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Community Engagement Fundamentals

Demonstrating an ability to effectively and elaborately summarize the foundations of the field and the breadth of community-engaged work

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Follow the link to start a credential application. Read more about key competencies & specific application requirements below.

Key Competencies

We define “key competencies” in the Community Engagement Fundamentals area as the knowledge, skills, and critical commitments that must be mobilized by CEPs to accurately and elaborately represent the foundations of the field and the breadth of community-engaged work.

By earning this core competency credential, an individual has demonstrated their knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  1. Knowledge of various conceptualizations of community and a working definition of community engagement.
  2. Knowledge of a set of guiding principles for ethical and effective community engagement.
  3. Knowledge of different modes of public service and civic engagement.
  4. Ability to explain how effective community partnerships are related to the community engagement work of a college or university campus.
  5. Ability to describe the nature of a strong community-campus partnership.
  6. Ability to articulate the importance of equity and inclusion in engagement work, including the opportunities and challenges inherent in engaging students and other partners/stakeholders across lines of social difference.
  7. Ability to describe the roles of engaged faculty, staff, and students on an engaged campus and the issues they face.
  8. Knowledge of the ways community engagement can intersect with both curricular and co-curricular campus activities.
  9. Knowledge of examples of effective community and civic engaged teaching.
  10. Knowledge of examples of effective community and civic engaged research.

Submission requirements

  1. Complete a brief, online self-assessment. At the beginning of the application process, individuals will be expected to complete a self-assessment in which they reflect on their own knowledge, skills, and aptitudes related to the key competencies in the credential's subject area. The self-evaluation is designed to help applicants decide whether they are ready to continue through the application process or whether they will want to pursue additional training, professional development opportunities, or practical experiences before continuing. 
  2. Provide a CV or resume and a list of recent, relevant professional development experiences in which you have participated related to the core competency area
  3. Complete and submit ONE of the following two options (specific details provided below):
    • OPTION #1: Emerging or early-career community engagement professionals (CEPs): A video presentation on higher education community engagement
    • OPTION #2: CEPs with more substantial experience in the micro-credential area:  Relevant annotated materials
  4. Submit a brief essay assessing your critical commitments to community engagement, your perceived areas of strength, and areas in which you would like to grow professional
  5. Submit a brief action plan outlining next steps you can take to enhance your competencies in the areas you’ve identified.


Applicants must demonstrate having earned, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution of higher education.


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Option 1: Presentation on higher education community engagement

Required submission for all emerging or early-career applicants

Please create a narrated, 15-20 minute video presentation on the fundamentals of community engagement. Assume that the audience for your presentation is a team of faculty and staff from a newly forming college or university who has very little knowledge about higher education community engagement work.

Your task is to provide an overview of the relationship between higher education and community engagement and to help your audience understand the breadth of topics of concern for community engagement professionals. When appropriate, you are encouraged to cite the relevant literature that informs your understanding of the ideas and concepts you are presenting.

In your presentation, be sure to address the following:

  1. A working definition of community engagement that acknowledges the complexity of the term
  2. A set of guiding principles for higher education’s practice of ethical and effective community engagement
  3. An articulation of multiple modes of public service and civic engagement (see, for example, the Pathways of Public Service and Civic Engagement)
  4. An informed articulation of the importance of equity and inclusion in engagement work, including the opportunities and challenges inherent in engaging participants across lines of social difference.
  5. At least two examples of effective community partnerships between a college or university and the community
  6. An overview of ways community engagement can intersect with curricular and co-curricular campus activities, providing examples of each
  7. A description of the issues facing engaged faculty, staff, and students on college and university campuses
  8. An overview of the nature of and issues related to community and civic engaged research, and providing at least one example.

Your presentation will be evaluated for the quality and relevance of content as well as the clarity of the ideas presented. It should also speak to the full range of key competencies for this micro-credential area.

Option 2: Annotated materials

Instead of the video presentation, you may submit up to five annotated artifacts (publications, presentation, workshop outlines, curricular materials, etc.) that you played a role in developing or disseminating and that outline and demonstrate your experience with, and understanding of, the key micro-credential competencies. Please include with each artifact a brief narrative annotation that clearly explains how the artifact relates to your work or role as a CEP. In annotating your artifacts, be clear in identifying what aspects of the artifact are relevant and which key competencies they can be related to. Finally, be sure to note the specific role(s) you played in carrying out the activities described (for example, if an activity was co-facilitated or co-created, what particular role did you play?).

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