OCC Announces David Hoch Memorial Award Winner

Dr. Michael (MJ) Woeste of University of Cincinnati wins 2013 Excellence in Service Award

For Immediate Release:  April 1, 2013

Contact:  Richard Kinsley, Ohio Campus Compact:  740-587-8570

GRANVILLE, OH—- Ohio Campus Compact, a non-profit membership organization of 47 Ohio colleges and universities today announced University of Cincinnati professor Dr. Michael (MJ) Woeste has been awarded the 2013 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service.  The Award honors the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution.

The 2013 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service winner: Dr. Michael (MJ) Woeste, University of Cincinnati

A member of the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Woeste has integrated service-learning into several courses he has taught.  Most notable of these is his Intercultural Communications course which includes a 36-hour immersion into homelessness conducted over a weekend. Since 2003, 575 students have experienced the homeless immersion and walked away transformed.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Woeste has connected his classes with many community organizations including Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous, Having the Courage to Change, and The Outlet recreation program.  He is currently teaching a capstone course in which students participate in training to become dialogue leaders for community sessions with various community partners through the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.

Among the many accolades of his work and leadership include:

“Dr. Woeste…has helped to transform hundreds of students who have enrolled in his service-learning classes. In addition to his teaching and service to the community, Professor Woeste actively supports other university stakeholders in a mentoring and peer-to-peer advising role…”  –UC President Santa J. Ono

“Not only does MJ have a commitment to service-learning in his coursework, but he strives to engage other faculty in this pedagogy.  At a national and regional level, MJ has and continues to work with colleagues by training communication scholars about experiential learning and service-learning methodologies… We have worked together with others to create a Service-Learning Certificate at the University of Cincinnati which crosses disciplines and recognizes the deeper understanding acquired through application of theory in the community.  I am truly grateful to MJ for having introduced me to service and experiential learning and for being a champion of this form of teaching in my Department, at my University, and within my discipline of Communication…  He is a leader, a pioneer, and a mentor, and very deserving of this award.”   — Nancy Jennings, Associate Professor

“MJ Woeste’s Intercultural Communication class takes learning beyond the books and puts theories into action.  MJ engages his students in a learning experience that forces them to think differently.”  — Tia Garcia, UC student

” [Dr. Woeste]  sought to have his classes connect with citizens who have largely been disenfranchised from society…By the time [the students] arrived at City Gospel Mission, Michael had them primed for an experience that many would proclaim was ‘life changing.’    He has surveyed his students after graduation in their new careers in communities across the country, inquiring on the practical benefits of the service-learning project.  Many have become involved in social service organizations in their communities and almost all have said their thinking has changed about being pro-actively involved and engaged.”  – Sherman B. Bradley, former Vice President of the City Gospel Mission homeless shelter; Founder & CEO of Consider The Poor.

The Excellence in Service Award is named in memory of the late David Hoch, the Dean of Honors at the University of Toledo and strong supporter of service-learning.

The 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.

“David Hoch Memorial Award winners demonstrate in their teaching the practice of educating the whole person,”  stated Richard Kinsley, Executive Director of Ohio Campus Compact.  “Dr. Woeste exemplifies this ethic.  He clearly has gone above and beyond to prepare his students not only for success in academics and the world of work, but also to serve as actively engaged, socially responsible citizens of this nation.  It was a crowded field of extremely qualified finalists competing for this prestigious award this year.  We believe Dr. Woeste  clearly demonstrates outstanding leadership in furthering the civic mission of the institution, particularly given UC’s focus on transforming lives through facilitating deep and meaningful student engagement in curriculum. We applaud his excellence and leadership in this area.”  

2013 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service Finalists included:

  • Michelle Byrne, University of Akron
  • Susan Carty, Heidelberg University
  • Krista Kiessling, Owens Community College
  • Mark McConnell, University of Mt. Union
  • Lyn Robertson, Denison University
  • Candace Tavormina, Mercy College of Ohio
  • Paul Valdez, Bowling Green State University


Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide non-profit network of 47 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education.  Hosted by Denison University in Granville, Ohio Campus Compact provides statewide leadership in mobilizing resources, services, and partnerships that strengthen Ohio colleges and universities’ capacity to educate students for civic and social responsibility and to improve community life.


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.