ELCE director awarded A&S Dean’s Award for Innovative Instruction

Service-learning methodology recognized for advancing classroom theory to real-world experience

By Emily Sullivan

Michael Sharp, associate professor and service learning director with the University of Cincinnati Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education (ELCE), has been named the recipient of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Innovative Instruction. The award recognizes leaders in research-based, active learning methods that are student-centered, intellectually rigorous, creative and engaging.

Utilizing the service learning methodology, Michael teaches a theory in class, and then puts it to work in a community setting so that all persons involved in the learning experience (students, community members, and faculty) benefit. 

“Service Learning gives students the opportunity to create actual solutions to meaningful issues,” said Michael. “Together with UC Forward (another ELCE classroom program), we are dynamically impacting our urban community across multiple disciplines, including healthcare and education.”

Michael shares this hands-on, teaching methodology with interdisciplinary faculty members through his leadership of the ELCE Service Learning Program, creating a ripple effect across many colleges and fields of study. Faculty members build service learning components into courses, and students work with local businesses or non-profits to produce valuable contributions while building the skills needed to be successful in their future careers.

“Experience-based learning programs are incredibly important because they support our Bearcat Promise, that every student is career ready when they graduate,” said Helen Chen, associate provost and ELCE unit head. “Michael leads an innovative and transdisciplinary approach to service learning. His course is geared toward using collective impact and constructivist teaching methods to empower students, interdisciplinary faculty and communities to collaboratively search for shared solutions that benefit both the campus and the community. The results have been nothing short of impressive."

Featured image: Michael Sharp with his Service Learning Collaboratory class which partnered with FC Cincinnati. Photo/provided

Learn by doing

UC’s Service Learning program connects faculty and community partner stakeholders who support over 6,000 registered students per year, representing every undergraduate college at UC. Learn more. 

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