Introduction to the Research University Engaged Scholarship Toolkit

May 11, 2009

(Back to overview)


Welcome to the fourth edition of the Research University Engaged Scholarship Toolkit! Your visit to this website reflects your interest in engaged scholarship. We invite you to investigate the materials identified and join us as we build a movement to advance community-engaged scholarship (also called public scholarship or community-based research) at research universities in the United States and beyond.

We plan to continue to develop the Toolkit over the next years as new resources and feedback are brought to our attention. Thus, we seek your input. Please forward your suggestions for resources on engaged scholarship appropriate for research university faculty and administrators that should be included in the Toolkit to Timothy Stanton ( with the reference and rationale for including it.

Project Evolution

This project grew out of the third annual gathering of research-intensive university representatives committed to advancing community engagement and community engaged scholarship in research universities. While the discussions at prior meetings of this group at Tufts University and UCLA included community engagement, e.g., involving students in service-learning, the third meeting at the University of North Carolina (February 2008) was devoted to community engaged scholarship. At that meeting, the group took the name, The Research University Community Engagement Network or TRUCEN. The first edition of the Toolkit was posted on this website in 2009.

Why an Engaged Scholarship Toolkit for Research Universities?

Research universities are unique. They produce most of the latest and cited research, prepare the next generation of college and university faculty, have extensive library and research facilities, serve as models for other higher education institutions, and are often referred to as the envy of the higher education world.

While their strength is research, generally speaking these universities have lagged behind other higher education institutions such as land-grant universities in organizing and systematizing partnerships with communities to ameliorate social ills. Nevertheless, research universities are in an admirable position to advance community engaged scholarship; indeed this may be their contribution to the community engagement movement with the greatest potential. But to do community-engaged research well requires new understanding, practice, and epistemology that is qualitatively different than that prioritized in traditional scholarship. To gain recognition and reward for community engaged scholarship at research universities requires new ways of documenting and evaluating this work. This Toolkit contains resources that address these matters.

Purposes of Toolkit

We have four purposes in developing this Toolkit:

  1. To add clarity to the meaning and conceptualization of community-engaged scholarship in a research university context
  2. To provide a rationale for why to do it and resources on how to do it well;
  3. To provide tools and assistance for faculty at research universities to document engaged scholarship for reward and promotion (i.e., how to get credit for it); and
  4. To provide tools and assistance for enabling the assessment of engaged scholarship (i.e., for faculty reward and promotion).

Toolkit Audience

This Toolkit has three audiences:

  1. Faculty looking to develop their knowledge, skills, and values related to engaged scholarship, as well as those curious about and considering pursuing engaged scholarship;
  2. Administrators looking to develop their knowledge and skills related to engaged scholarship and/or strengthen campus capacity to evaluate such work for reward, promotion, and tenure; and
  3. Graduate students looking to undertake professional pathways involving engaged scholarship.


What is Engaged Scholarship in a Research University Context?

In 1990, Ernest Boyer, then President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, wrote Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. In this influential book, he suggested broadening the view of scholarship from just discovery of knowledge to also include integration of knowledge, application of knowledge, and teaching. In his 1996 article in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Public Service and Outreach (now the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement), he coined the term “scholarship of engagement” to represent work across the four scholarship models that would involve engagement with communities for the benefit of communities. For Boyer, scholarship of engagement applied to the scholarship of discovery, integration, application, and teaching.

In developing this Toolkit, we have taken a narrower view of engaged scholarship that is relevant to research universities in particular, which value knowledge production (discovery, integration, and application) and dissemination. In this research university-specific view, engaged scholarship refers to faculty projects satisfying three criteria: (1) involves a community, (2) benefits a community, and (3) advances the faculty member’s scholarship. This narrower conceptualization fits with Boyer’s scholarships of discovery, integration, and application, but not with the scholarship of teaching, which may not address public or community issues or directly serve off-campus communities, and tends to be less valued in the faculty reward system in research universities. Similarly, while the larger engaged scholarship movement promotes community member review of faculty members’ engaged scholarship, the materials in this Toolkit do not yet include resources that address this aspect of community-university partnerships. We look forward to the day when there are research university examples and publications that analyze these community-sponsored contributions, which we can include. Therefore, the Toolkit’s materials are biased toward non-teaching scholarship (though many refer to teaching, too) and scholarship reviewed by faculty peers only.

Salient Values of Engaged Scholarship in a Research University Context

  1. Engaged scholarship includes discovery, application, and integration, but not teaching;
  2. Engaged scholarship is carried out with and in the community, and not just on the community;
  3. Genuine partnerships draw on assets of all parties;
  4. There is (indigenous) knowledge in the community that can be tapped to advance knowledge; and
  5. Only faculty peers are qualified to review engaged scholarship for faculty review and reward.

About the Contents

There are twenty sections to the toolkit:

  1. What is Engaged Scholarship?
  2. How Does Engaged Scholarship Compare with Traditional Scholarship?
  3. Why do Engaged Scholarship?
  4. How to do Engaged Scholarship Well
  5. How to do Community-University Partnerships Well
  6. Ethics in Community Engaged Research and Working with Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
  7. Development of Scholars and Practitioners of Community-Engaged Research
  8. Demonstrating Quality and Impacts of Engaged Scholarship
  9. Institutionalizing Engaged Scholarship
  10. Exemplars of Engaged Scholarship
  11. Rationales for Giving Engaged Scholarship Standing in Review, Promotion and Tenure (RPT) Processes
  12. Policies for Encouraging and Assessing Engaged Scholarship in RPT Processes
  13. Evaluation Criteria for Assessing Engaged Scholarship in RPT Processes
  14. Demonstrating Quality and Impacts of Engaged Scholarship (in RPT Processes)
  15. Tenure and Promotion Portfolio Exemplars
  16. Original Essays
  17. Journals that Focus on Engaged Scholarship
  18. Special Journal Issues Dedicated to Engaged Scholarship
  19. National and International Resources for Promoting and/or Carrying Out Community-Engaged Research in a Research University Context
  20. Annotated Bibliographies

Most of the annotations posted in the Toolkit have been drawn directly from article abstracts with only minor editing. In some cases for formatting purposes we did more major editing. In other cases we wrote original annotations. While we have tried to develop Toolkit sections that ease browsing and finding desired resources, this is a ‘work in process’ that evolves with each edition. We welcome feedback and ideas for further easing browsing and searching.

There has been an explosion in literature on community engaged scholarship this year, especially in those articles describing projects taking place around the United States and overseas. This is very good news. However, the result is that we no longer have the capacity to review and select publications to include in the “Exemplars” section of the Toolkit that meet even our “narrower view of engaged scholarship” described above. We therefore chose as a goal for this section to produce what we hope is a representative sample of project descriptions that will be of interest and use to a research university audience. We looked for articles that described projects with varied goals in varied institutional (academic and administrative) and geographic contacts, that worked with varied and/or unique demographic groups of students and/or community people.

About the Original Essays

Included in this toolkit are original essays written by leading scholars of engaged scholarship based mostly in research universities. These scholars were invited to address a topic of their own choosing related to this work in a research university context. These essays have been placed in the respective section most appropriate based on their content as well as in their own clustered section (section 12). Some resources are listed in multiple sections as appropriate.

About the Toolkit Developers

Timothy K. Stanton is Director of Stanford University’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to joining Overseas Studies Stanton served as Visiting Senior Fellow at Stanford’s John Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Prior to this post he founded and directed the Scholarly Concentration in Community Health and Public Service at Stanford’s School of Medicine. He helped found and served as Associate Director and Director of Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service from 1985-1999. Stanton provides research and planning assistance to The Research Universities Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN) as Engaged Scholar for Campus Compact. As Special Consultant for California Campus Compact he led a project focused on graduate studies and civic engagement. He has published numerous articles on service-learning and engaged scholarship, and a book, Service-Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on its Origins, Practice, and Future. With Jon Wagner (UC Davis) he recently authored Educating for Democratic Citizenship: Renewing the Civic Mission of Graduate and Professional Education at Research Universities.

Jeffrey P. Howard is the assistant director for faculty development at DePaul University’s Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies. Previously, he was the associate director for service-learning at the University of Michigan’s Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, where he was responsible for faculty development, publications, communications, and the Center’s service-learning portfolio of academic and co-curricular service-learning initiatives. He has taught, conducted research, and published work on academic service-learning for 33 years. He is the founder and editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, a peer-reviewed journal that recently expanded its purview from academic service-learning to engaged scholarship, with a circulation of about 1000, and co-editor (with Robert Rhoads, UCLA) of Academic Service-Learning: A Pedagogy of Action and Reflection, published by Jossey-Bass. He wrote the Service-Learning Course Design Workbook, underwritten by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which he has used for faculty development workshop at more than fifty colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Most recently he was part of the writing/editing team for “New Times Demand New Scholarship,” a publication deriving from The Research Universities and Community Engagement Network that seeks to advance research universities’ role in higher education civic engagement. He is a past recipient of the Michigan Campus Compact Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a member of Campus Compact’s Consulting Corps.

Bridget Connolly, graduated from Stanford University with an BA in International Relations and a minor in African Studies in 2011. During spring and summer of 2010 she participated in the Cape Town Overseas Studies Program and carried out a major community-based partnership research project investigating the impact of a social development fund on community cohesion in a Cape Town township. This past year she worked for Global Student Embassy (GSE), a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit, coordinating and leading service-learning exchanges to coastal Ecuador. Currently, Bridget is interested in returning to Cape Town to do participatory research with community members and organizations involved with the Emergency First Aid Responder (EFAR) System.

Lucy Litvak graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 2011, where she earned a B.A. in Human Biology with a concentration in Community Health. In 2010, she participated in the Stanford’s Overseas Studies Program in Cape Town, where she worked with Bridget Connolly to conduct a major community-based partnership research project. Their research investigated the impact of a social development fund on community cohesion in a Cape Town township. As part of another Stanford course, she partnered with a local non-profit to conduct an assessment of the school gardens in Redwood City, CA. This past year she worked for the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) as their Campus Organizer at Stanford. Starting in September 2013, Lucy will be working at the Union of Concerned Scientists as a Program and Outreach Associate.

Invitation to Contribute to the Toolkit

While we are confident that the materials contained in this toolkit will further visitors’ thinking about engaged scholarship, we are less confident that we haven’t missed important resources. If in reviewing the materials in this toolkit you discover an important reference oversight, please contact Timothy Stanton ( with the reference and rationale for including it as a resource.

How to Cite the Toolkit

Stanton, T., Connolly, B., Howard, J. & Litvak, L. (2013). Research university engaged scholarship toolkit; fourth edition. Boston: Campus Compact /initiatives/trucen/trucen-toolkit/.


This project would not have been possible without the support of Campus Compact, which has co-sponsored the eight past and ninth upcoming gatherings of TRUCEN representatives and has underwritten this Toolkit. In particular, we acknowledge the extraordinary leadership and vision of Maureen Curley, executive director, and Amanda Wittman, director of academic and strategic initiatives, without whose support this Toolkit would have remained a footnote in the 2008 TRUCEN meeting’s minutes. We also appreciate the TRUCEN member representatives who have contributed to the thinking represented in this Toolkit and graciously agreed to review the content. We appreciate as well the contributions of others in this field, who generously agreed to have their work included. Finally, we are grateful to the authors of the original essays contained in this toolkit, all of whom are engaged scholars par excellence on whose shoulders the rest of us stand.


(Back to overview)

  • update-img-new

    Get updates on what's new in the Campus Compact Network