Student digging up weeds near a sidewalk


EMPOWER is a nine-week program intended for Miami University students who are interested in expanding their understanding of social issues and their impact on communities. EMPOWER is a rewarding and intensive program that combines service, education, and critical personal investigation to foster social awareness, build community, and create a deeper understanding of diversity. Students in the Urban Teaching Cohort and Social Justice Studies Program will specifically explore the connection between economic and educational injustices.

Through EMPOWER, students will:

  • Gain a better understanding of social issues, identity, and social class, which affect people at the local, regional, and national level.
  • Foster and build diversity awareness.
  • Work firsthand with local agencies. 
  • Meet other Miami students who are interested in community service and social justice.
  • Develop a continuing relationship with the Office of Community Engagement & Service and local core partner agencies.
  • Improve their interpersonal and human relations skills, which are increasingly viewed as the most important skills in achieving success in professional and personal spheres.
  • Explore possibilities for future education or career choices.
This experience is based on the principles of Service-Learning, and as such, uses a critical pedagogy approach. Critical pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning that aims to raise learners’ critical consciousness regarding oppressive social conditions. It also assumes that everyone can contribute to the educational experience. The classroom is envisioned as a place where new knowledge, grounded in the experiences of students and teachers alike, is produced through meaningful dialogue. Therefore, instructors and scholars will explore and learn from one another. This experience is designed to use group activities and discussion as catalysts for learning. By forming a network and developing our skills we can begin to create a supportive community for fellow service leaders and volunteers. This collaborative effort can ultimately strengthen service efforts and maximize the benefits both our community and for you as a student.