The WVU Office of Service Learning Programs has awarded Mary Rodd Furbee, a Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism adjunct professor, its 2001-2002 award for Outstanding Service Learning Course.
Furbee, nominated by SOJ Dean Christine Martin, won the award for coordinating a journalism partnership between the Scotts Run community and the School of Journalism. WVU President David Hardesty Jr. awarded Furbee with $200 and a plaque Thursday (April 25) during an afternoon reception.
“I’m deeply grateful for this award because it recognizes that hands-on, community-based learning in a real-world setting is hugely beneficial to both students and communities,”Furbee said.”Together we tell the stories of vibrant, diverse and unsung rural West Virginia communities to the benefit of all.”
In Furbees Journalism 318 Community Journalism Partnership course, WVU students produce The Compass and the Mon Valley Voice, two student- and community-produced newspapers.
A W .K. Kellogg-WVU Expanding Community Partnerships grant funds the program. The university awards the grants to faculty-led initiatives that give students real-world experience.
“Service Learning is one of the most important missions of this university.
Teaching students lessons of public service while teaching them journalism constitutes the best of our curriculum,”Martin said.
Members of the Scotts Run Settlement House and students and faculty in the School of Journalism work together to produce The Compass three times during the school year.
The publication provides Osage-area residents information about civic, social and cultural events in the area. The Compass also offers interviews with long-time residents that reveal and highlight the areas cultural, social and political history. Journalism school students and community volunteers have produced the publication for two years.
“I’ve never worked so hard teaching, but I’ve never seen such rewards either. The Kellogg Foundation, Office of Service Learning, the School of Journalism and Rivesville and Scott’s Run communities are to be commended for their commitment,”Furbee said.
Furbee has been an instructor at the WVU School of Journalism for eight years. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a writer, editor and public television producer.
Furbee also writes books for children and adults, including Outrageous Women of Colonial America, Outrageous Women of the American Frontier; and Outrageous Women of the Civil War Times ( John Wiley&Sons ). Among her other titles are Shawnee Captive: The Story of Mary Draper Ingles; Anne Bailey: Frontier Scout; and Wild Rose: Nancy Ward of the Cherokee ( Morgan Reynolds ). She has also written The Complete Guide to West Virginia Inns ( South Wind Publishing ); Women of the American Revolution; and The Importance of Mohandas Gandhi (Lucent Books) .
Furbee’s books have been favorably reviewed by Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Pittsburgh Magazine, School Library Journal, Kidslit.com and other major children’s book periodicals. She earned a bachelors degree and a masters in journalism from WVU .
WVU has awarded the Outstanding Service Learning Course award for nearly four years to help raise the profile of service learning programs. A panel of faculty, administrators, a student and a community member select the award winner each year.
“This is a lot of extra effort for a course. But the experience for the students and benefits to the community are very worthwhile. It wouldn’t happen without faculty like Professor Furbee,”said Jill Kriesky, director of the Office of Service Learning.