Community-Engaged Scholarship and Practice

Definition of Scholarship at UNCG*

Scholarship is characterized by creative intellectual work based on a high level of professional expertise, the significance of which can be validated by peers and which enhances the fulfillment of the mission of the University. Scholarship is not considered to be synonymous with research, but can be demonstrated by activities in teaching, research, creative activity, service, and directed professional activity. Scholarship may be conducted by a variety of methods, across a variety of contexts, and in pursuit of a variety of purposes. Such scholarship can enhance or revise disciplinary knowledge; have an impact on various populations or organizations; or offer new theoretical insights. Because of the breadth of scholarly activity and its conduct, the path of any scholarly agenda will vary according to the nature of its questions and the means of their pursuit.

At UNCG, examples of Community-Engaged Scholarship may include*:

Community Engaged Teaching

  • Developing and delivering community-based instruction, such as service-learning experiences, on-site courses, clinical experiences, professional internships, and collaborative programs
  • Developing and delivering off-campus teaching activities such as study-abroad courses and experiences, international instruction, and distance education courses
  • Developing and delivering instruction to communities and other constituencies

Community-Engaged Research and Creative Activities

  • Writing papers for refereed journals and conference proceedings
  • Creating exhibits in educational and cultural institutions
  • Disseminating community-engaged research through public programs and events
  • Conducting and disseminating directed or contracted research
  • Conducting and reporting program evaluation research or public policy analyses for other institutions and agencies
  • Developing innovating solutions that address social, economic, or environmental challenges (e.g., inventions, patents, products, services, clinical procedures and practices)

Community Engagement (Service)

  • Consulting and providing technical assistance and/or services to public and private organizations
  • Writing position papers for the general public
  • Collaborating with schools, businesses, advocacy groups, community groups, and civic agencies to develop policies
  • Providing leadership in or making significant contribution to economic and community development activities

* taken directly from the University-Wide Evaluation Guidelines for Promotions and Tenure (amended by the General Faculty Nov. 18, 2009) available on the website of the Office of the Provost

Community-Engaged Scholarship (CES)

Community-engaged scholarship involves faculty, staff and students working collaboratively with community partners to address issues of common concern. Responsible CES include the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of of partnership and reciprocity, a core UNCG Value.  High quality CES increases understanding and gives insight to the complexity of social issues and identifies strategies for addressing them. CES, in partnership with communities, identifies appropriate areas of inquiry, designs studies and/or creative activities, and implements activities that will be mutually enhancing to all through shared learning and capacity building. Community-engaged scholarship uses the information gathered, the actions taken, and the relationships established to bring about transformational change to the community, as well as to academe.

Principles and Policies*

A number of authors have advanced principles for community-based participatory research. Drawing on over a decade of experience, Barbara Israel and her colleagues in Michigan have identified nine key principles of community-based participatory research that support successful research partnerships and are widely cited. [Israel, B.; Schulz, A.; Parker, E.; and Becker, A. (1998). “Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health.” Annual Review of Public Health, 19, pp. 173-202]

  • Recognizes community as a unit of identity
  • Builds on strengths and resources within the community
  • Facilitates collaborative, equitable involvement of all partners in all phases of the research
  • Integrates knowledge and intervention for mutual benefit of all partners
  • Promotes a co-learning and empowering process that attends to social inequalities
  • Involves a cyclical and iterative process
  • Addresses health from both positive and ecological perspectives
  • Disseminates findings and knowledge gained to all partners
  • Involves long-term commitment by all partners

*Adapted from

Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health FAQs

Table of Contents:

  • Definining Community Engagement and Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Examples of Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Assessing Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Funding of Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Institutions Embracing Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Best Practices on Institutionalizing Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • Overcoming Barriers to Embracing Community-Engaged Scholarship
  • References and Resources

Research University Engaged Scholarship Toolkit

The Research University Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN) has recently released an online toolkit on engaged scholarship comprised of an annotated bibliography of published articles, links to online resources, and a set of original essays.

Community-Based Participatory Research (excellent resources from Campus Community Partnerships for Health)

A number of community-engaged scholarship (CES) resources from Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) are highlighted, including (click on the links below)