-learning and community action as an innovative teaching tool to engage students in civic learning, creating reciprocal partnerships with communities, and advocating for service-learning on campus and beyond.
Dr. Leduc has worked hard to infuse service-learning into the Criminal Justice curriculum. In fact, there are eight program learning outcomes within the Criminal Justice Program and service-learning relates directly to six of them. Since 2003, students have been required to complete three service-learning experiences prior to graduation. In a Restorative Justice course, students have worked with the Maine Department of Corrections and the District Attorney’s Office to generate a database of nonprofits that will accept court-mandated volunteers. They also have organized local trainings on Restorative Justice techniques for police officers, probation officers, judges and even staff from local schools.
In a Domestic Violence course, students have coordinated various fundraising and training events—the Safe Homes Aroostook 5K held each year in Presque Isle was originated as a service-learning project in this course. Students also have conducted research and collected data to help in the delivery of advocacy services.
Other experiences have ranged from students volunteering as mentors with the local Big Brother/Sister program as part of a Juvenile Justice course, to conducting research for local police by mapping cases of theft from vehicles in a Crime Control Policies course, to assisting women in the Aroostook County Jail, the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, and the Women’s Reentry Center by hosting book drives, organizing a job fair, and creating exit packages.
These service-learning experiences have led to other important opportunities for UMPI Criminal Justice students. A domestic violence service-learning project from last year was continued through a research internship with two UMPI students who presented their preliminary findings at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences annual meet in Denver this spring. One of those students will continue on as UMPI’s 2016-2017 Maine Policy Scholar and present research at the American Society of Criminology meetings in New Orleans in November.
The Criminal Justice Program hopes to publish some articles based on this data about trends in Protection from Abuse Orders in the County. A local community partner is using this data to revise court advocacy best practices and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is planning to use it for state-wide lobbying for judicial changes in the Protection from Abuse process.
Dr. Leduc’s leadership in this area ensures that service-learning efforts provide impactful experiences for her students and meaningful change in the criminal justice system regionally and statewide.
As the recipient of a President’s Campus Leadership Award, the UMPI Business Program was recognized for its use of service as an integral part of the college experience for students; its innovative approach to enhancing campus-based efforts to address community issues and needs; its efforts to sustain its work by developing strategies to integrate into the institution’s structure; and its deep, widespread impact on the campus and the community.
The UMPI Business Program involves its students in community work through a variety of venues and events, both connected to classroom academics and in volunteer positions. For the past three years, Project Management students coordinated all logistics for the Safe Homes Aroostook fundraising walk that supports Hope and Justice Project and Homeless Services of Aroostook. Several Business students also volunteer each year with the Titan Challenge, a Junior Achievement competition program for local high school students that is held at UMPI.
In addition, Accounting student offer tax preparation services to local elderly and/or economically stressed residents during the spring semester, and many Business students serve as volunteer organizers during major Biathlon events held in the region, assisting on planning committees ranging from spectator services to school programming to ceremonies.
The Maine Campus Compact’s Awards Ceremony was held at the State House Hall of Flags in Augusta on April 27. UMPI President Linda Schott attended the event to accept the awards on behalf of Dr. Leduc and the Business Program.
For more information about the Maine Campus Compact or the President’s Leadership Award, visit www.mainecompact.org.