Nov. 1, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces the College was awarded a $4,500 Davis Educational Foundation-funded “Campuses for Environmental Stewardship” grant from the Campus Compact of Southern New England (CCSNE) to develop a community-based learning theme across a variety of courses in collaboration with a common community partner.

The Campuses for Environmental Stewardship (CES) program aims to engage teams of faculty from various disciplines in collaborative efforts to integrate service learning into the curriculum. For this project, MCLA is partnering with Jennifer Munoz from Growing Healthy Garden Program to address issues related to food security.

The grant-funded program aims to engage undergraduates from multiple degree programs. Students will design projects to advance Growing Healthy Garden’s mission, and will provide information and resources of value to the northern Berkshire community.

According to Dr. Anne Goodwin, professor of biology, none of the four classes associated with this project are new to MCLA. “Rather, we are implementing an interdisciplinary community-based learning initiative across four already-existing courses,” she said.

Courses include this semester’s Global Health class, taught by Dr. Anna Jaysane-Darr, assistant professor of anthropology. She explained, “Our project focuses on food insecurity in the northern Berkshires and the role of sustainable, local agriculture in addressing community food needs.”

During the spring 2019 semester, students in three additional courses will use the results from interviews conducted by the students in the Global Health course to design their projects. These courses are Health Promotion and Planning with Dr. Nicole Porther, assistant professor of public and community health; Politics and Environmental Policy with Dr. Elena Traister, professor of environmental studies; and Nutrition, taught by Goodwin.

In total, the CES program will train college faculty from 16 baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to develop and deliver courses which partner with community organizations to address pressing issues, such as environmental stewardship, food security, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

In 2016, the governing board of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Campus Compacts unanimously voted to merge the three states into a regional Campus Compact for Southern New England (CCSNE). Officially launched in July 2017, the organizational shift leverages the strong infrastructure for engagement collectively built in the three states over 20-plus years to create a national model for integrated community-based teaching and research across state lines.

CCSNE aims to advance the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility by placing emphasis on partnerships to support student success and civic learning across the education continuum.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.​

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