Indiana Campus Compact Recognizes Professor for Service Engagement Teaching
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
Notre Dame, Ind. 46556
March 18, 2014 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College is proud to announce that Terri L. Russ, assistant professor of communication studies, is the recipient of the Indiana Campus Compact 2014 Brian Douglas Hiltunen Faculty Award for the Scholarship of Engagement. ICC recognizes Russ for encouraging her students to connect service with larger personal and professional goals through experiential learning. Russ is one of just four ICC Service Engagement Award recipients across the state this year and the only professor to be recognized.
Russ has incorporated elements of experiential learning outside of the classroom into her courses for many years and has partnered with community agencies around the area to co-educate her students. The students in her Public Communications course make regular visits to the Center of the Homeless in South Bend, where they work with adults and children.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Fleming was elated to learn Russ was chosen for the award recognition. “Dr. Terri Russ is one of the forerunners of experiential learning among our younger faculty. What shows in her course is true creativity. She brings two worlds together, guests at the Center for the Homeless who need to develop effective communication and presentation skills for the workplace and our students who need exposure to the realities of being a woman without the support systems which help them thrive. This is a type of learning that is embraced by the College in the strong traditions of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.”
Saint Mary’s College President Carol Mooney, who served as chair of Indiana Campus Compact from 2007 to 2008 was equally pleased to hear that a faculty member from Saint Mary's was honored with this award.
Peter J. Lombardo, director of community involvement at the center, nominated Russ. “We’re very fortunate that she chose to work with the Center, and for five years our guests have benefitted greatly from her classes, her concern, and her interest,” he wrote.
Erika Buhring, director of the College’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement and experiential learning coordinator, also nominated Russ. She said of Russ’ Public Communication students, “Not only did they speak of their personal transformations, but they also went on to tell stories of how their efforts impacted the guests at the Center for the Homeless where they had volunteered their time through her class. These students were not satisfied with the ‘system’ and wanted to work to alter it.”
Russ said of her approach to experiential learning, “I want to force my students to learn how to navigate the ambiguous, to be open to spontaneous changes in direction, and to realize that mistakes happen from which one must learn and move on. Instead of simply pondering how they can make a positive difference in the world, students become actively involved in making that difference.”
Russ will be recognized at a luncheon and awards program as part of the Indiana Campus Compact Service Engagement Summit on March 27 in Indianapolis.
About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary's College ranks 76 among the 248 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2014 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.