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Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009

Lisa E. McGuire

Thomas Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Service Learning

Associate Professor of Social Work
School of Social Work
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Appointed to IU faculty, 2001
B.S., Butler University, 1977
M.S.W., Indiana University, 1980
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, 2000

During her first semester with the Indiana University School of Social Work, Lisa McGuire asked her senior-level student group at the Indianapolis public housing agency what social work roles they were utilizing in their practice.

"I was stunned by their blank faces, knowing that they were a bright, committed group who were actively involved with a variety of clients at the agency," McGuire said. "I have not forgotten this powerful lesson about the challenges that students face in connecting classroom theory to everyday realities of practice."

Lisa E. McGuire

Lisa E. McGuire

Print-Quality Photo

Since then, McGuire has proven her commitment to providing students with opportunities to integrate the knowledge they gain in the classroom into practice in the real world. She has implemented service-learning components for various courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels. As the lead faculty on these projects, she has formed partnerships with community agencies, and trained and empowered her colleagues. As a result of her efforts, local agencies have benefitted from thousands of hours of service provided by proactive students.

"One of Dr. McGuire's strengths is her ability to work collaboratively while providing leadership and vision," said Michael A. Patchner, dean and professor of the IU School of Social Work. "She has brought this skill to her work in building the partnership between the Indiana Department of Child Services and the IU School of Social Work. This partnership has grown into a multimillion dollar effort that benefits the public child welfare agency, the university, and the most vulnerable children and families in Indiana."

McGuire has been instrumental in developing and teaching the "Social Work Practice with Involuntary Clients" course at the master's level, in which each of her students visits the Indiana Women's Prison and conducts a service learning project with a specific prisoner.

"Because of this class where I've learned to think about deviance, reactance and self-preservation in a different way," said a student in the course, "my personal feelings towards prisoners has softened, and I actually find myself concerned about the constitutional rights of these women."

McGuire's involvement with service-learning and her desire for students to get the most out of their experiences have led to her research on the concept of reflection and its relationship to learning, particularly the benefits of assigning reflection papers. Her research was supported by her selection as a Boyer Scholar for the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning in 2005.

Along with other faculty members, she has been extremely involved with research on the DEAL model of critical reflection, which asks students to describe, examine and articulate their learning. Her findings have been presented at several conferences both nationally and internationally. She has developed scholarship around the application of the DEAL model and has presented the model at conferences around the country and in Germany and South Africa.

Over the course of her time at IU, McGuire has won the Distinguished Service Award, Woman of the Year Award, IU School of Social Work Teaching Excellence Award, and Outstanding Bachelor of Social Work Adjunct Instructor Award.

She is also highly valued at the agencies where she generously gives her time and talents. She has served on the board of directors and as president of Christamore House, where she won the Director's Award. She is also involved with Genessaret Free Clinics, where she has served as chair of their Art for Beds fundraiser and was named the Outstanding Volunteer in Fund-Raising.

"Working toward the idea of civic engagement has been a motivating experience, challenging me to continue and deepen my work," said McGuire. "I am committed to continuing to develop research to strengthen teaching for service-learning and other experiential learning as a major part of my academic tenure at IU."