Calling all community engagement professionals: What trends should we be tracking?  

Calling all community engagement professionals: Contribute your insights to shape a comprehensive survey, addressing the evolving landscape of higher education community engagement infrastructure, led by Campus Compact Field Data Fellow, Sinda Nichols.

Most survey instruments in higher education community engagement focus on student learning, faculty teaching and scholarship, and community partnerships. However, researchers and practitioners also need data on campus community and civic engagement infrastructure. How else can we accurately understand the rapidly changing landscape of this work?

As the Campus Compact field data fellow, I am consulting with Compact staff to design a survey to collect this data type. I want to be sure we’re hearing from a wide range of staff and faculty at different institutions to make our survey valuable and relevant across the board. This winter, I’ll be seeking input from campus representatives on the design of the survey, including: 

  • What information should this survey capture? 

  • How has community engagement been changing on your campus, and what questions should we ask to document those changes?

  • How do you describe how community engagement is structured and supported on your campus? Is it distributed, jointly managed, or centralized -- or would you call it something else? 

If you’re willing to contribute to this process, there are three ways to do so: 

  • Let’s have a conversation: Schedule a time to Zoom that works for you.

  • Write your thoughts: Respond to this form, which is open through April 12, 2024. 

  • Be part of a focus group: I’ll be hosting a roundtable session at the Compact 24 conference in Denver this April called “Calling all community engagement professionals: What trends should we be tracking?” on Tuesday, April 9 at 11:30 am. 

As a background for this process, I reviewed the landscape of existing data collection tools throughout the fall of 2023. The need for this new data collection tool became clear through that process. There are a couple of instruments that collect data about community engagement infrastructure. Still, they don’t give us a complete picture because the data set is small, community and technical colleges are underrepresented, or the data is narrative rather than quantitative and, therefore, hard to distill into patterns or trends.

With this in mind, the new Compact survey will reach a broad swath of campuses. Please consider helping us accomplish this by contributing your input. 

  • Sinda Nichols, Director, Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Carleton College; Campus Compact Field Data Fellow 2023-24