Why Does Engagement Matter?
- Engagement between the university (faculty, staff, and/or students) and the community provides significant benefits to both the university and the community or general public. It not only helps the university adapt to a changing world, but advances its core mission and strengthens external ties to individuals, businesses, industry, alumni, donors, and more.
- Universities are called upon to be more relevant and responsive to societal challenges, support state priorities, and help create positive change in their communities.
- Engagement by the university builds the community's capacity to address critical issues, promote economic development, and improve its citizens' quality of life.
Why should I as a faculty member engage?
Engagement with individuals or groups in the community provides numerous benefits to teaching, research and scholarship.
- The community's perspective or insights may provide new knowledge that answers a particular research question or sheds light on a particular issue.
- The project may offer opportunities for collaborations with faculty from other disciplines and working jointly on specific challenges.
- New knowledge gained about a specific issue may enhance existing curriculum and teaching practices.
- Opportunities for external funding may be increased due to the fact that Community
partners may have access to funding that the university alone may not have access
Federal granting agencies such as NSF or NIH give funding preference to projects that a) have broader societal impacts; b) involve interdisciplinary collaborations; or c) propose innovative, transformative solutions to “old” problems or critical societal issues.
Private donors and foundations tend to fund projects that increase access for disadvantaged populations, and further public causes.
Why should I engage the community in my work?
Citizens are "engaged" when they play a meaningful role in the deliberations, discussions, decision-making and/or implementation of projects or programs affecting them. Accordingly, members of higher education institutions need to broaden the way they see their responsibilities to include roles as facilitators, supporters, and collaborators in order to empower citizens and stakeholders.