The Community Engagement Professional in Higher Education: A Competency Model for an Emerging Field

January 9, 2018

This book, offered by “practitioner-scholars,” is an exploration and identification of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are central to supporting effective community engagement practices between higher education and communities. The discussion and review of these core competencies are framed within a broader context of the changing landscape of institutional community engagement and the emergence of the Community Engagement Professional as a facilitator of engaged teaching, research, and institutional partnerships distinct from other academic professionals.

This research, conducted as part of Campus Compact’s Project on the Community Engagement Professional, seeks to identify the shared knowledge and practices of Community Engagement Professionals by looking to empirical practice literature. Chapters include an exploration of competencies applicable to those in Community Engagement Professional roles generally, and also to those specializing in specific areas such as faculty development, partnership facilitation, and other areas of responsibility. The authors trace the evolution of engagement administration over time and the role of those facilitating community-campus engagement toward a “Second Generation” professional who is at once a “tempered radical, transformational leader, and social entrepreneur.”

Central to the work is a presentation of the core competency findings, along with suggestions for continued exploration. Dostilio and her colleagues argue that Community Engagement Professionals should claim a professional identity grounded in a set of core competencies, values, and knowledge, and through association with a community of scholar practitioners similarly dedicated. Additional work to understand and empower Community Engagement Professionals in their role as distinct from other higher education professional types will enable both broader impact for institutions and communities now with a view to prepare those coming to the role for a dynamic and demanding environment without distinct boundaries. 

Accompanying Discussion Questions

In 2017, a community of practice gathered to read and discuss “The Community Engagement Professional in Higher Education.”  The co-facilitators of the group devised a list of questions to accompany the reading and facilitate generative discussion.

Table of Contents:


  1. An Explanation of Community Engagement Professionals as Professionals and Leaders—L.D. Dostilio and L. G. Perry
  2. Planning a Path Forward: Identifying the Knowledge, Skill, and Dispositions of Second Generation Community Engagement Professionals—L.D. Dostilio
  3. Critical Perspectives and Commitments Deserving Attention from Community Engagement Professionals—K. Hernandez and K. Pasquesi
  4. Program Administration and Evaluation—A. Farmer-Hansen
  5. Envisioning, Leading, and Enacting Institutional Change for the Public Good: The Role of Community Engagement Professionals—R. Hübler and M. Quan
  6. Attributes of Community Engagement Professionals Seeking to Institutionalize Community-Campus Engagement—L. Weaver and T. Kellogg
  7. Supporting Student Civic Learning and Development—J. Benenson, K. M. Hemer, and K. Trebil
  8. High Quality Community-Campus Partnerships: Approaches and Competencies—L. Martin & S. Crossland
  9. Competencies Community Engagement Professionals Need for Faculty Development—J. S. Chamberlin and J. Phelps-Hillen

About the Editor and Contributors

Edited by Lina D. Dostilio

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