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McGuire Showcases Her Students’ Community Engagement Undergraduate Research Work in Her Lundquist Lecture

May 20, 2021

Dr. Gail McGuire, professor of Sociology and director of Community Engagement

Honored and humbled to be named the 33rd Lundquist Fellow, Dr. Gail McGuire, professor of Sociology and director of Community Engagement, showcased her students’ work and asked them to speak about the personal and academic impact of their undergraduate research and community engagement experiences in her recent Lundquist lecture.

Pulling all my students’ work together and to see it all in one place, like the radio and photo essays, the publications, the presentations, really made me think, Wow, over this 20-year career my students have really done amazing work,’ she remarked. It’s just a reminder that when you set the bar high, our students will rise to the challenge and reach it with some support. They will publish in national outlets; they will present at conferences in Toronto and Seattle and Denver.

The Lundquist Award is the campus’ highest faculty award made to a meritorious faculty member of Indiana University South Bend, who has exhibited excellence in teaching, scholarly, or artistic achievement and service.

In his letter nominating McGuire for the award, Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Anthropology David Blouin noted McGuire’s devotion and dedication to her students’ growth and learning and her passion for community engagement.

Blouin emphasized his colleague’s commitment to fostering student and faculty engagement in the community. The accomplishments for which Gail is probably best known on campus, and which make her most deserving of this award, are her work on community engagement. He emphasized a community partnership he and McGuire initiated in 2008 with the City of Elkhart that still continues today. The ongoing partnership has been immensely fruitful for our students, in particular, but also for our community partners and faculty, he noted.

Inspired to foster and facilitate community engaged undergraduate research across the university, McGuire was also part of a small group of sociology and anthropology faculty who began working together in 2015 to build infrastructure and formalize community engagement throughout the campus. Because of Gail’s leadership our campus has been transformed, Blouin explained. We now have a Community Engagement Director; we applied for designation as a Carnegie Engaged Campus, which we did not receive but we’ll try again; and there are now more community-engaged classes on campus than ever before.

Likewise, Chancellor Susan Elrod commended McGuire’s efforts to facilitate campus-wide community engagement opportunities, noting one of her top priorities as chancellor of IU South Bend is to deepen current university community partnerships and develop new ones. Dr. McGuire’s work has been instrumental in this effort, she said.

Gail really cares about her students and does everything in her power to help them succeed, often well after they have graduated, Blouin noted. Most importantly, she is exceptional at helping our students make a crucial step in their development, changing from passive consumers of information to knowledge creators and professionals.

A former student acknowledged the positive impact McGuire’s mentorship had on her academic achievements. There were numerous times I thought about giving up on my education, she said. After talking with Gail it usually ended up with me feeling more hopeful than ever before.

Reflecting on her role at IU South Bend, McGuire said, My goal is trying to facilitate opportunities and connect faculty with potential partners, connect students with potential internships, she said.

After listening to her lecture, McGuire said her friends and family marveled at the wonderful supportive community she has at IU South Bend. It just reminded me how fortunate I am and why I love teaching at IU South Bend, she said. I just feel like I have the best colleagues, and we’re always looking to promote each other and looking for opportunities for each other.

During the lecture it was announced that Dr. Neovi Karakatsanis, professor of Political Science and the director of the Honors Program, was named the 34th Lundquist Fellow. I’m deeply honored to be the 2021 Lundquist Fellow, said Karakatsanis. I’ve always seen this award as something faculty strive to achieve. Past fellows certainly set the bar high, and I’ll have big shoes to fill.

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