President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning: Sarah Church, Founders Day Faculty Awards, Academic Year 2022-23. Portrait of Sarah Church.

Sarah Church

Sarah Church, assistant professor of geography and planning in the Department of Earth Sciences, is the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award, which is sponsored by the President's Office and comes with a $1,000 honorarium, recognizes a faculty member who has engaged students to apply their academic skills and knowledge in addressing the needs of a community organization.  

Since joining the faculty in 2019, Church has integrated community service into many of her classes, resulting in contributions both to student learning and local knowledge of urban planning issues that relate to the Gallatin Valley and Montana. One project involved at least 75 students from three departments in a two-year project with the Northeast Neighborhood Association and city of Bozeman planning division. Their work included interpreting data about the neighborhood from residents, inventorying the Northeast neighborhood housing stock and contributing to a report on the neighborhood’s character. Church’s students also worked on several other projects with the city’s planning and stormwater divisions, investigating neighborhood character and infill and furthering citizen understanding of public participation processes, and the city’s understanding of Bozeman residents’ perceptions related to stormwater. 

In nominating Church for the award, Susanne Cowan, associate professor in the School of Architecture, wrote, “Church’s enthusiasm in embracing local challenges and connecting students to local professionals and stakeholders enriches her teaching and benefits the community.”