More than 30 Years of Engagement for Ohio's Public Good

2023 Hoch Award for Excellence Recipient Sally Leber

Sally Leber
Director of Service Learning
Ohio Wesleyan University

In her nomination, Dwayne Todd, Ohio Wesleyan’s Vice President for Student Engagement and Success and Dean of Students writes that “Sally Leber’s work in leading community service and civic engagement initiatives with college students is renowned not only in the state of Ohio, but well beyond as well. It is impossible to effectively quantify the number of individuals who have personally benefited from Sally’s tireless and passionate efforts over a 18- year span at Ohio Wesleyan University to improve the wellbeing of communities while also teaching students how to serve others in ethical, values-based, and sustained ways. Because of her grounding in service work and her incredible ways of building strong and respectful interpersonal relationships, Sally is a beloved fixture among our students, faculty, staff, and greater central Ohio community.

I have had the pleasure to supervise Sally in her work for over six years, and I can say without hesitation that in my 29 year career, I have never seen a more effective and impactful campus professional doing this work anywhere else. She ensures that service initiatives she helps coordinate are conducted in ways that respect the experiences and culture of those who are being served, that students approach all service experiences with proper preparation and an appropriate mindset, and that students have effective ways of processing their experiences and learning afterward.

Additionally, I simply cannot believe the immense productivity that comes from Sally’s office on an annual basis. For much of my time with her at Ohio Wesleyan, she has been a one-person office, and yet I argue that the volume of service experiences she facilitates would rival any office with 3 or more full time staff members. Sally is one of those resourceful individuals who simply “finds a way” when she sees a need that should be addressed.

Sally’s work in civic engagement has also been immense. She is very active in advising and teaching in our social justice academic program, leading voter engagement drives, and educating students on how to effect change in civic systems. She successfully weaves service and action together in ways that help students see paths forward to participate in societal change efforts.

Because Sally has been instrumental in demonstrating what excellence in service looks like to our campus community, and the immense learning that comes from it, community service was added by our faculty as a fourth component of our signature university program, The OWU Connection. Starting next fall, all students will be required to complete an OWU Connection experience as a part of their degree completion requirements, which can be done through completing an internship/apprenticeship, independent research project, a study-away experience, or an immersive and extended community service experience. This incorporation of service in the OWU Connection program will continue to elevate the value of service throughout our campus and thousands more students and community members will benefit from the even greater levels of service that will result. Sally is at the helm of this effort to expand service offerings through the OWU Connection and is doing so in a masterful way.”

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.