2016 Recipients

This year’s award recognizes a joint effort to establish the BA in Ministry Leadership at Handlon Correctional Facility.

  • Michigan Department of Corrections: Warden Dewayne Burton and Bob Wolduis
  • Calvin Theological Seminary: Ronald Feenstra and John Rottman
  • Calvin College: Todd Cioffi (Congregational and Ministry Studies) and Christiana de Groot (Religion)

A successful partnership contributes to the well-being of communities, and in this case, multiple communities: the Handlon community, with reduced misconduct and violence; the home communities to which some of these prisoners will return, with a college degree ready to use their gifts to help others flourish; to other Michigan prisons, where these graduates will return after earning their degree to be “salt and light” in those places as they serve out life sentences; and to Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, as we witness first hand our mission being carried out, remember first hand God’s redemptive work, and learn from these new students just as surely as they will learn from us.

Purpose of the Award

The Award for Community-Based Teaching recognizes faculty members who have pursued significant academic community engagement that promotes effective learning in partnership with the church, community organization, agency, or business.


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