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Dr. Michael Sharp honored with 2020 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence

UC ELCE service learning director recognized for civic development and education of students

Dr. Michael Sharp portrait

Ohio Campus Compact, a nonprofit membership organization of 40 Ohio colleges and universities, announced last week that Michael Sharp, PhD, 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 2020 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service. This award honors outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement by faculty and/or staff members at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution.

Sharp’s work has a lengthy, multifaceted history of engaging UC students in the local community. Utilizing the service learning methodology, he 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. 

Dr. Sharp seamlessly juggles teaching, research, service, and co-curricular activities. He is a creative and talented faculty member who is always willing to share his ideas and talents for the common good. It is easy to see that Dr. Sharp possesses a compelling mix of intelligence, humility, reliability and caring, which are all qualities of a leader and colleague.

Neville G. Pinto, Ph.D., President, University of Cincinnati

For eleven years, Sharp has been leading service learning at the University of Cincinnati, a program that connects stakeholders who support nearly 4,000 student registrations per year, representing every undergraduate college at UC. He teaches service learning classes in ELCE and in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and he shares his hands-on, teaching methodology with interdisciplinary faculty members through his leadership of the ELCE Service Learning Program.

"Dr. Sharp seamlessly juggles teaching, research, service, and co-curricular activities," said UC President Neville G. Pinto. "He is a creative and talented faculty member who is always willing to share his ideas and talents for the common good. It is easy to see that Dr. Sharp possesses a compelling mix of intelligence, humility, reliability and caring, which are all qualities of a leader and colleague."

Sharp's novel approach, which he calls the Service Learning Collaboratory, was recognized last year with the A&S Dean’s Award for Innovative Instruction.  

“Michael Sharp has taken service learning from the periphery of the university to a centrally supported program, one with many connections to many stakeholders, both on- and off-campus. Today, service learning is one of the largest experiential learning programs at UC, and it is well poised to continue to grow,” 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.”

Dr. Michael Sharp is the co-creator and co-host of the Tapioca Radio Show. He introduced the Jack Twyman Award for Service Learning to UC, and he is the senior editor of Experience Magazine: Practice and Theory. Sharp earned his doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership at the University of Cincinnati, and his dissertation, Critical Curriculum and Just Community: Making Sense of Service Learning in Cincinnati, was recognized as dissertation of the year by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). It focused on the importance of "critical pedagogy" created through campus-community partnerships. 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.

Learning by doing 

UC boasts one of the largest service learning programs in the world. Close to 4,000 students participated in 240 service learning courses last year. In deep partnership with UC’s Center for Community Engagement, Sharp and the service-learning faculty that he routinely engages with, have nurtured and grown a robust cohort of UC’s not-for-profit stakeholders of close to 500 partners. Learn more.