John Carroll University professor, Margaret (Peggy) Finucane, Ph.D., has received the 2014 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service. The award honors the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution. Since 2006, Dr. Finucane has served as director of JCU’s Center for Service and Social Action, while also serving as a faculty member in the Tim Russert Department of Communication & Theatre Arts. In this capacity, she has broadened and deepened the scope of service and service learning across campus and significantly increased the University’s engagement with the Cleveland community. As a faculty member at JCU, Dr. Finucane has integrated service-learning into several courses she has taught, including Cultivating Community, a class dedicated to learning about the economic, political, historical, and religious complexities of an urban neighborhood in Cleveland. The class culminated in a service day, which has evolved into the Jesuit Day of Service that now includes the 10 Jesuit institutions in Northeast Ohio. Over 700 people are expected to participate this year. Under Dr. Finucane’s leadership, JCU has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for six consecutive years. In 2013, JCU was selected as a Presidential Award Finalist, one of 14 colleges and universities nationwide to receive this recognition. Among Dr. Finucane’s many accomplishments:
- Co-founded the We the People Service-Learning program in 2005 that pairs JCU students with area 5th, 8th and 10th graders to conduct activities to reinforce learning about the U.S. Constitution, civic engagement and issues of injustice. The program has reached more than 2,000 children in under-resourced Cleveland schools since its inception.
- Co-created the Arrupe Scholars Program to provide scholarships to students who demonstrate a commitment to service and social justice. Currently the largest student organization on campus, the Arrupe Scholars have organized days of service, food drives, and advocated on issues, including human trafficking, wrongful conviction, and fair trade.
- Supported the exponential growth of service-learning courses—from 35 to 82—offered at JCU during her tenure as director of the Center for Service and Social Action. Weekly service participation has increased 725% under her leadership.
- Advocated for the creation of the Staff Service Award and the University’s new Mission Leave policy, which allows staff to participate in mission-related activities as part of their University work.
- Helped to secure a grant from the McGregor Foundation for the creation of a curricular program focusing on Poverty and Solidarity. The funds were used to support faculty development, create a speaker series on campus, and to support student education on social issues by serving the poor. This program has evolved into the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, which provides summer service internships.
In 2012, CSSA celebrated 20 years of making service an integral part of the John Carroll experience—of fulfilling the Jesuit mission of being men and women for others. Last year, approximately two-thirds of John Carroll students dedicated 70,000 hours to service activities, including about 1,000 students who chose weekly service opportunities at 75 sites throughout Cleveland. Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide non-profit coalition of 47 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education. “David Hoch Memorial Award winners exemplify the important role higher education plays in helping to envision and create the type of society and world we all want to live in,” stated Richard Kinsley, executive director of Ohio Campus Compact. “Dr. Finucane exemplifies this ethic. She is a consummate professional with a long personal history of service to others and a tireless commitment to the Cleveland community.”