UM-Flint Selects Boyer Faculty Scholars

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Amy Yorke, assistant professor of physical therapy, is one of four Boyer Faculty Scholars for the 2015/2016 year.
Amy Yorke, assistant professor of physical therapy, is one of four Boyer Faculty Scholars for the 2015/2016 year.

The University of Michigan-Flint has chosen its Boyer Faculty Scholars for the 2015/2016 year.

The recipients receive advanced training in the scholarship of community engagement and $1,500 each for their projects.

The year's Boyer Faculty Scholars are: Amal Alhosban, assistant professor of computer science; Jamie Creps, assistant professor of physical therapy and associate director of post professional programs for the physical therapy department; Amy Yorke, assistant professor of physical therapy; and Emily Feuerherm, assistant professor of linguistics in the English department.

The program is run through University Outreach and funded by the Office of the Provost.

The initiative extends beyond the Faculty Scholars and offers workshops for a larger audience. Since the initiative formed, more than 130 faculty, staff, community members and students have attended Boyer workshops, including on engagement and partnerships.

The Faculty Scholars receive direct guidance from Outreach on their projects and overall scholarship. Near the end of the academic year, the scholars report on what they've learned and how their projects developed.

University Outreach program manager Mona Munroe-Yoenis said the program helps develop a network of support and knowledge for faculty. It also helps develop a blueprint for incorporating their ideas at the community level.

"It gives them a place to network with other like-minded colleagues who want to explore these same topics together," she said.

Yorke added a new layer to her "Neuromuscular Plan of Care in Practice" class in the Winter 2015 semester. Her 2nd year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students worked directly with community members with neurological challenges. The adult patients received therapy at the university's Urban Health and Wellness Center.

"It helps the students learn. It also gives people from the community a chance to give back through our students, through sharing of their stories and being willing to partner with our students' learning. This is a way for them to feel 'I am doing something of value'," Yorke said.

The Boyer program will help Yorke extend the initiative further into the community, including networking with churches and area support groups.

"I'm excited the university supports this kind of scholarship of engagement and recognizes the value in it," she said.

Feuerherm, who joined the university last fall said UM-Flint's community engagement initiatives and faculty support services helped attract her to the job.  As part of her project, she is researching the need for community based English as a second language services in Flint and throughout Genesee County, with a focus on families. Her students will help teach and tutor English. The ability to work on real-life issues in real settings fuels her research, Feuerherm said.

Students in Alhosban's "System Analysis" class will develop computer applications for disabled K-12 students to help them with daily activities. The project will include outreach to the area schools and communications with area hospitals and disability centers, Alhosban said.

Beyond the technical skills learned in the class, Alhosban said the work will help students build connections within the community and spark ideas within them to help the area.

Creps and a team of DPT students have been collecting data from patients at PT Heart, the student led pro bono clinic run by the university at the North End Soup Kitchen. The information, including treatment plan restrictions and prior medical conditions, will help better serve them, he said.  Tapping into the knowledge of the Outreach staff and the previous and current Boyer Faculty Scholars, Creps said, will help him fine-tune and expand his knowledge in community engagement.

"I'm totally stoked that I will be able to get a huge leg up from these people," he said.

Including this year, there have been 17 Boyer Faculty Scholars.

PHOTO: Amy Yorke, assistant professor of physical therapy, is one of four Boyer Faculty Scholars for the 2015/2016 year.

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