Community-engaged scholars seek active partnerships between the university and the community as a way to generate and apply mutually beneficial and socially useful knowledge and practices. At CU Boulder, our official campus definition treats the term "outreach and engagement" as a synonym for community-engaged scholarship. The practice of community-engaged scholarship includes teaching, research, or creative work.
CU Boulder's Office for Outreach and Engagement facilitates community-engaged scholarship. Our approach to the work is rooted in equitable relationships and invested in diverse interests, perspectives and needs, as the means for producing reciprocal relationships of trust and mutually beneficial outcomes.
Varieties of engaged scholarship
Our office developed a Continuum of Engaged Scholarship to describe the various types of academic work that we support. Scholars engage with communities by presenting their academic work, developing projects for partners or co-constructing programs. This work also can move along the continuum, depending on the needs and interests of community or campus partners.
Contact our office to learn more about how we support engaged scholarship.
Or consider attending Coffee & Conversations on Community-Engaged Scholarship or a national conference.
CONTINUUM OF ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP
Research, teaching or creative work is developed within academic disciplines and fields, generally without collaborating with communities.
Programs share findings and other scholarly products with the public through lectures, videos, websites, blogs, learning materials and more.
Research, teaching or creative work is conducted or adapted for the benefit of a specific community or to address a recognized “problem of practice.”
Programs and products are based on community interests and needs; community members are encouraged to access information and resources.
Research, teaching or creative work is conducted with communities; problems, goals and methods are jointly defined by campus and community.
Programs are developed with communities to address jointly defined goals and interests; many university and community stakeholders are involved.
Collaboration and Relationship Building
Jan. 2020 • Created by CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement
The field of engagement scholarship
As the movement for community-engaged scholarship has grown, so has the interdisciplinary field of engagement scholarship. This refers to the systematic, disciplined inquiry into the theory, context, practices and impact of engaged scholarship.
A growing number of international, national and regional professional organizations support the field of engagement scholarship. Find out about these organizations and conferences. Engagement scholarship presents opportunities for peer-reviewed publications, which are mentioned below.
The collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of reciprocity. (Carnegie Foundation, 2007)
Outreach and Engagement
Often a synonym for community-engaged scholarship (see CU Boulder's campus definition).
One fully committed to direct, two-way interaction with communities and other external constituencies through the development, exchange, and application of knowledge, information, and expertise for mutual benefit. (American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2002, p. 7)
Systematic, disciplined inquiry into the theory, context, practices, and impact of engaged scholarship.
A quality of processes based on equitable “give and take” between partners in a shared endeavor (in decision-making, resource contributions, etc.)
Outcomes that substantially address the goals and needs of all partners in a collaborative effort.
The Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES) is a peer-reviewed international journal through which faculty, staff, students, and community partners disseminate scholarly works. The JCES integrates teaching, research, and community engagement in all disciplines, addressing critical problems identified through a community-participatory process. This journal is sponsored by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.
The Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (JHEOE) is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal for the advancement of theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities. This journal is sponsored by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.
In addition to publishing in the outreach, engagement or service sections of publications in your discipline, consider submitting to other publications focused on outreach and engagement work. The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC) website has a comprehensive list of outreach and engagement journals and publications.
CU Boulder researchers across disciplines are committed to advancing this type of scholarship. Here are some articles and books focused on this research:
- Coburn, Cynthia E. and William R. Penuel (2016) Research–Practice Partnerships in Education: Outcomes, Dynamics, and Open Questions in Educational Researcher, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 48–54
Coburn, Penuel and Geil (2013) describe research-practice partnerships (RPPs) as long-term collaborations between practitioners and researchers that are organized to investigate problems of practice and solutions for improving institutional contexts (e.g. schools and school districts, etc.). This article reviews empirical research on RPPs in education and other fields.
- Derr, Victoria; Healey Malinin, Laura; and Banasiak, Meredith. "Engaging Citizens and Transforming Designers: Analysis of a Campus-Community Partnership Through the Lens of Children’s Rights to Participation." Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 53-64, 2016.
- Osnes, Beth. Performance for Resilience Engaging Youth on Energy and Climate Through Music, Movement, and Theatre. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
- Penuel, W.R., Allen, A.R., Farrell, C., & Coburn, C. (2015). Conceptualizing research-practice partnerships as joint work at boundaries. Journal for Education of Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 20(1-2), 182-197.
This article draws from joint university and community work in a two-year study of RPPs to present a framework for analyzing how researchers and community partners “perceive and navigate differences they encounter in the context of research–practice partnerships”. The discussion utilizes concepts of boundary practices and boundary crossing examine the process of collaborative work and to push back on one-way translation metaphors.
- Penuel, William R., and Heather C. Hill. “Building a Knowledge Base on Research-Practice Partnerships: Introduction to the Special Topic Collection.” AERA Open, vol. 5, no. 4, Oct. 2019.
- Sandekian, Robyn; Chinowsky, Paul; and Amadei, Bernard. "Engineering for Developing Communities at the University of Colorado Boulder: A Ten Year Retrospective." International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Special Edition, pp. 62-77, Fall 2014.
- Teeters, L A. and A S. Jurow. "Generating Equity-Oriented Partnerships: A Framework for Reflection and Practice." Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 27-37.
This article presents a framework outlining five dimensions of a community-engaged research trajectory: (1) establishing partnerships; (2) developing trust; (3) working with diverse linguistic practices; (4) planning for different forms of action; and (5) outcomes and dissemination. This framework is developed as a formative evaluation tool intended to be used throughout the research collaboration to inform the iterative process of learning collaborations and design work. The approach draws on a five-year community-engaged research project and is intended to support community-based researchers in generating methods of engagement that can expand opportunities for non-dominant community members.
- Wilson, Terri S.; Hastings, Matthew; and Moses, Michele S. "Opting Out as Democratic Engagement? The Public Dimensions and Challenges of Education Activism." The Good Society, Vol. 25, No. 2-3, pp. 231-255, 2016.
- Boyer, Ernest L. (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Using his influential position as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Boyer analyses findings of a survey of faculty members across the higher education sector and the nation. He introduces a typology of four interrelated and essential scholarly activities: the scholarships of discovery, integration, application and teaching. Against the growing tendency to identify faculty work with discovery (“research”), Boyer presents an empirically and theoretically-grounded vision of an academic community which affirms the diverse talents of its faculty and staff members and that appreciates the different functions of various disciplines, fields and institutions. Cited 12,470 times (February 11 2019, Google Scholar), Boyer’s seminal work was re-published in a 2015 expanded edition including essays on its background, impact and ongoing influence.
- Boyer, Ernest. "The Scholarship of Engagement." Journal of Public Service and Outreach, 1(1), pp. 11-20, 1996.
This piece, published immediately following Boyer’s death, appeared in the first issue of what would become the Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement. In it, Boyer builds upon his call for “enlarging the perspective” in 1990’s Scholarship Reconsidered and introduces the term scholarship of engagement. Boyer argues that “what’s needed is not just more programs, but a larger purpose, a larger sense of mission” (p. 20) and a recommitment to traditions of public service in urban as well as rural contexts to help solve the problems of the 21st century.
- Hallet, L.M., Morelli, T.L., Gerber, L.R., Moritz, M.A., Schwartz, M.W., Stephenson, N.L., Tank, J.L, Williamson, M.A., & Woodhouse, C.A. (2017) Navigating translational ecology: creating opportunities for scientist participation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment,15(10), 578–586.
In this article, the concept and practice of “translational ecology” is explained and illustrated with numerous examples of scientists working with stakeholders (e.g. resource managers, non-profit organizations or community groups) to address questions of shared importance. The authors emphasize the utility of co-produced science, that generates results which can genuinely be used and applied by the stakeholders in decision-making and resource management contexts. Constraints and challenges (with suggested solutions) in this collaborative process are discussed from the perspectives of both the scientists and the stakeholders, in terms that allow this article to be relevant across many disciplines.
- "Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution (February 1999)." Association of Public & Land-grant Universities.
The Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities existed between January 1996 and March 2000 in order to create awareness among public universities of the need for higher education reform. This report in the series focuses on university engagement.
- Weerts, D. & Sandmann, L. (2010). Community Engagement and Boundary-Spanning Roles at Research Universities. The Journal of Higher Education, Vol.81, No. 6
David Weerts from the University of Minnesota and Lorilee Sandmann from the University of Georgia are seen as the leaders in studying the boundary spanner roles. Their study outlined in this article examined how research universities build bridges to community partners through the lens of boundary-spanning theory. The authors looked at how boundary-spanning roles are understood and defined across research institutions - who are the primary university-community boundary-spanners, their roles, and how boundary-spanners facilitate university-community engagement.