College Professor Selected into Faculty Fellows Program
Campus News

Dr. Susan CrisifulliFranklin College Professor of English Susan Crisafulli, Ph.D., has been selected a member of the Indiana Campus Compact (ICC) 25th Class of Faculty Fellows.

The Faculty Fellows program supports professional development by bringing together representatives from ICC partner campuses for social and intellectual collaboration, and providing grants to help support high-impact teaching and engagement practices. Faculty Fellows must commit to addressing a significant social, economic or environmental issue and collaborating on solutions with a community organization. Each Fellow’s employer also must provide some funding in support of the work.

Crisafulli was selected for the Faculty Fellows program and a $3,800 grant based on her proposal, “Communications Consulting Project: A Partnership between Poverty-Focused Nonprofits and Franklin College.” She is set to integrate her Fellowship experience with a course that engages senior English and creative writing majors in nonprofit-consulting work. The students will learn about two local nonprofit organizations’ needs and, with guidance, create high-quality professional communications materials to help further their missions. Concurrently, the students will grow in their understanding of nonprofit management, and build upon their professional development skills.

“Franklin College is incredibly proud of Dr. Crisafulli’s selection to the ICC 25th Class of Faculty Fellows,” said Kristin Flora, Ph.D., acting vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. “A hallmark of our curriculum is its focus on engaged learning experiences for our students. This coupled with Dr. Crisafulli’s passion for and expertise in assisting non-profit partners in our community is truly a win-win for Franklin College students and the broader community.”

“We are excited to have Dr. Crisafulli join the Indiana Campus Compact family of Faculty Fellows,” said Laura Weaver, director of professional development and engaged learning. “I look forward to working collaboratively with her and the other Fellows throughout the year, as we collectively examine our own scholarship around critical service learning, and how faculty can further operationalize their efforts. Dr. Crisafulli has much to add to this important conversation within our field.”

Since ICC guidelines indicate the project must address a community issue, Crisafulli has reached out to two personal contacts with whom she has previous experience, Michelle’s Little Free Pantry and Bridges Alliance of Johnson County. Both are working to address poverty issues. Crisafulli’s students will work in teams to assist the organizations with writing projects that may include content for their websites, social media accounts, brochures or grant proposals.

“The idea for this Franklin College course came from conversations with directors of local nonprofits,” said Crisafulli. “Many of these organizations operate with only a handful of full-time staff members, and even if those members have training and experience with professional writing, they do not necessarily have the time and energy to pursue all the strategic projects that could help further their operations and mission.”

Crisafulli added that she became acquainted with Michelle’s Little Free Pantry about a year ago, and engaged the Girl Scout troop she leads in designing and building a community garden to help support the pantry. The troop started seedlings for the garden this spring. Crisafulli became acquainted with Bridges Alliance of Johnson County through their sister organization, Circles Indy, when they co-sponsored two poverty-simulation experiences on the Franklin College campus.

Crisafulli, a full-time Franklin College professor, has extensive volunteer and nonprofit experience. She is founder and director of the Imagination Library of Johnson County, an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The organization sends a free book each month to children from the time they are born until they turn 5. More than 20 years of research have shown the literacy program helps children be better prepared for kindergarten and perform better academically than their peers who were not enrolled in the program. Crisafulli is currently tracking the effectiveness of the Johnson County program through a similar study.

Crisafulli also has addressed the importance of literacy through an Immersive Term course she developed at Franklin College in 2015. The course engages students in discussing and researching literacy issues at the national level, and volunteering at local elementary schools to help children struggling with reading. The college continues to offer the course annually, with instruction rotating among the faculty; Crisafulli teaches it every three years.

Beyond the student engagement component of her Fellowship, Crisafulli will pursue ways to make the experience relevant to her faculty colleagues on and off campus, as well as to partners in the community. She intends to lead grant-writing workshops in the spring of 2021 and wants to facilitate customized training for faculty seeking inspiration and guidance on creating their own community-engagement courses.

Crisafulli began teaching at Franklin College in 2008. Her scholarly expertise is in British and French medieval literature, Shakespeare, advanced grammar, and composition pedagogy.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

ICC is a nonprofit partnership of Indiana’s public, private and community college higher-education institutions focused on advocating, implementing, and improving community engagement efforts so that students graduate as well-informed, engaged and productive members of society, and are fully enabled to provide leadership and service that advances the public good in their communities.

POSTED Sep 14, 2020