Community-Engaged Projects and Partners with Ohio State


Center for Urgan and Regional Analysis

The Center for Urban and Regional Analysis serves as a bridge across academia, industry, and the policy sector by providing spatial analysis of economic, social, environmental and health issues in urban and regional settings in Ohio and beyond. CURA is the hub for data-driven urban science on campus.

College of Education and Human Ecology

With its tripartite department structure of Educational Studies, Human Science, and Teaching and Learning, the College of Education and Human Ecology possesses a wealth of expertise in working with community partners. Some programs to explore further both for their infrastructure and for their approach are:

  • Columbus Area Writing Project (CAWP): CAWP is an affiliate of the National Writing Project, and it aims to improve the teaching of writing. It supports summer institutes for teachers and students.
  • First Education Experience Program: FEEP is a service-learning course that helps students “gain and apply academic knowledge through civic engagement with communities…. [It] is open for students who want to explore non-classroom education settings.”
  • Hilltonia Middle School Story Clubs: Patricia Enciso (Department of Teaching and Learning) has been facilitating story clubs, focused on helping immigrant and non-immigrant children in Hilltonia Middle School, learn about each others’ experience of the world since 2009.
  • Literacy Collaborative: LC is a comprehensive school reform project designed to improve the reading, writing and language skills of elementary- and middle-level children.
  • Martha L. King Center for Language and Literacies: The King Center provides a forum for dialogue across diverse communities about the study of language and literacies. They are particularly committed to disrupting simplistic understandings of literacies. They accept the notion that being literate means one reads and writes both the word and the world.

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Extension

The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Extension fulfills the land-grant mission of The Ohio State University by interpreting knowledge and research developed by extension and other faculty and staff at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Ohio State main campus and other land-grant universities — so Ohioans can use the scientifically-based information to better their lives, businesses and communities. 

John Glenn College of Public Affairs

The John Glenn College of Public Affairs maintains significant expertise, both in public policy and in public practice. Its page of faculty biographys is intuitively arranged making it easy to find faculty partners who specialize, for example, in civic engagement, advocacy, and volunteerism.”

College of Social Work

The College of Social Work sustains a robust and long-running field education program. In addition, through their continuing education program, they offer support and training in working with key communities (like veterans) that primary investigators may benefit from taking advantage of.  

Digital Storytelling Program

The Digital Storytelling Programwhich is a collaboration between the Office of Distance Education and eLearning’s Digital Union and University Libraries, articulates its mission as to help the academic community communicate passion for teaching, research and outreach through personal, engaging storytelling. A core focus of DSP is to train Ohio State stakeholders in both digital technologies and multimodal literacy concepts to preserve and provide free access…to digital stories created at Ohio State, and to act as a clearinghouse for information about digital storytelling at Ohio State.

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (Kathy Lechman, interim director) supports racially-equitable policy and capacity building through its Opportunity Communities Model. This research model brings an intersectional analysis to focus areas such as housing, education, jobs, transportation, health and criminal justice. They are particularly interested in how structural racialization and race in cognition create and sustain barriers to opportunity. Three key interest areas are: policy, law and civil rights research; opportunity mapping; and communications, field building and engagement.

Office of Academic Affairs: Connect and Collaborate Grant Program

Connect and Collaborate incentivizes Ohio State community teams to develop and grow meaningful partnerships that catalyze engaged teaching, research and service programs with measurable and sustainable benefits to the community while advancing the strategic and scholarly goals of the university. Among its other priorities, it features an “Humanities and the Arts” category. These grants are selected by a set of stewardship partners who constitute key players in community-engaged work in the Columbus area. These stewardship partners articulate funding and partnership priorities. Some of these stewardship partners are themselves Discovery Themes (for example: Chronic Brain Injury Discovery Theme and Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation Discovery Theme).

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports the recruitment, retention and success of students, faculty and staff who enhance the diversity of The Ohio State University. Its centers include:

  • Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male: The mission of the Bell Center is to to examine and address critical issues in society that impact the quality of life for African American males throughout the lifespan.
    • Middle School Mentoring with students at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys is a signature outreach program from the Bell Center.
  • Hale Black Cultural Center: The Hale Center develops and maintains supportive programs and activities for the development and advancement of all students and particularly African American students. Additionally, it serves as an instrument of orientation and instruction to the larger community on issues of race, politics, economics, community, art and culture. Further, the Center serves as an instrument to stimulate the documentation of the contribution of Blacks to the world of Arts, Letters and Science.
  • Latinx Space for Enrichment and Research: LASER seeks to prepare Latinx students for admission to Ohio State, to succeed while in college and to become professionals who will actively shape a better tomorrow for Latinx people everywhere.
  • Women’s Place articulates its mission as “Guided by our vision to be a 21st century leader in equity and advancement of all women in higher education, we work to catalyze change at Ohio State. We focus on the areas of policy, culture, leadership and reporting the status of women.”
    • Art of Hosting Difficult Conversations: Women’s Place advocates for and periodically offers training in facilitation and meaningful-meeting strategies.
    • Voices of Women: With University Archives, Women’s Place has taken oral histories with women who have worked to change the institutional systems.

Office of Engagement

Formerly known as the Office of Outreach and Engagement, the Office of Engagement is dedicated to integrating meaningful partnerships as a framework for engagement to foster a university-wide culture of collaboration and engaged scholarship; fostering a climate of trust, respect, transparency and inclusivity to deepen meaningful partnerships among the university and its communities; providing an environment that encourages students, faculty and staff to examine diverse issues with community partners; recognizing engaged scholarship in the promotion and tenure process, and in faculty and staff annual reviews, to enhance the institution’s academic excellence; providing students with community-engaged experiences to prepare them to be engaged citizens and leaders – both as students and as alumni. It offers:

  • Professional Development to support skill-building required for effective community engagement.
  • Funding support for faculty, staff, and students to attend workshops and conferences that build capacity for advancing the scholarship of engagement in teaching and research activities.
  • Recognition Awards for faculty, staff, students, and community partners for outstanding achievement in meaningful partnerships that produce engaged scholarship and community impact.
  • Connect and Collaborate Grants Program to incentivize faculty, staff, students and their respective public/private sector community partners to develop proposals with the potential to catalyze engaged, collaborative teaching, research, and service activities benefitting the community with impactful, sustainable programs while advancing the scholarly goals of the university.
  • Story Pipeline to disseminate stories about outstanding outreach and engagement work taking place at Ohio State.
  • Community Engagement Conference is construed as an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and community partners to interact with Ohio State’s outreach and engagement community, share your work and make connections with potential collaborators.
  • College Engagement Council works with the goal of fostering a university wide culture of engagement and collaboration. The CEC supports an Engagement Catalog Task Force that aims to catalog community-university engagement programs with an online, searchable tool. It also supports a Scorecard Task Force with the goal of discovering existing data that can be rolled up to a university-wide level as well as data needed but not currently collected. The ultimate goal is to create tools which would assist in engagement plan development and documenting impact.

Office of International Affairs

The Office of International Affairs is largely tasked with coordinating international study programs and supporting international students. However, it also coordinates several area studies centers that pertain to community-engaged creatively-informed collaborations:

  • Center for African Studies: CAS disseminates knowledge and promotes inquiry about Africa throughout the university, the city, the state and the nation. Staffed by Assistant Director Laura Joseph, CAS supports networks of faculty whose research addresses Africa, as well as students with affiliations to Africa, by birth and/or citizenship, and a series of student groups — like the Somali Student Association and the Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Organization — that are related to this.
  • Center for Latin American Studies: CLAS supports the teaching, research, and intellectual interests of Ohio State faculty and students in all matters dealing with Latin America. It also carries out meaningful outreach programs to enhance the public’s knowledge and understanding of the region’s politics, business, economics, culture, literature and arts. Staffed by Terrell Morgan (director of CLAS and faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese) and Megan Hasting (assistant director of CLAS), CLAS also supports an MA program in Latin American studies and an undergraduate minor program in Andean and Amazonian studies.
  • Center for Slavic and East European Studies: CSEES is jointly supported by OIA and ASC. Its mission is to promote the interdisciplinary study of the Baltics, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia. CSEES works with K-12 schools throughout Ohio to bring the cultures, histories and languages of Eastern Europe and Eurasia into the classroom to foster interest in world cultures in younger generations by offering lectures and also lending films, circulating “culture boxes” and providing other curricular materials. CSEES also supports an MA program in Slavic and East European studies as well as a GIS program in East European and Eurasian studies.
  • East Asian Studies Center: EASC possesses unique expertise and domestic and international partnerships and continually challenges paradigms to further knowledge, increase understanding and inspire life-long learning of East Asia and its impact on the world. Led by Director Etsuyo Yuasa (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures), EASC supports an interdisciplinary MA program, a joint BA/MA program in East Asian Studies and a GIS program in Chinese Cultural studies. EASC provides instructional materials, as well as K-12 support through lesson plans, “culture boxes” and teacher-training seminars. It regularly works with a series of community partners, including the Columbus Council on World Affairs, the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio and the Organization of Chinese Americans, Columbus Chapter.
    • Institute for Chinese Studies: Directed by Patricia Sieber (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures), ICS conducts its own outreach to community partners and to educational institutions.
    • Institute for Japanese Studies: Directed by Hajime Miyazaki (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures), IJS conducts its own outreach to educational institutions.
    • Institute for Korean Studies: Directed by Mitchell Learner (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures), IKS conducts its own outreach to community partners and educational institutions.
  • Middle East Studies Center: MESC supports online and in-person delivery of content to teachers, schools and community venues as well as for the military and media. Directed by Alam Payind (staff, lecturer) and assistant directed by Professor Melinda McClimans, MESC offers curricular materials for educators and military officer cultural training.

Office of Service Learning

The Office of Service Learning supports development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable service-learning courses and encourages community-based scholarship across the curricula of The Ohio State University to enhance student learning, develop student civic engagement and foster ongoing collaboration with local and global communities. OSL provides access to best practices in working with community partners and possesses deep institutional knowledge on how to do this work well.

Office of Student Life, Multicultural Center

The Multicultural Center offers several hundred programs a year — cultural and intercultural celebrations, heritage and awareness events, dialogues, workshops, student leadership and cohort meetings, prejudice-reduction trainings, wellness initiatives and social justice engagement courses — all focused on teaching students personal and interpersonal skills necessary to be most effective in a diverse world. Events and trainings are open to all Ohio State faculty, staff, students and community members.

STEAM Factory

The STEAM Factory is a diverse and inclusive grass-roots network in the Ohio State community that facilitates creative and interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and dissemination. It maintains a collaboration space at 400 W Rich in Franklinton. Led by Project Coordinator Charlene Brenner and Director Sathya Gopalakrishnan (College of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics), STEAM supports a series of key programs, which include:

  • STEAM Exchanges are monthly themed interdisciplinary seminars that provide multiple faculty perspectives to foster opportunities for cross-collaboration between members.
  • STEAM-Powered Projects is a streamlined seed-funding program for collaborations that further the STEAM Factory mission and benefit the STEAM Factory membership as a whole but may not be easily fundable through traditional funding sources.
  • Franklinton Fridays are neighborhood-wide art, music, food and gallery hops that occur the second Friday of every month. STEAM participates by hosting faculty and post-doc presenters over a variety of topics.
  • STEAM Factory Podcast: Life, the Universe and Everything, links with faculty work at the STEAM Factory as well as storytelling events with Columbus Speakeasy.
  • Saturday with a Scholar is a monthly Saturday-morning program that features hands on activities, demos, crafts and lectures that will stimulate the mind and spark creativity.

Wexner Center for the Arts: PAGES Program

PAGES is a free program led by Dionne Custer Edwards (staff, Wexner Center for the Arts) that supports literacy and writing skills through the exploration of contemporary art, film and performing arts. In the program, educators and artists from the Wexner Center with high school teachers from across central Ohio in the planning of writing-based experiential learning opportunities for students.