Service Learning and Civic Engagement

Students doing Service Learning in Guatemala

Students Serving in Guatemala

Service Learning is an emerging concept within the Communication program, and at the University of Cincinnati. Many faculty work individually, or with the Center for Community Engagement, to create a civic engagement component for their courses.

Service Learning is a learning methodology that takes the theory learned in the classroom and puts it to work in the community setting so that it benefits all persons involved in the learning experience (students, community members, and faculty). It creates an experiential learning for the student.

Communication is a civically engaged discipline. At the national level, communication scholars are recognized as true innovators and pioneers in service-learning methodologies. Courses offered that have service-learning components will be identified by the letter "S" in the course listings in the near future. Ask peers for their recommendations on course offerings.

Some of the courses offered with civically engaged components include certain sections of Effective Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Business Communication, Advanced Interpersonal Communication, Public Relations Campaigns, Rhetorical Theory, Communication Theory, Health Communication, Environmental Communication, Intercultural Communication, Advanced Intercultural Communication and Seminar in Integrated Intercultural Communication.

Communication faculty offering civically engaged courses include Teresa Sabourin, Maribeth Metzler, Nancy Jennings, Stephen Haas, Steve Depoe, Molly Mayer, Steve Fuller, Heather Zoller, MJ Woeste, and Amber Erickson.

Students can ask peers for their recommendations on course offerings, contact the above professors directly, or contact the Director of Service Learning for the Department, Prof. MJ Woeste (

Applied Communication and Civic Engagement (COMM3093)

Annually, hundreds of University of Cincinnati students in various Colleges and majors participate in short-term community service activities such as Alternative Spring Breaks or Winter Break Service Trips, through University clubs and organizations.  Hundreds more participate in semester-long sustained service projects. These students provide dedicated and valuable services to marginalized populations locally, regionally and internationally, but have limited avenues for receiving academic credit for their civic engagement, and are ineligible for University funding associated with service or travel abroad without course credit. 

As a leader in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Communication program is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of students enrolled in multiple majors. Applied Communication and Civic Engagement (3093) is designed for students participating in a service project that also desire a deeper understanding and application of current communication theory. Equally important, students enrolling in the course are eligible to apply for funding to help offset costs associated with study abroad travel or international service-learning (where applicable).   

The course is available across disciplines and available to all officially enrolled University of Cincinnati students possessing a minimum of a 2.0 GPA.  There are no curricular pre-requisites. Students can register for 0 or 1 hour of credit depending on their curricular needs.

I. Pre-Service requirements:

Students are eligible to register for 0 or 1 hour of credit for the course prior to the fulfillment of their scheduled project/service trip, and must provide the detailed information on the Applied Communication and Civic Engagement Project Proposal Form prior to the service project.

University Honors Program students: If you want to count your SBC trip as an honors experience, you must complete the UHP self-designed honors proposal form in lieu of the Applied Communication and Civic Engagement Project Proposal Form prior to your project’s start date. E-mail the completed form to MJ Woeste ( Do not upload your proposal to the UHP database.

II. Post Service requirements:

Student must provide a written summation of the project explaining the learning outcomes of the service work, following the guidelines of the Applied Communication and Civic Engagement Project Report.

Note: You are NOT eligible for 3093 credit if you are already receiving course credit for the service experience as a requirement for that course, such as a service-learning or S designate course.

If you are planning a self-designed travel experience, you must include a detailed itinerary. You are required to attend a pre-departure orientation session with UC International Programs if your experiential learning project involves international travel. It is your responsibility to schedule a session with UC International. At minimum, your time abroad should be at least 1 week. Proposals for experiences with less than 1 week of travel will not be approved.

Additionally, the Student Travel Policy restricts UC sponsored- travel to countries under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning. Those who wish to visit a country with a travel warning may download and complete a Travel Exemption Form. Students traveling without a faculty or staff leader must individually request an exemption. * The Communication program will not give 3093 credit for travel to a country with a US Department of State Travel Warning unless the travel exemption is granted by the International Travel Overview Committee (proof must be provided). 

University Honors Program students: Complete the Applied Communication and Civic Engagement Project Report and e-mail it to MJ Woeste. Do not upload the project report to the UHP database. You are also responsible for documenting this experience in your learning portfolio within one month of completing the experience. 

Questions regarding this academic offering can be directed to Dr. MJ Woeste ( prior to registration.  The necessary forms can be downloaded from the Communication website.