The scholarship of engagement is focused on creating academic and civic cultures that communicate continuously and creatively with each other and connect university resources to pressing social, civic and ethical problems. This concept of engaged scholarship has emerged and grown in influence over the past three decades as part of a continuing dialogue on the nature of knowledge and the role of academic institutions in society. Community-engaged scholarship seeks active partnerships between the academy and the community as a way to generate, exchange and apply mutually beneficial and socially useful knowledge and practices.

Our office's approach

There are a variety of ways we support engagement scholarship. For example, we may help a community partner connect with a faculty member to deliver a lecture or presentation. Other times, we support CU Boulder faculty, staff and students who have been asked to apply their research, teaching or creative work to a need or problem that the community has identified. There are also times when a community actively participates in the scholarship, and the research, teaching or creative work involves multiple campus researchers and community stakeholders.

Engaged scholarship diagram

A community of engaged scholars

Interested in knowing more about engaged scholarship? Contact our office, attend a community engagement coffee hour to meet other engaged scholars or participate in a national conference.  

Engagement scholarship journals

Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

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.

Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement

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.

CU Boulder engagement scholarship

CU Boulder researchers across disciplines are committed to advancing this type of scholarship. Here are some articles and books focused on this research:

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.

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.

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.

Other key engagement scholarship articles

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.     

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.

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.

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.