Engaged Scholars Initiative

The Engaged Scholars Initiative (ESI) is designed to develop a diverse group of early-career faculty and staff who can strengthen their own critical community-engaged scholarship and lead equity-focused change with their institution and communities.

The core activities for the program include retreats, online meetings and webinars, participation in conferences, a scholarly project of their choosing, contributing to the field, and individualized support through mentoring and coaching. The organizers recognize the differences of ESI participants’ position type and scholarly priorities. As a result, the ESI experience utilizes a participant-centered, constructivist approach that allows facilitators to adapt to individual and cohort needs and priorities.

Primary Goals

  • Deliver frameworks for critical analysis of the field and develop participants’ own practice to move towards liberatory praxis;
  • Develop and retain a diverse group of critical public scholars;
  • Deepen participants’ commitment and ability to be anti-racist and advance equity and full participation;
  • Advance scholarly objectives, including research, teaching and/or 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 and build networks of resilience;
  • Increasing the collectivist knowledge and skills of participants to challenge traditional higher education culture/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; and
  • 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.).


Campus Compact is partnering with Swarthmore College’s Lang Center for the inaugural national ESI cohort this year.

Brown University
Eastern Region, cohort 1

University of Kansas
Midwest Region, cohort 1

Michigan State University
Midwest Region, cohort 1

University of Minnesota
Midwest Region, cohort 1

University of Denver
Western Region, cohort 1

Previous Cohorts

Eastern Region 
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island
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Midwest Region 
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
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Western Region 
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Pacific Islands, Washington, Wyoming
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