2018 Recipients

Congratulations to Emily Helder and Marji Gunnoe of the Calvin psychology department and MaDonna Princer and Phyllis Love of Kent County Headstart, the recipients of the 2018 Community-Based Teaching Award!

Purpose of the Award

Emily, Marji, MaDonna, and Phyllis are being recognized for this award for their contributions to the joint effort between Calvin’s psychology department and Headstart, a non-profit agency that provides holistic, family-centered services at no cost to qualifying families in Kent County, Michigan. This partnership has grown over 20 years, during which countless Calvin students have been placed in Headstart programs throughout the Grand Rapids community, supporting the well-being and development of young children while building their own skills and intercultural competence. This award recognizes the tireless efforts of Emily, Marji, MaDonna, and Phyllis in challenging students to work for the good of their local community while preparing for lives of compassionate service.


Any full-time or reduced-load member of the teaching faculty may be nominated for this award.

Selection Criteria

Calvin College is embedded in a community with particular issues, strengths, and needs, and the particularities of our place create the context from which engaged learning grows. Ernest Boyer, former president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, wrote, “The academy must become a more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems.” As outlined in the Calvin College Strategic Plan, the college seeks to foster academic work that serves the church and seeks to partner with local city groups, agencies, and businesses for learning and service. Award recipients will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative pedagogy and/or research methodologies that address a pressing contemporary issue.
  • Demonstrated commitment to building sustained, mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Exceptional impact on students which is evidenced in the testimony and lives of current and former students.
  • Significant contribution to the well-being of the community which is evidenced in the testimony of community partners.
  • Service to the college, the church, the profession, or the community.

Selection Process

From September through October, the provost will solicit letters of nomination from students, individual faculty members, department chairs, the Office of Community Engagement, and the Service-Learning Center. The academic deans will review faculty activities reports and state of the department reports and, based on their review, may make their own nominations. In consultation together and with the provost, the academic deans will decide on up to three nominees to present to the Professional Status Committee. There is no restriction regarding how many nominees may come from a single department or division. The Professional Status Committee will select the award recipient by December 1.

Past Recipients