Rebecca Seguin, assistant professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and James Lassoie, professor in the Department of Natural Resources, were named 2015 Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellows in Service-Learning April 21.
The Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship recognizes faculty members who have had a significant impact on undergraduate, professional or graduate education at Cornell by involving their students in service-learning programs. Kaplan faculty fellows receive $5,000 to further develop a community-based learning or research project, to initiate a new effort, or to make service-learning courses a regular part of the curriculum.
Seguin’s project involves working with undergraduate and graduate research assistants as well as the undergraduate students in her course Introduction to Public Health (NS1600). In the first part of the project, students will help guide a resident-led community change initiative targeting improvements in food and physical activity environments in rural communities.
They will participate in site visits, conduct focus groups and interviews, and assist resident groups in evaluating their project successes. In the second part of the project, research assistants – who also will be teaching assistants for the Introduction to Public Health course – will share their community-engaged experiences with the undergraduates in the course, who will create their own concept for a community-engaged project plan.
Lassoie’s project builds on the service-learning course Building Student-Community Partnerships in Intag, Ecuador. Student teams begin working with community partner organizations on projects during the fall semester while they prepare for a three-week field service trip over winter intersession. To date, about 30 students have worked with Ecuadorean partners including community-based cooperatives that promote women artisans and on organic coffee cultivation, ecotourism and watershed conservation.
As a Kaplan faculty fellow, Lassoie will develop and test an option to integrate an undergraduate research program into the course sequence. The project aims to enhance student service-learning while also building sustainable development capacity for Intag communities.
The Kaplan awards are administered by Cornell’s Public Service Center.