2022 Recipient

Stephen L. Esquith, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities

For more than 30 years, Stephen Esquith has dedicated his career to collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations, both locally and globally. With a commitment to community engagement, he
led University efforts to create - and served as the founding dean of - the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH), which opened in 2007 with the notion of students “living their learning” through communityengaged work at the forefront of its curriculum.
Today the College advances its work in community engagement around the values of sustained partnerships, radical reciprocity, and co-generated knowledge. Through Esquith’s leadership and encouragement, the RCAH’s community-engaged course requirements have evolved, as has the diversity of its partnerships. Students engage with community partners in a variety of creative activities, including poetry in prison and ethnography using photography, music, and theater, to name just a few.
As the college grew, Esquith supported the development of the Network for Global Civic Engagement to promote undergraduate research and teaching and learning in Michigan, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Puerto Rico, Mali,
and elsewhere. The Network also connects RCAH students and faculty with other MSU colleges and departments and brings global partners to campus as visiting scholars and teachers.
Esquith has also taken his own community-engaged scholarship to Mali, Africa, teaching seminars on ethics and development at the University of Bamako. He is currently working on peace-building and education projects
for children in Mali and Michigan, which builds on his 15 years of teaching philosophy to middle school children in both countries.
Dr. Esquith has recently returned to the faculty where he plans to continue preparing students for rich lives of purpose and contribution by teaching RCAH courses on civic engagement and political theory.