facebook twitter flickr you tube pinterest

Community Engagement

Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification

Otterbein University Selected by Carnegie for 2015 Community Engagement Classification

Otterbein is the only central Ohio school with the Carnegie Classification of Master's Universities to earn Community Engagement classification.
/ learn more

Otterbein students are engaged in the community through service-learning courses, community-based research, and direct volunteerism at local and global schools, non-profits and government agencies. Community engagement provides intentional hands-on opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills to real world issues while reflecting on their identity, self-efficacy, citizenship, social responsibility, and knowledge of the field. Students explore theoretical models and methodologies from the disciplines while participating in community service opportunities. Otterbein supports over 20 student-led service organizations and 60 service-learning courses where students can make a difference in the community.

0:00 / 0:00

Opportunities to Earn this Card

Click here to see the opportunities.

Will My Experience Count as a Card?

To count as a Card, the experience must meet these essential components. 

Card Characteristics 


  • Project-Oriented:The student’s experience was project-oriented and included intentional real-world activities in a community setting.
  • Time Commitment: The student’s experience lasted over a significant duration of time.  Relative duration and time commitment were discussed with mentor(s) at the beginning of the experience.  At least 15 or more service hours per semester (includes preparation, planning, training AND action project).
  • Concrete Outcome: Student created a concrete outcome. Outcomes might include an e-portfolio, presentation, report, publication, website, video, digital essay, etc.
  • Authentic Experience: The level of scholarship and engagement was appropriate to a field(s) of study. Student service met a community-identified need.


  • Hands-on: The student’s experience included a hands-on application of knowledge and skill.
  • Student Ownership: The student’s ideas were original and the student took at least partial responsibility for the scope and direction of the project.


  • Student Reflection: The student showed evidence of reflective thinking about the experience. Examples of reflection include: e-portfolio, journals, in class reflection etc
  • Mentorship: The student worked with one or more faculty, staff, or peer who served as a guide or mentor.


  • Evidence of Change: Engagementpromoted change in the community and/or scholarship.
  • Personal Transformation: Student had opportunities to reshape their personal and academic lenses.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will explain causes and complexities of social problems and systematic oppression.
  • Students will examine communities from multiple perspectives [course may not be interdisciplinary; single student may have multiple perspectives].
  • Students will act on community-identified needs/problems/issues.
  • Students will practice civic and social responsibility (e.g., organize a food drive, commit to two hours of volunteer work each week) to achieve self-efficacy.
  • Students will demonstrate resourcefulness in community settings (e.g., meet with community stakeholders to address an issue or need, seek information from literature about the identified issue or need).

Personalized Cardinal Experience 

Many courses, co-curricular activities, research opportunities, non-credit bearing work, and off-campus experiences can serve as a Personalized Cardinal Experience (PCE). Review the application for the Community Engagement Card to determine if an experience may qualify. Each Personalized Cardinal Experience needs to be sponsored by a faculty or staff member who will help you identify how the experience will meet the criteria for earning a Card. A PCE Checklist should be completed with your sponsor prior to participation. 

To start your Personalized Cardinal Experience journey complete the form below with your Card sponsor. 

More Information 


Kathryn Plank
Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of University Programs

Tabatha Piper
Five Cards Graduate Assistant

Patricia Wilson
Five Cards Faculty Liaison

p/ 614.823.1501
e/ 5cards@otterbein.edu

Leadership and Citizenship