UrbanCORE’s Faculty & Student Engagement function works alongside faculty and students who seek to practice engaged scholarship with community partners to enhance learning and achieve social impact. We accomplish this by focusing on three core objectives:
- Faculty support: Producing impactful research and relevant courses in collaboration with community partners.
- Student purpose: Helping students align learning with real-world experiences to pursue their academic, civic and career aspirations.
- Community impact and assessment: Managing accountability systems that ensure University’s responsibility for its community engagement goals.
✔ We are conducting a case study on the Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure (RPT) practices of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) related to engaged scholarship. About five years ago, CLAS became the first college on campus to integrate engaged scholarship language into its tenure and promotion guidelines. Today, as other colleges and various departments consider similar guidelines, we have launched a study that will analyze CLAS’ RPT data as well as faculty perceptions of support for community-engaged scholarship. The results will allow faculty and administrators to highlight and enhance successes and strategically address challenges. If you’re interested in being part of the case study, contact Dr. Ryan Kilmer.
✔ We regularly host engaged scholarship workshops and trainings to assist faculty and administrators with strategic planning, research development and course creation. This spring semester we held two such sessions: One was devoted to helping faculty navigate new guidelines for registering their classes with a service-learning designation. The other was designed to assist department chairs and faculty leaders as they develop goals for their colleges’ strategic plans, which are due this semester. Our biennial Engaged Scholarship Symposium provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to engage their peers in conversations about best practices in partnership development and co-production of knowledge. The 2021 symposium examined four critical areas requiring greater intentionality in the university’s quest to achieve preeminence in community-engaged scholarship: curriculum, partnerships, research and merit.
✔ Our office has facilitated development of updated service-learning guidelines that more deliberately reflect best practices of critical service-learning. The process for registering courses for service-learning designation also has been simplified, with the hopes that more faculty whose courses are aligned to community engagement and social impact will register for the designation. This will assist students as they navigate their engaged scholarship experiences and improve our capacity to measure and advocate for the teaching aspect of engaged scholarship.
✔ We have contracted with Portfolium to develop a Community Engagement Pathway and Student e-Portfolio System that will allow undergraduate students to chronicle and navigate their various curricular, co-curricular, experiential learning and student-led experiences. The system will incentivize students to move along a continuum of increasingly beneficial engagement activities, from volunteering to research and internships. Administrators from academic affairs, student affairs, athletics, career services and other areas that connect students to engagement opportunities are assisting in establishing the system, as well as students who are advising on its design. We expect to test a prototype for the e-portfolio system with 1,500 students this fall.
✔ We have begun coordinating several efforts on campus that actively engage students in community activities into a Student, Civic and Community Engagement Opportunities to build greater collaboration, better support engaged scholarship experiences, and more effectively advocate for this work. Current program participants include: the Bonner Leaders Program, ARCHES’ Community Action Research Scholars, Levine Scholars, Civic Minor for Urban Youth and Community, Certificate for Civic Responsibility and Community Engagement, Charlotte Action Research Project, University Honors Program, LEADS program, Ventureprise, Career Services, Activate! Social Justice Institute, 49er Democracy, Read Charlotte tutors, Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Scholars, SERVE Team, Athletics, Student Organizations with a public service focus and Greek organizations.