Valuing Engaged Scholarship

Understanding Engaged Scholarship
Aligning Faculty Pursuits and Institutional Mission

Dr. Jennifer Klug CTCCDr. Klug partnered in her engaged scholarship on water nutrification/lake dead zones with Friends of the Lake. The research is highly relevant to Klug’s scholarly agenda, while reports are used to educate lake users and policy-makers, enhance resource management, promote student application of discipline-specific learning, and enhance Fairfield University’s role as stewards of place.

The Eastern Region Campus Compact conference’s annual Institute focused on recognizing and rewarding engaged scholarship has amassed numerous resources from research and existing faculty guidelines, developed and facilitated by Drs. KerryAnn O’Meara and Timothy Eatman.  New Jersey Campus Compact’s (NJCC) Executive Director, Dr. Saul Petersen, is a founding member of the ERCC consortium and co-director of the Institute on engaged scholarship. NJCC has extensive resources and runs numerous events around this issue. To facilitate a greater understanding of community engaged scholarship and to assist our colleagues in higher education to increase their understanding of engaged scholarship, NJCC has amassed the evidence and examples from existing faculty policies on the following areas:

  • Definitions of community engaged scholarship
  • Evaluation criteria from research and guidelines
  • Examples of community engaged scholarship found in teaching, research, and service (anchors to examples below)

Definitions of Community Engaged Scholarship

Below are five definitions of community engaged scholarship. The first is the definition put forward by Connecticut Campus Compact. The second is by the National Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement, followed by three examples found in faculty handbooks.

Connecticut Campus Compact

Connecticut Campus Compact

Community engaged scholarship can be found in teaching, research and/or service. It is academically relevant work that simultaneously addresses disciplinary concerns and fulfills campus and community objectives. It involves sharing authority with community partners in the development of goals and approaches, as well the conduct of work and its dissemination. It should involve critical review by discipline-specific peers, community partners and the public. (Engaged Scholarship Advisory Committee, 2012)

National Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement

National Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement

Engaged scholarship: A term that captures scholarship in the multiple aspects of teaching, research and/or service. This type of scholarship engages faculty in academically relevant work that simultaneously fulfills the campus mission and goals as well as community needs. It is a scholarly agenda that integrates community issues. 

University of Memphis

University of Memphis

Engaged scholarship now subsumes the scholarship of application. It adds to existing knowledge in the process of applying intellectual expertise to collaborative problem-solving with urban, regional, state, national and/or global communities and results in a written work shared with others in the discipline or field of study. Engaged scholarship conceptualizes “community groups” as all those outside of academe and requires shared authority at all stages of the research process from defining the research problem, choosing theoretical and methodological approaches, conducting the research, developing the final product(s), to participating in peer evaluation.

Portland State University

Portland State University

“Engaged scholarship emerges from learning and discovery in collaboration with communities. It engages faculty in academically relevant work that simultaneously meets campus mission and community needs: a scholarly agenda that integrates communities’ assets and interests. Engaged scholarship generates, transmits, integrates and applies knowledge through collaborations designed to contribute to the public good.”

Syracuse University

Syracuse University

“Publicly engaged scholarship may involve partnerships of university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, creative activity, and public knowledge; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address and help solve critical social problems; and contribute to the public good.” 


Evaluation Criteria from Research and Guidelines

The following criteria were advanced by several researchers and in some examples of faculty policies.

Scholarship Assessed

Scholarship Assessed’ by Glassick, Taylor and Maeroff:

Clear Goals: Does the scholar state the basic purpose of his or her work clearly? Does the scholar define objectives that are realistic and achievable? Does the scholar identify important questions in the field?

Adequate Preparation: Does the scholar show an understanding of existing scholarship in the field? Does the scholar bring the necessary skills to his or her work? Does the scholar bring together the resources necessary to move the project forward?

Appropriate Methods: Does the scholar use methods appropriate to the goals? Does the scholar apply effectively the methods selected? Does the scholar modify procedures in response to changing circumstances?

Significant Results: Does the scholar achieve the goals? Does the scholar’s work add consequentially to the field? Does the scholar’s work open additional areas for further exploration?

Effective Presentation: Does the scholar use a suitable style and effective organization to present his or her work? Does the scholar use appropriate forums for communicating the work to its intended audiences? Does the scholar present his or her message with clarity and integrity?

Reflective Critique:  Does the scholar critically evaluate his or her own work? Does the scholar bring an appropriate breadth of evidence to his or her critique? Does the scholar use evaluation to improve the quality of future work?

Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

Promotion and Tenure Policy (May 18, 2009):

Three of the four areas for evaluation, Teaching, and Student Advising and Mentoring; Scholarship and Creative Activities; and Professional Outreach and Service, will normally be judged by six criteria, though not to the exclusion of other evidence that may be appropriate in particular cases. These six criteria include clear goals; evidence of the context of disciplinary expertise, theory, literature, and best practices; appropriate methods; significant results; effective communication and dissemination; and reflective critique. Each of these criteria contains guiding questions to assist the candidate in preparation of review documents…These criteria embrace the college’s recognition of Ernest Boyer’s and other authors’ broad view of scholarship, a view that acknowledges the value of many types of contributions including discovery, application, integration, teaching, and engagement. The college’s recognition includes the understanding that community involvement can change the nature of faculty work, enhance student learning, better fulfill campus mission, influence strategic planning and assessment, improve university-community relations, and enrich the public good.

  • Clear Goals:  How does the candidate’s work contribute to the department, college, and university mission, as well as the public good? How does the candidate’s work identify and address significant questions arising from disciplinary, interdisciplinary and/or community questions? How have the candidate’s objectives been formulated, refined, and achieved?The Context of Disciplinary Expertise, Theory , Literature , and Best Practices: How does the candidate show an understanding of relevant existing scholarship? What skills and contributions does the candidate bring to the work? Is the work intellectually compelling to the discipline, professional practice, interdisciplinary knowledge, and/or other communities of practice?
  • Appropriate Methods: What is the candidate’s rationale for selection of methods in relation to context and issue? How does the candidate use methods appropriate to the goals, questions and context of the work? How does the candidate effectively apply the methods selected? Does the candidate modify procedures appropriately in response to changing circumstances?
  • Significant Results: How does the candidate’s work add consequentially to the discipline (as evidenced, in part, by blind, peer-reviewed publications), areas of practice, and to the community? How are these outcomes evaluated and by whom? Does the candidate’s work open additional areas for further exploration and collaboration? Does the candidate’s work make a contribution consistent with the purpose and target of the work over a period of time?
  • Effective Communication /Dissemination:  Does the candidate communicate and disseminate effectively to appropriate academic audiences, practice areas, community partners, and public audiences/forums consistent with the mission of the institution?
  • Reflective Critique; How does the candidate critically evaluate and refine the work?  What sources of evidence inform the critique? In what ways have the discipline, practice areas, and community partners’ perspectives informed the critique?


(ALSO) Scholarship and Creative Activities:

Internal evaluation of the quality and impact of the candidate’s scholarship by the Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committee is supplemented by letters and critical reviews from nationally recognized experts in the candidate’s discipline, and, when appropriate, nationally recognized leaders in the field of the institutionalization of community engagement, service-learning, professional outreach and service. When appropriate, candidates may select reviewers from settings outside the academy. These Community Peer Reviewers may include educators, psychologists, and librarians working in public policy and other applied settings; key community partners who are not academics by training, but who are experienced consumers of applied research and use academic scholarship.


Community Peer Review:

Community Peer Review is appropriate to assess:

♦  The effectiveness of collaborative research methods
♦  The impact of applied research on publics
♦   The overall professional outreach and service to the community or organization

NOTE: Such review should be used as part of the overall review of candidates’ work and in conjunction with traditional criteria and reviewers.

Portland State University

Portland State University

Faculty and departments should evaluate a faculty member’s community outreach accomplishments creatively and thoughtfully. Contributions to knowledge developed through community outreach should be judged using the criteria for quality and significance of scholarship. It is strongly recommended that the evaluation consider the following indicators of quality and significance:

  • Publication in journals or presentations at disciplinary or  interdisciplinary meetings that advance the scholarship of community outreach.
  • Honors, awards, and other forms of special recognition received  for community outreach.
  • Adoption of the faculty member’s models for problem resolution,  intervention programs, instruments, or processes by others who  seek solutions to similar problems.                  
  • Substantial contributions to public policy or influence upon professional practice.                       
  • Models that enrich the artistic and cultural life of the community.
  • Evaluative statements from clients and peers regarding the quality and significance of documents or performances produced by the faculty member.        

Teaching scholars also can make a significant scholarly contribution by communicating pedagogical innovations and curricular developments to peers who adopt these approaches.


Examples of Community Engaged Scholarship in Teaching, Service and Research

The following are some examples of engaged scholarship sourced from faculty guidelines in the areas of teaching, research and service.


  • Portland State University
    • Use state-of-the-art knowledge to facilitate change in organizations or institutions
    • Use disciplinary or interdisciplinary expertise to help groups/organizations in conceptualizing and solving problems
    • Contribute to the evaluation of existing practices or programs
    • Make substantive contributions to public policy
  • Northern Kentucky University
    • Providing service to a local, regional, or global community or governmental agency, such as the P-12 community, non-profit agencies, economic development forces
    • Providing public writing services, including grant proposals and grant awards for an organization or community


  • Portland State University
    • Teaching scholars also can make a significant scholarly contribution by communicating pedagogical innovations and curricular developments to peers who adopt these approaches.
  • Northern Kentucky University
    • Scholarship of Teaching, including applied research regarding various pedagogies, student learning, and assessment practices; development and dissemination of materials for use in teaching beyond one’s own classroom.
  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. School of Health and Human Services
    • The tangible scholarly products of such (SoTL) efforts will often take the form of textbooks, manuals, software, web –based instruction, and other course materials, peer-reviewed articles on pedagogy or curriculum design, and reports based on program grants and contracts devoted to developing and disseminating innovative materials about teaching.


  • Northern Kentucky University
    • Scholarship of Engagement, including community-based research, technical assistance, demonstration projects, impact assessment, and policy analysis; scholarly work relating to the study or promotion of public engagement.
  • Portland State University
    • Application involves asking how state-of-the-art knowledge can be responsibly applied to significant problems.
    • Application primarily concerns assessing the efficacy of knowledge or creative activities within a particular context, refining its implications, assessing its generalizability, and using it to implement changes.
  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. School of Health and Human Services
    • Scholarship of Application” may take such forms as technical reports or monographs; art and design commissions, including social media products; authoring publications for and with practitioners; authoring reports for new program development; authoring articles in the appropriate popular or regional press and professional online publications; producing evaluative, curatorial, or community education projects
  • The University of North Carolina. Department of Family Medicine
    • Recent examples of the scholarship of application include(s)… interventions to reduce barriers to care among Hispanics and a COPC based intervention to reduce the racial disparity in adverse outcomes in diabetes.




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