Barry McNamara  |  Published February 01, 2023

‘Neighbors Supporting Neighbors’

Monmouth, Knox receive ACM grant to bolster community/civic engagement

MONMOUTH, Ill. – A grant to Monmouth and Knox colleges will help both colleges strengthen their ties to their local communities.

The two liberal arts colleges received a grant from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest to work on “Neighbors Supporting Neighbors: Building Institutional Capacity for Community-Based Learning at Knox and Monmouth Colleges.”

NEIGHBORS SUPPORTING NEIGHBORS: Monmouth student Elijah Lind (right) is shown working with a stud... NEIGHBORS SUPPORTING NEIGHBORS: Monmouth student Elijah Lind (right) is shown working with a student at the Teen Recharge Center in downtown Monmouth, part of the community engagement that professor Lori Walters-Kramer worked into one of her courses last fall.Both Monmouth and Knox recently adopted new core curricula that require students to complete a course or immersive experience with a “community/civic engagement” designation. The $18,280 grant will help both colleges’ faculty implement that requirement with their students.

The project’s goals are to help faculty use community-based teaching practices in their classes and increase the number of courses that include high-impact community-based teaching practices, which will provide more opportunities for classes to engage with their local community.

“This is an opportune time to heighten awareness of community-engaged learning, reinforce the value of collaboration between student-life staff and academic-affairs personnel, and bring community voices into the conversation.” Lori Walters-Kramer

“With both colleges expanding their civic engagement staff and new faculty members joining the teaching ranks every year, this is an opportune time to heighten awareness of community-engaged learning, reinforce the value of collaboration between student-life staff and academic-affairs personnel, and bring community voices into the conversation,” said Monmouth communication studies professor Lori Walters-Kramer.

At Monmouth, Walters-Kramer worked on securing the grant along with biology professor Eric Engstrom, educational studies professor Tammy LaPrad, and Wackerle Center for Career, Leadership & Fellowships Director Marnie Dugan.

STORY TIME: Isa Perez, one of Lori Walters-Kramer's students last fall, reads a book to a riv... STORY TIME: Isa Perez, one of Lori Walters-Kramer's students last fall, reads a book to a riveted audience in the children's section of the Warren County Public Library.Last fall, students in Walters-Kramer’s “Vocation and the Common Good” class served various organizations in the Monmouth-Warren County community. Work included providing tutoring at the Teen Recharge Center in downtown Monmouth and leading story time at the Warren County Public Library.

“The first phase of the grant-funded project will allow us to bring an expert to one of our campuses to provide faculty and staff information about the history, value and best practices of community-based pedagogies,” said Walters-Kramer. “Those of us on the team from Monmouth College hope that faculty in departments that do not currently offer a community-engagement course will be inspired to consider participating in the next phase of the grant-funded project which involves providing faculty who want to develop a community-engagement project a stipend as well as time to workshop their ideas with others.”

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