The Engaged Scholars Initiative (ESI) is a cohort-based program for early-career faculty and staff at Campus Compact member institutions. Each year, the initiative brings together a diverse group of scholar-practitioners to strengthen their community-engaged scholarship and help them lead equity-focused change on campuses and in communities.

What do we mean by early career?

We define early career as community engagement professionals with eight years or less in the field of higher education community engagement or faculty who are pre-tenure.

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Program goals

Program goals

  1. Deliver frameworks for critical analysis of the field and develop participants' own practice to move toward liberatory praxis
  2. Develop and retain a diverse group of critical public scholars
  3. Deepen participants' commitment and ability to be anti-racist and advance equity and full participation
  4. Advance scholarly objectives, including research, teaching, and application, of each scholar's choosing

We meet these goals by:

  • Enhancing participants' liberatory praxis through critical analysis of personal and field practice
  • Fostering personal and professional growth by building networks of resilience
  • Increasing the collective knowledge and skills of participants to challenge traditional higher education culture and practices of individualism
  • Expanding participants’ understanding of community-engaged scholarship, including knowledge of foundational scholarship and exemplary practice, as well as how to integrate into career pathways
  • Strengthening professional and personal networks by building deep relationships with peers, Compact staff, and other field leaders
  • Generating individual and collaborative work that translates the scholars’ insights into traditional outputs (e.g., academic publications, conference presentations, white papers, etc.), creative works (e.g., public art, exhibitions, spoken word performances, etc.), and educational and community resources (e.g., program evaluations, policy analysis, training materials, etc.).
Engaged Scholar expectations

Scholars are expected to:

  1. Attend and actively participate in every aspect of the Initiative, including virtual retreats, bi-monthly virtual meetings, and any individual or small group collaborative or mentoring meetings.
  2. Complete all required preparation (e.g., pre-readings, assessment, assigned tasks, etc.) and resulting action items.
  3. Actively communicate with program directors and fellow cohort scholars throughout the experience ensuring the highest level of engagement and collaboration.
  4. Pursue a scholarly project (individual or collaborative) of their choosing.
  5. Submit all program reports by the due dates.
Program History

Throughout its history, Campus Compact has involved select faculty and other leaders in a variety of projects and activities intended to enhance and expand civic and community engagement at higher education institutions. Engaged Scholar appointments were made based on specific needs that Campus Compact identified, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Carnegie Corporation.

In 2008-2009, we experimented with a different approach to the Engaged Scholars initiative. Ten outstanding leaders joined us as Engaged Scholars for New Perspectives in Higher Education:

  • Elizabeth Carmichael Burton, Associate Director, Office of Citizenship and Service-Learning, Missouri State University;
  • David Donahue, Associate Professor of Education, Mills College;
  • Mari­a Mercedes Franco, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and Associate Director, QCC ExCEL Service-Learning Initiative, Queensborough Community College;
  • Melissa Kesler Gilbert, Director, Center for Community Engagement, Otterbein College;
  • Patrick Green, Director of Experiential Learning, Loyola University Chicago;
  • Mathew Johnson, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Director, Presidential VISTA Fellows Program, Siena College;
  • Micki Meyer, Director of Community Engagement, Rollins College;
  • Tania Mitchell, Service Learning Director, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Lecturer, School of Education and CCSRE, Stanford University;
  • Margaret Post, Director, Donelan Office of Community Based Learning, College of Holy Cross; and
  • Rowena Tomaneng, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, Lecturer in Ethnic Studies, and Director, Institute of Community and Civic Engagement, DeAnza (Community) College.

These Engaged Scholars functioned as an intentional learning community in an earlier precursor to the current Engaged Scholars Initiative. Campus Compact chose each scholar specifically for their ability to bring diverse communities, identities, and perspectives to bear on their work; their academic and administrative leadership of engagement efforts at a variety of types of higher education institutions across the country; and their commitment to sharing the results of their collaborative action and analysis and to expanding the dialogue to engage other colleagues, community partners, and students.

The following individuals have previously served as Engaged Scholars with Campus Compact:

  • Rick Battistoni
  • Cathy Burack
  • Pierre Clavel
  • Dick Cone
  • Sandra Enos
  • Stephanie Evans
  • Andrew Furco
  • Sherril Gelmon
  • Roger Henry
  • Barbara Holland
  • Barbara Jacoby
  • Seanna Kerrigan
  • Mark Langseth
  • Dasaratha V. Rama
  • Ken Reardon
  • Randy Stoecker
  • Jane V. Wellman
  • Dilafruz Williams

Partners

Swarthmore college logo


We are proud to partner with the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College for the national cohorts of the Engaged Scholars Initiative.

 

Past Partners

Brown UniversityEastern Region, cohort 1

University of KansasMidwest Region, cohort 1

Michigan State UniversityMidwest Region, cohort 1

University of MinnesotaMidwest Region, cohort 1

University of DenverWestern Region, cohort 1