Cuddeback Named 2009 Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty

Marsha R. Cuddeback of the School of Architecture is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty Award for her exceptional and longstanding commitment to integrating quality service-learning activities into her architecture classes and for dissemination of related scholarship through extensive presentations and publications.

The Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Council presents the $1,000 award annually in recognition of an LSU faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to integrating quality service-learning activities in the classroom and/or throughout the LSU campus and/or extended community.

Since 2000, Cuddeback’s architecture and urban design classes have partnered with under-resourced individuals and community organizations through rebuilding efforts, architectural design, and applied research. Her students’ service-learning activities and initiatives have received local, regional, and national recognition.

Students in Cuddeback’s architectural design studio sequence worked with the Department of Social Services to complete a comprehensive analysis of the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the availability of child care facilities in greater New Orleans. Students then partnered with five child care providers in the area to develop new design ideas for facilities that would respond to Louisiana’s climate.

Cuddeback’s design studio class continued their community engagement efforts while partnering with local citizens to construct the first two new houses in the Lower Nine neighborhood of the New Orleans Ninth Ward, after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Currently, Cuddeback’s fourth-year architecture students are collaborating with recovering substance abuse addicts from Bethel Colony South, a rehab treatment facility in New Orleans, to create digital stories of their journey to recovery, which will be compiled and published on the Bethel Colony South website. Bethel Colony South is a long-standing community partner of the Office of Community Design and Development. Architecture students have partnered with the organization previously to design an addition to a Bethel Colony South facility and to assist in the development of a small business that trains women to do home repairs.

Cuddeback has been instrumental in integrating community engagement into the School of Architecture, including co-founding the Office of Community Design and Development, an interdisciplinary community outreach center connecting students with Louisiana’s communities to help improve the quality of our built environment, and assisting in the development of the Community Design Minor for students in the College of Art and Design. She has broadly disseminated her service-learning approach through papers, publications, and more than twenty-five public presentations of her work.