For Faculty, Researchers, and Instructors
Critical Community-Engaged Research
Critical engaged research involves university faculty, post-doctoral researchers, staff and students collaborating with community organizations or members to co-create knowledge through mutually beneficial activities. This engaged research is meant to further the needs, goals and aspirations of local communities, and center their voices, ways of knowing, and expertise in every aspect of the project, from inception to dissemination. When we talk about “critical” engaged research, we refer specifically to projects and activities that help to build power among marginalized or disadvantaged groups and center a social justice lens to the work. Engaged research can include any kind of scholarly work from traditional modes of community engagement research (e.g., needs assessments and evaluations) to participatory action research, public humanities, public arts, social entrepreneurship, and many other forms.
Guides and Books
UCSF guides on conducting health-related community-engaged research
National Endowment for the Arts Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health
Campus Community Partnerships for Health has many resources on its website, including information about navigating IRB.
Fine, Michelle, and Maria Elena Torre. 2021. Essentials of critical participatory action research. American Psychological Association.
Hoffman, Andrew J. 2021. The engaged scholar: Expanding the impact of academic research in today’s world. Stanford University Press
McLaughlin, Milbrey and Rebecca A. London. 2013. From data to action: A community approach to improving youth outcomes. Harvard Education Press.
Special Journal Issues Compiling Engaged Research
Social Sciences, “”New Trends in Community-Engaged Research: Co-producing Knowledge for Justice,” 2022. [Open access]
Social Sciences, “New Trends in Community-Engaged Research, Volume 2: New Voices, Critical Approaches“, 2023. [Open access]
National and State Organizations to Support Engaged Research
LEAD California – a statewide nonprofit organization supporting half a million university and college students, administrators, faculty, staff, and community members who, with our resources, expertise, training, and connections are creating innovative ways to ensure a healthy, just, and democratic society.
Imagining America – The Imagining America consortium (IA) brings together scholars, artists, designers, humanists, and organizers to imagine, study, and enact a more just and liberatory ‘America’ and world. Working across institutional, disciplinary, and community divides, IA strengthens and promotes public scholarship, cultural organizing, and campus change that inspires collective imagination, knowledge-making, and civic action on pressing public issues.
International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) – The Association promotes high quality trans-disciplinary research across a wide range of approaches and forms and builds the capacity of scholars, practitioners, and community partners to engage in such research.Campus Compact (national)
Urban Research Based Action Network (URBAN) – URBAN is a multidisciplinary, distributed network of scholars and practitioners committed to articulating and strengthening the collaborative methods and impact, sharing findings, raising the visibility, developing career pathways and increasing the acceptance within the academy of community-based research.
Critical Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning
Experiential learning, or service learning, has long been used to engage students in community-based work augmented by course-based learning. It has been criticized in some instances as promoting a charity or savior model. Campus + Community instead supports critical community-engaged teaching and learning. A critical approach helps students to develop a critical consciousness, combining community action with reflections about the structural causes of the social problems addressed in their service placements. Critical service learning has an explicit focus on social justice issues and centers community needs.
Campus + Community supports students’ critical experiential research opportunities through a model called Community Initiated Student Engaged Research (CISER). Initiated in Sociology but now expanded across different departments, CISER uses UCSC courses to train students in research methods that they then use to support research projects which are co-developed with community organizations to respond to a community need. For more about CISER, see the article written by faculty members Steve McKay, Miriam Greenberg and Rebecca London entitled, “Community-Initiated Student-Engaged Research: Expanding Undergraduate Teaching and Learning through Public Sociology” published in Teaching Sociology.
Guidance from Sacred Heart University on the difference between traditional and critical service learning
Duke University’s Critical Service Learning reflection tool
Mitchell, Tania D. 2015. “Using a critical service-learning approach to facilitate civic identity development.” Theory Into Practice 54, no. 1: 20-28.
Coffey, H. and Arnold, L., 2022. Transformative Critical Service-Learning: Theory and Practice for Engaging Community College and University Learners in Building an Activist Mindset. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Promotion and Tenure for Engaged Scholars
Engaged scholarship involves a variety of research and dissemination activities, vital to the mission of higher education, that are intentional, mutually beneficial, and connect deeply with a community or public audiences through teaching, research, and/or dissemination. Engaged scholarship is often multi-disciplinary, involving scholars and community partners across traditionally siloed disciplines and domains. This type of scholarship often integrates research, teaching, and/or service in ways that are hard to fit into traditional paradigms. In addition, the work can require significant relationship-building to create long-term trusting relationships or substantial investment in community work, to connect with various publics.
Engaged scholarship generates a variety of products, some of which have not traditionally been recognized in the tenure and promotion process because they are not published in peer reviewed venues. Although public scholarship like opinion pieces or news articles that interview and quote scholars are generally recognized as important contributions to society, there are less well established assessment standards for the scholarly products of engaged research – including reports, briefs, websites, maps and story maps, theories of action, social media campaigns, community-based convenings, community-based art and creative works, collaborative art and performance, engaged technology and tech solutions, and others. In addition, engaged scholarly products may include multiple co-authors and co-conveners, including community partners who contribute to the work in significant ways.
View the unedited recording of our first Campus + Community event, Valuing Engaged Scholarship in the Tenure and Promotion Process. (Note, we had some technical difficulties at the start, which will be fully apparent in the video. Apologies, and thanks for sticking with us!)
Below is a list of resources for how to assess engaged scholarship in the promotion and tenure processes. It is a list in progress. Please email us if you have a resource you’d like us to include. We have listed UC Santa Cruz derived resources first, and then others.
- UCSC Committee on Academic Personnel Annual Report 2021-22. https://senate.ucsc.edu/committees/cap-committee-on-academic-personnel/cap-annual-reports-folder/cap-annualreport-2021-22_scp2031.pdf.
- UCSC Sociology Department Guidelines for Engaged Scholarship (April 2023) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1v4Ye9-aPO5xe6Cseau1oklCyRI6z0nD5B4YVo9rSPrM/edit?usp=sharing
UC campus documents and resources:
- Overview of Community-Engaged Scholarship at Berkeley. https://i4y.berkeley.edu/institutional-change-initiative
- UCLA Center for Community Engagement Report on Recognizing Community-Engaged Scholarship in Academic Personnel Review (2021). https://communityengagement.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Tenure-and-Promotion-Policy-for-Engaged-Scholarship-Report-10_12_21.pdf.
- UC Davis Office of Public Engagement and Scholarship. https://publicengagement.ucdavis.edu/
Guidance on community-engaged, engaged, and public scholarship from professional organizations:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many approaches to public engagement (nd). https://www.aaas.org/resources/communication-toolkit/many-approaches-public-engagement
- American Historical Association. Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian ( 2017). https://www.historians.org/jobs-and-professional-development/statements-standards-and-guidelines-of-the-discipline/tenure-promotion-and-the-publicly-engaged-academic-historian
- American Historical Association. Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians (2015). https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/digital-history-resources/evaluation-of-digital-scholarship-in-history/guidelines-for-the-professional-evaluation-of-digital-scholarship-by-historians
- American Philosophy Association (2017). Statement on Valuing Public Philosophy. https://www.apaonline.org/page/publicphilosophy
- American Political Science Association Civic Engagement Section. Professional Advice (2022). https://sites.google.com/view/apsacivic/resources/tandp?authuser=0
- American Sociological Association (2016). “What Counts”: Evaluating public communication in tenure and promotion.
- Imagining America Guidance. Scholarship in public: knowledge creation and tenure policy in the engaged university. Syracuse, NY Imagining America (2007). https://surface.syr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=iahttps://www.asanet.org/wp-content/uploads/tf_report_what_counts_evaluating_public_communication_in_tenure_and_promotion_final_august_2016.pdf
- Modern Language Association Guidelines for Evaluating Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship (2022). https://www.mla.org/content/download/187094/file/Guidelines-Evaluating-Public-Humanities.pdf
Guidance on community-engaged, engaged, and public scholarship from other sources:
- Community Resource Collaborative, In it together: Community-Based Research Guidelines for Communities and Higher Education (2021). https://d2vxd53ymoe6ju.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2021/05/12143439/CRC-Guidelines-May-12-2021.pdf
- Campus Compact, Tenure and Promotion for Engaged Scholarship – A Repository (Aug 2022). https://compact.org/resources/tenure-and-promotion-for-engaged-scholarship-a-repository?f%255B0%255D%3Dresource_tag=698
- Rutgers University Guidelines for Evaluating Publicly-Engaged Scholarship (2019). https://fas.camden.rutgers.edu/files/Publicly-Engaged-Scholarship-Guidelines-Fall-2019.pdf
- University of Minnesota Publicly Engaged Scholarship Criteria (2007). https://engagement.umn.edu/sites/ope.umn.edu/files/umn_pes_criteria_11.08.18_1%20Final.pdf
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2016 Provost’s task force on engaged scholarship in promotion and tenure (2016). https://academicpersonnel.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1069/2020/05/PT-Final-Report-092016.pdf