Fall Residency Program

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The Program

The Over-the-Rhine Residency Program is open to all majors and provides the unique opportunity to participate in a for-credit, semester-long residential immersion program in the Over-the-Rhine Community.  And we’ve expanded into Lower Price Hill.  While being a full-time student, participants serve at non-profit organizations, may work on buildings as part of the Design/Build Studio, teach in neighborhood schools, and engage directly with local residents, leaders, and politicians.


Junior and senior students interested in serving the community through an alternative classroom experience are encouraged to apply for the program.  The program’s flexibility allows students to customize their experience to help them climb towards career and life goals.


Students share apartment units facing Washington Park.  Housing is available in Lower Price Hill, too.


Students in Teacher Education have their own curriculum that meshes nicely with this Program, but they will take ARC 427 (see below).  For other Miami majors, three core courses constitute the curriculum, with other courses added as needed by students to cover requirements of their major (generally a six-hour practicum, thus totaling 15 credit hours for the Program).  Additionally, these three core courses meet a Thematic Sequence requirement of a student’s Liberal Education plan.

The Thematic Sequence consists of three interrelated tiers:  (1) practical experiences based in service-learning, (2) theoretical investigation of urban issues and policy, and (3) special topics that allow for deeper investigations of issues pertaining to Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine.

  1. Service Learning (EDL 377) The course understands service-learning as a theoretical and practical endeavor oriented towards social justice, and grounds students in community organizations.  The course is the base for the whole program in that students meet neighborhood and Cincinnati leaders and residents, engage readings about service-learning, and reflect upon their experiences from their service-learning sites.
  2. The American City Since 1940 (ARC/BWS 427) The course acquaints students with a wide body of literature to examine urban dynamics and poverty on a theoretical and practical level.  The intention is to identify the racial, class, and gendered dimensions of urban development and poverty in the United States and the possible prescriptions for social change.  Courses offered within this category will challenge students to integrate the course content with the practical dimensions of their service-learning experiences.
  3. Designing/Writing for Social Change (ARC 405.Z) Courses in this third group are focused around a special topic, with course content and student research projects engaging the circumstances of Over-the-Rhine and Lower Price Hill.  In this way, these special topic courses allow a deeper investigation of the specifics of urbanism in Cincinnati, complementing the wider, theoretical investigations of the second tier courses as well as the practical experiences of the first tier courses.

Why is SERVICE an Important Component of the Program?

The service component functions as the medium through which learning occurs. Every week students perform 20 hours of service at one or more non-profit organizations within the Over-the-Rhine community.  Prior students have served at medical clinics, affordable housing developers, schools, homeless shelters, with advocacy groups, and at other local non-profits.  By living and working with those who are economically poor, an important goal is to develop cultural sensitivity and empathy across ethnic and class boundaries.

On a weekly basis, students meet as a group and individually with program staff to reflect upon their experiences in Over-the-Rhine and the dynamics of their living community.  Students also organize community dinners for friends, family, and community members as a way to share their memories of the semester with others.  Additionally, students keep a journal to document and record the events, people, frustrations, and personal challenges of their experience.

The impact upon both students and community members has been deep.  For many students, they came to see life differently.  Poverty became real.  Voting became relevant.  They became amazed as to how the daily lives of ordinary people affected them.  They learned from those homeless and their neighbors.  They saw community and experienced its strong bonds and responsibilities.  For many, the tables turned, and gained some inkling how life is lived as a “minority.”  That the students were so affected speaks to how they were able to open their hearts and minds to be affected.  They took a risk and allowed themselves to be challenged.

Student Reflections about the Program »

How to Apply

Your Application includes these three things:

  • A one-page letter of introduction that explains why you want to be in the Program and what you hope to gain from it.
  • The names and contact information of two people who can act as a reference for you. There is no need for letters of reference—just email addresses and phone numbers are needed.  One of your references must be a professor.
  • A copy of your DAR.

Deadline: October 13, 2017


After you submit an application with these components, we will contact you for on-campus interviews.

More Information

John Blake, Cincinnati Professor of Community Engagement
Interim Director, Miami University Center for Community Engagement
Miami University Department of Architecture and Interior Design
101 Alumni Hall