Dr. Robin Klay of the Hope College economics faculty has been chosen to receive a Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award.
The award recognizes outstanding community service and service-learning by faculty and staff at the colleges and universities that are members of MCC. Recipients are honored for engaging or influencing students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction. Each of MCC's member institutions has the opportunity to nominate one recipient annually for the award, which is the highest that MCC bestows on faculty and staff in the state of Michigan.
Klay is a professor of economics at Hope, where she has taught since 1979. She was recognized for her role in establishing the college's "Hope Blooms" off-campus study program in Mexico, an internship-based experience that emphasizes service and cultural immersion and reflects her longstanding commitment to helping others.
Through "Hope Blooms," students spend eight weeks in Puerto Escondido on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. The students learn about the community's needs and how to help meet them by serving as interns in local civil and mission organizations, and learn more about Mexican life and culture by living with host families. Related components of the program include a preparatory course in which students enroll during the spring semester prior to participation and a seminar course during the off-campus experience itself.
The program will run for its third year this year. It grew out of a spring break service program connected with Habitat for Humanity that Klay had led in 2004 and 2005.
Klay's work in establishing and coordinating the "Hope Blooms" program reflects her ongoing emphasis on service. Among other activities, she helped start an "English as a Second Language" program at Fourth Reformed Church, working with Hope students and others. In 1991, she received the "Washington State Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service" for introducing and integrating an "Each Can Helps" donation program to help meet the needs of food banks in Yakima County, a response to a need that she observed while visiting her parents in the community. She also spent three years teaching and doing research in Cameroon.
Her primary research emphasis is on the connections between Christian faith and practice and economic theory and policy. Her publications include the books "Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices" (2007), which she co-authored with Hope colleague Dr. Victor Claar, and "Counting the Cost: The Economics of Christian Stewardship" (1986), as well as articles published in journals such as "The Christian Century," "Perspectives," "Faith and Economics," and "Markets and Morality." She is also interested in issues involving international trade and economic development.
Klay earned her bachelor's degree from Whitman College and her doctorate from Princeton University.
Michigan Campus Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. The compact promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. Some 41 Michigan colleges and universities are members of MCC.