RIT Senior Associate Dean Named National Sustainability Champion
M. Ann Howard selected for community sustainability work and innovative ideas
Jan. 11, 2012
by Vienna Carvalho-McGrain
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Ann Howard, senior associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology, has earned the American College Personnel Association’s Champion of Sustainability award.
Howard has been working in the field of community sustainability for more than two decades. As part of her work in this area, she established and oversees the University/Community Partnerships program in cooperation with resident leaders of neighborhoods in northeast Rochester. The community-based learning model emphasizes student learning and development through active participation in organized experiences and community-based participatory research projects that meet community needs, coordinated through on-going collaboration between the classroom and the community. Projects that have arisen through the University/Community Partnerships program include a 10-year community health initiative, community-based asset mapping and the establishment of a community garden network.
The Champion of Sustainability award is granted each year to the individual or group that best models the triple bottom line of sustainability—healthy environments, social justice and strong economies. The award recognizes the contributions and impact of individuals and organizations regarding sustainability that have made a significant impact upon their department and/or campus by incorporating sustainability into student learning, scholarship or administrative processes. The award also acknowledges regional and/or national involvement in sustainability.
“Ann takes students through the process of self-reflection, intellectual engagement and then helps them become agents of social change and community development,” says Enid Cardinal, RIT’s senior sustainability adviser to the president. “She uses sustainability as a way to bring light to the connections between natural and human communities, between nature and culture, and the connections between environmental, economic and social systems, with an emphasis on equity and social justice. Students who work with her do not have a ‘master plan’ of how Rochester should appear; instead they collaborate with the citizens of Rochester and together both groups learn from one another.”
Adds Deborah Blizzard, professor and chairperson of RIT’s science, technology and society/public policy department: “Every student who interacts with Professor Howard learns both the topic as she teaches and the meaning of engagement as she leads them on a journey promoting personal integrity. She inspires through her teaching and her actions. She is an advocate for change when needed and is not afraid to do the work to make it happen.”
The award will be presented in Louisville, Ky., on March 26.
RIT In the News
Brighton-Pittsford Post — Jan. 12, 2012
RIT senior associate dean earns American College Personnel Association’s Champion of Sustainability