2020 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service
Ohio Campus Compact is pleased to announce the two David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service Recipients for 2020!
The David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service is designed to recognize and honor the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement performed by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution. This award is named for the late David Hoch, the Dean of Honors at The University of Toledo, who served as the Director of Service Learning from 1999 – 2005. Hoch was instrumental in initiating and nurturing the role of civic engagement at The University of Toledo, not only in the Honors Program, but in residence life and other departments as well. His guidance helped grow academic service-learning, student-led community service, and the presidential emphasis on broader civic engagement.
This award is given annually to up to two faculty or staff members from an Ohio Campus Compact member institution(s). To be considered, the nominee must demonstrate outstanding leadership in furthering the civic mission of the institution. The president of the college or university must nominate each candidate.
“Ohio Campus Compact is pleased to recognize two Ohio faculty members with the 2020 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service- Dr. Michael Sharp, Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education, Director of Service-Learning and Associate Professor at University of Cincinnati and Dr. Lori Kumler, Associate Professor of Political Science & International Studies at University of Mount Union. Their tireless dedication and contributions to teaching, leadership and support for the civic development and education of college students deserves to be celebrated.” ~Richard Kinsley, Executive Director, Ohio Campus Compact
OCC would like to recognize the following faculty as 2020 finalists:
2020 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service Recipients
Dr. Michael Sharp, University of Cincinnati
Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education, Director of Service-Learning and Associate Professor
Dr. Sharp was hired as the Associate Director of Academic-Community Partnerships, a grant-funded position supported by the Mayerson Foundation, in 2008. Since that time, Dr. Sharp has been instrumental in leading a tremendous growth in Service-Learning at UC, including a university-wide and full-throated embrace of the vision and mission of his office. The short narrative below will highlight his work with Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at the University of Cincinnati, including how this work has impacted Dr. Sharp and others. For eleven years, Dr. Sharp has been leading the Service Learning at the University of Cincinnati, a program that connects stakeholder who support over 4000 student registrations per year, representing every undergraduate college at UC. He is an associate professor of Experiential Learning, teaching classes in the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Communication Department. Sharp created and is leading a novel approach to service-learning called the Service Learning Collaboratory, a class that was recognized via the Dean’s Award for Innovative Instruction. He is the co-creator and co-host of the Tapioca Radio Show, and has introduced to the university the Jack Twyman Award for Service Learning. Sharp is the senior editor of Experience Magazine: Practice and Theory and has earned a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership at the University of Cincinnati. His dissertation, Critical Curriculum and Just Community: Making sense of Service Learning in Cincinnati, focused on the importance of “critical pedagogy” created through campus-community partnerships, was awarded dissertation of the year by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). This award-winning work has been contracted for publication by UC Press. Some of Sharp’s service to his community includes coaching youth baseball (Cincinnati Freedom) and volunteering. He also co-chairs the Greater Cincinnati Service Learning Network’s higher education committee. Toward completing a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership (2018), Dr. Sharp wrote many pages detailing the criticality of service-learning curriculum, particularly regarding how service-learning impacts students, faculty, institutions, and communities. This was the topic of his dissertation study. More pages were committed to explaining the frameworks that undergirds his praxis and pedagogy—structuration theory and collective impact—which were followed by more pages describing the inquiry into the SL@UC’s program evolution. All of this dissertating, however, was done to improve SL@UC and to positively impact his community, the campus, and the field of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. Through Dr. Sharp’s career, contributions to Service-Learning and Civic Engagement theory and practice are quite evident. Specifically, Dr. Sharp’s work contributes meaningfully to the understanding of how teaching, service, and scholarship are integral to the theoretical underpinnings of campus-community engagement, as these two spheres are often seen as separate, disjointed, and dualistic, particularly by those with institutional power. With the emphasis on the duality of agency within institutional structure (“what can we do with what we have?”), however, Dr. Sharp has been able to move from merely describing programmatic evolutions to prescribing different courses of action relative to them. What he found is applicable to other stakeholders and programs. That is, change can be accomplished through collectively living and collectively telling that story. The key seems to be found in collaboratively making sense of and re-structuring an institutional reality that benefits many types of stakeholders, a perspective that can be understood by drawing from Giddens’s (1984; 1990) structurational perspective, Putnam and Stohl’s (1990; 1996) treatment of the bona fide group perspective, Bormann’s (1985) theory of rhetorical vision, and McPhee’s (1985) work focusing on structure and decision-making. Throughout the last decade, one pressing question that continues to go unanswered for Dr. Sharp is whether higher education is a means to prepare students for the marketplace or geared toward making the world a better place. One pathway “leans” toward the capitalistic culture of the west and the other toward social justice, perhaps another duality. Dr. Sharp’s fear is that most of higher education is focused on the former, geared toward creating cogs for the capitalistic machinery of the consumption culture, but we—higher education—can do better, and perhaps we can do so by understanding the ongoing structuration of higher education, including how its stakeholders (from the campus and the community) are or are not empowered as agents within it. Our day-to-day responsibilities often constrain work that would better the communities that host our universities, but we can do better. This means that our students can do better, which subsequently means that are communities will be better. Dr. Sharp has worked diligently to build into the campus-community (understood here as both/and) over the tenure of his leadership (2008-present). He understands that critical relationships are the key to social change. He has taught thousands of students about this concept, engaged hundreds of faculty and staff, and has helped to connect an ever-increasing amount of community organizations to the resources of the campus. Today, UC is proud to boast one of the largest Service-Learning programs in the world. For example, close to 4,000 students participated in over 240 S-L courses in the past year. Coincidentally, and in deep partnership with UC’s Center for Community Engagement, Dr. Sharp and the S-L faculty that he routinely engages with have nurtured and grown a very robust cohort of UC’s not-for-profit stakeholders (close to 500 partners). In summary, Dr. Sharp has taken Service-Learning from the periphery of the University of Cincinnati to a centrally supported program, one with many connections to many stakeholders, both on- and off-campus. Today, in fact, Service-Learning is one of the largest Experiential Learning programs at UC, and it is well poised to continue to grow. But this work, by design, does not happen in isolation. As he has been changed by serving others, an ancient lesson that is often forgotten in today’s world, Dr. Sharp has learned to teach those lessons to others – and learn those lessons from others – in creative ways. There is still much work to do, and he hopes that by exemplifying the life and legacy of Dean David Hoch, he and others can strive collectively forward.
Dr. Lori Kumler, University of Mount Union
Associate Professor of Political Science & International Studies
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