Belmont University Professor of English Dr. Amy Hodges Hamilton was recently named a recipient of the 2023 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award, a yearly recognition presented by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission acknowledging individuals in higher education who provide exceptional public service to their communities.
“Receiving this award is one of the greatest honors of my life,” Hodges Hamilton said. “I completely believe in the power of this work and for it to be recognized on a state-wide level is both humbling and affirming. I am grateful for the opportunity to engage in the community and honor these stories, these reminders to pay attention, to reach out, and to listen.”
Hodges Hamilton’s passionate commitment to service and advocacy permeates her work as a teacher and scholar, beautifully exemplifying Belmont’s service-oriented values. She serves as Belmont’s Title IX Faculty Liaison and Victim’s Advocate and coordinates the annual Women’s History Month celebration on campus. She focuses on using writing as a tool for healing trauma in courses like Writing in the Community and Reading & Writing Social Justice.
Rarely keeping her expertise within the walls of the classroom alone, the mother of a cancer survivor pushes herself and her students to transcend academic boundaries and collaborate with community members as they move theory into practice. One such collaboration led Hodges Hamilton to facilitate a Healing Trauma through Writing workshop at Healing House, a Nashville nonprofit residential recovery community. In her workshop, residents coming out of addiction and complex trauma are invited on a healing journey through writing prompts that evoke introspection.
“The gifts of the Healing Trauma through Writing program continue to emerge,” Healing Housing Executive Director Tracey Levine said. “In recovery, we say that ‘our secrets make us sick.’ Amy’s workshop has provided the evidence that our residents have long needed regarding the freedom of releasing the weight of their secrets.”
Hodges Hamilton’s service also includes her work as a Board Member at New Hope Girls and MERCY Workshop in the Dominican Republic, coordinating students from her classes with volunteer organizations including Healing Housing and a range of volunteer work with a long list of organizations including The Branch, Morningside at Belmont, Rest Stop Ministries, Thistle Farms and Tennessee Women’s Prison.
Five students and five faculty/staff recipients are selected each year for the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Awards and receive a $1000 honorarium for continued dedication to outstanding community service.