Service Learning Definition

Faculty efforts in research, scholarship and teaching or a combination that involves students in outreach to connect to the greater community.

This award recognizes the leadership efforts of faculty to prepare students with the academic skills and knowledge to address the genuine needs of the community with special emphasis on sustained efforts to foster a deeper understanding of applied civic engagement.

Learn more and nominate an individual

2022 - Congratulations to Galen Brokaw!

Susanne Cowan

Galen Brokaw, is a professor of Hispanic studies and Latin American and Latino studies and the head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. He has taught service learning courses since 2016. His course pairs MSU students with English language learners in the Bozeman Public Schools. MSU language students are placed in elementary school classes that include students not fluent in English.

Learn more about Galen's award

Learn more about the 2022 awardees

Click here to see all past recipients

General Eligibility Criteria:

  • Sustained (demonstrated longer term continuity) community outreach involving students
  • Maintains or establishes partners in the community
  • Integrates research, scholarship and teaching in service learning initiatives

The selection committee will evaluate nominees on the following criteria:

  • Learning Objectives ~Describe the overall objectives of the service learning course - inlcude community partner if applicable. What were the course learning outcomes? (Please attach a copy of the syllabus from the service learning course.)
  • Service Learning Activities ~ Identify the community need and provide a broad overview of the service learning activities students provided to meet that community need
    • How was the need identified and by whom?
    • Provide examples of students’ service activities
    • Describe the structure of course activities and how they were evaluated
    • Describe how service activities were integrated with the academic content of the course
    • Describe the impact of service learning course on the students, the community, and the faculty member and community partner. How was impact measured?
  • Assessment of Student Learning ~ Describe formal assessments of student learning. What types of assessments and critical reflection activities were used in this course and how did these benefit the student learning outcomes and meet the community need? How did students integrate learning derived from service with course learning outcomes?
  • Partnership (if applicable) ~ Describe how this partnership evolved at MSU.
    • Explain the connection to MSU and the roles and responsibilities of each partner in this service learning course initiative. How did partners maintain communication?
    • Why was this partnership a success?
  • Selection Criteria: The assessment of nominees will be heavily weighted around how well the service learning course meets the best practices of service learning:
    • Demonstrates sustained (longer term continuity) community outreach involving students
    • Maintains or establishes partners in the community
    •  Addresses a community identified need 
    • Integrates faculty research, scholarship and teaching in service learning initiatives involving students
    •  Identifies service learning course objectives and learning outcomes
    • Requires students to integrate learning derived from service with course learning outcomes through critical reflection exercises and assessments

Faculty members and their community partners are asked to complete their nomination online.

Click here for more information. 

Questions about the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning should be addressed to Nina Mondré Schweppe, Chair of the Service Learning Advisory Committee at [email protected].

Past Recipients

 2021 - Congratulations to Susanne Cowan! 

Dr. Susanne Cowan

Susanne Cowan, who came to MSU in 2014, researches the relationship between urban design and the social conditions of cities. In particular, she studies the impact of participatory democracy and community organizing on neighborhood planning.

Learn more about Susanne's award

See all of the 2021 awardees


        2020  Lucia Ricciardelli, associate professor of film in the School of Film and Photography

See all of the 2020 awardees

2019  Wendy Bianchini Morrison, instructor in the Department of Health and Human Development.

See all of the 2019 awardees

2018    Thomas McNab, a member of the faculty in the School of Architecture.

See all of the 2018 awardees