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USM’s Ben Towne Receives Service Learning Excellence Award

University of Southern Maine faculty member Ben Towne has been awarded The Maine Campus Compact’s Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence. The Harward Award recognizes faculty who integrate community or public service into their teaching and engage students in civic learning.

Towne, clinical coordinator of athletic training in USM’s Department of Exercise, Health and Sport Sciences, also has been named the 2011 recipient of the USM Outstanding Faculty/Staff Involvement Award in recognition of his positive influence on student achievement.

He and his students have partnered with the local non-profit organization Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic, as well as USM’s School of Nursing to offer an interdisciplinary service learning initiative in the Dominican Republic.  As a result, he travels with athletic training, nursing, and Hispanic studies students twice each year to help provide care to those less fortunate. 

Towne, a resident of Saco, has advocated both regionally and nationally for the inclusion of service learning into athletic training curricula.  He has presented locally at the Maine Athletic Trainers’ Association, and also nationally at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Annual Meeting & Clinical Symposia.  His topics have included “Promoting Ethnic Diversity via Cultural Immersion”, and “International Service Learning in Athletic Training Education.” 

Most recently, Towne had his editorial, “International Service Learning in Athletic Training: It’s About Time” published in the October 2010 edition of the Athletic Training Education Journal.   He also serves on the NATA’s International Council, as an advocate for the inclusion of service learning into the profession of athletic training itself.

“International service learning is not yet widely practiced in athletic training education,” said Towne, “and I truly hope that faculty and programs recognize the impact service learning courses can have on students, professionals, and the public they will ultimately be caring for.”    

Towne travels extensively, also serving as a volunteer athletic training coach for the United States Bobsled and Skeleton teams for the past five years.  He provides medical coverage on the World Cup Tour and the World Championships.  He recently returned in February after working the 2011 World Championships in Konigsee, Germany.

The Harward Award is named for former Bates College president Donald W. Harward, the founder of Maine Campus Compact. The Maine Campus Compact is a coalition of 18 member campuses whose purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.