What is Engaged Scholarship?
Engaged Scholarship is a form of scholarship that involves collaborative and reciprocal partnerships between the university (faculty, staff, and/or students) and external communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. It is creative, intellectual work that relates teaching, research/creative activity, or service to advance specific community interests for the good of the public.
The process merges a faculty member's disciplinary knowledge and expertise with the knowledge and experiences of the community to co-create new knowledge both for the discipline and for the public. Broadly defined, it is scholarly work that is conducted for, in, and with the community or the general public.
How is engaged scholarship different from traditional faculty scholarship?
When practicing engaged scholarship, faculty intentionally integrate partnerships with individuals or organization outside of the university into their research and teaching activities for the purpose of addressing a local need or complex societal issue. It is through active collaboration and participation from these community members in the research and solution-seeking process that new knowledge is generated from both the discipline and community partners.
Therefore, engaged scholarship involves both the act of engaging (active collaboration between faculty, staff, and/or students and communities) and the product of engagement (co-creation and dissemination of knew knowledge for the discipline and the community or the general public.) The results are “high quality” peer-reviewed scholarship.
What are the characteristics of “high quality” engaged scholarship?
- Clear academic and community change goals
- Adequate preparation in content area and grounding in the community
- Appropriate methods: Rigor and engagement with community partners
- Significant results: Impact on the university/field and the community
- Effective presentation/dissemination to academic and community audiences
- Reflective critiques: Lessons learned to improve the scholarship and the engagement
What makes an engagement activity “scholarship?”
- It requires a high level of discipline-based expertise
- It breaks new ground or is innovative
- It can be replicated and elaborated
- Its results can be documented
- Its results can be peer reviewed
- It has significance or impact
(based on R. Diamond and B. Adam, 1993)
In summary, just like traditional scholarship, engaged scholarship is public, peer reviewed, and publicly available so that others may build on it. It involves a systematic design, implementation, assessment and redesign, and draws from literature and best practices in the discipline. What makes it different from traditional scholarship is the fact that community partners contribute their knowledge and best practices to the research and scholarship.
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