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Laurier Community Psychology program receives first-ever Langs Farm Award
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Thirty years ago, faculty members and graduate students from Laurier’s Community Psychology program were instrumental in founding the Langs Farm Village Association, an organization that provides accessible community services to Cambridge residents.
It’s fitting then that 30 years later, Langs Farm has recognized Laurier’s Community Psychology program with its first annual Muriel Bechtel Award for Educational Partners.
The award was established in honour of Bechtel, a founding member of the organization who encourages lifelong learning. It acknowledges educational partners who support the organization, facilitate learning and create research opportunities.
“It is a great honour and privilege to receive this award,” says community psychology professor Dr. Geoff Nelson. “It is very humbling.”
While the award is a formal recognition of Laurier’s partnership with Langs Farm, the Community Psychology program has been rewarded many times over the years as it gained the benefits of a reciprocal relationship with the organization and watched Langs Farm grow and flourish.
“This is an excellent example of how a community-university partnership should work,” says Nelson. “It has provided training for students, the potential for faculty and student research, and service to the community, all done in a collaborative way so that all partners, including community residents, benefit from this arrangement.”
Langs Farm’s community services, community health services, youth and adult programs give first priority to Cambridge residents living in the area bound by Industrial and Concession Roads and Bishop and Eagle Streets.
The volunteer placement component of Laurier’s Community Psychology program, which was the forerunner of today’s Community Service-Learning centre at Laurier, has linked many students with Langs Farm over the years. This tradition continues as a placement option through some of Laurier’s Community Service-Learning courses.
“The faculty of the Community Psychology program have been champions for Langs Farm in the academic community, bringing students annually for site visits and encouraging students to explore research opportunities with the organization,” says Bill Davidson, executive director of Langs Farm.
In addition to the student practica, thesis and comprehensive work of Laurier students at Langs Farm, Nelson and PhD candidate Rachel Fayter expanded the university’s relationship with the organization when they were hired to write a book on the history of the Langs Farm project. The book is scheduled for completion in 2009.
The Muriel Bechtel Award for Educational Partners was presented at the annual general meeting of the Langs Farm Village Association on June 20.
Laurier community psychology faculty in attendance included: Dr. Terry Mitchell, program coordinator; Dr. Mark Pancer, psychology chair; Dr. Ed Bennett, emeritus psychology professor and one of the Langs Farm founders; Dr. Geoff Nelson and Rachel Fayter, PhD candidate. Graduates of the community psychology master’s program, Christiane Sadeler, director of Waterloo Region Community Safety and Crime Prevention Council and Peggy Nickels, community services manager at Langs Farm also attended.
Lori Chalmers Morrison