UM-Flint Lecturer Tony McGill Receives 2012 Community Leadership Award

Communication Department Chair Heather Seipke (right) stands with Professor Tony McGill as he accepts the award.

Congratulations to Professor Tony McGill, Lecturer IV in the Communication and Visual Arts Department, for being the recipient of the 2012 Community Leadership Award presented by Richfield Public School Academy (RPSA) & the City of Flint as a result of his service-learning classes!

For many years, Tony has challenged his senior-level communications students to apply what they have learned in their Professional Communication concentration to real-world service-learning projects with 3-4 community partners each semester. In each of the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 semesters, a team of students in his capstone Senior Seminar in Professional Communications (COM 426) class mentored 7th and 8th graders in the RPSA Girls and Guys Leadership Club, building their skills and confidence.

Kathryn Hoover, the RPSA School Counselor, developed the nationally recognized mentoring program which involves peer mentoring, after-school youth clubs, and positive reward structures. In 2011, she asked University Outreach about the possibility of working with UM-Flint students in order to help her students see college as a possibility for their futures. Tony’s class was the perfect fit! Kathryn has been an energetic community partner and provided guidance to Tony’s students throughout the COM 426 service-learning project.

According to Kathryn, “Dr. McGill’s students represented the University of Michigan-Flint with the utmost of professionalism and integrity. They taught the material by also sharing personal experiences about themselves to help inspire our students. One of our students in the program has struggled greatly in the past and has even felt like life is not worth living. This student grew by leaps and bounds and said that their outlook on life completely changed and now looks forward to what the future holds. This is some powerful stuff! This program also enhanced the leadership ability of the college students.”

Upon receiving the 2012 Community Leadership Award, Tony shared this reflection: “It always surprises me when a student or alumnus tells me that the greatest learning experience they had in their undergraduate or graduate program was when I required them to do a service learning project. It does not surprise me that they found the experience so rewarding, what surprises me is the frequency with which I hear this. After well over 20 years of doing these projects I have come to believe that service learning projects are an integral part of higher education and an important responsibility of  each University of Michigan-Flint student, faculty, and staff employee.”

University Outreach thanks Kathryn Hoover and Mayor Dayne Walling for bestowing this award on Professor McGill, and appreciates the students who made such a difference at RPSA (Kevin Galloway, Ryan Garland, Dan Lynch, James Murphy, Randy Owens, and Julius Taylor).