Tisch College and Campus Compact, a national coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education, launched the Research University Civic Engagement Network in 2005 to advance civic and community engagement through scholarship and related activities.
The Network also seeks to generate models of engagement for research universities and other institutions of higher education.
As of 2008, the Network includes more than 20 members, including several of the country’s most prestigious universities.
Since its founding, the Network has generated two reports:
- New Times Demand New Scholarship: Research Universities and Civic Engagement — A Leadership Agenda
Albert Carnesale, former chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, a founding member of the Network, noted, “The essence of a research university is not solely its three-part mission of education, research and service, but also the fact that each faculty member and student is expected to be engaged in all three in an integrated way. Community engagement is an ideal mechanism for fulfilling that distinctive and essential mission.”
Progress through Early 2008
Following a meeting of the Network in February 2008, Tisch College Dean Rob Hollister reported, “Over the past year there has been dramatic progress in the civic engagement efforts of the nation’s primary research universities.” This progress includes:
- Institutional commitment by university presidents and provosts to the idea and goals of civic engagement in research, curricula, and community service.
- Creation of new, high level university-wide positions to coordinate civic engagement activities.
- Major gifts to support civic engagement activities, including those made to Duke University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of Pennsylvania.
- Expansion of faculty rewards and incentives, including continuing efforts by the University of Minnesota, the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University, and Arizona State University to recognize engaged scholarship in their tenure and promotion policies.
Engaged Scholarship Defined
Drawing on the work of Barbara A. Holland, Senior Scholar at Indiana University-Purdue University, the Network agrees that engaged scholarship:
- Is collaborative and participatory
- Draws on many sources of distributed knowledge
- Is based on partnerships
- Is shaped by multiple perspectives and expectations
- Deals with difficult and evolving questions—complex issues that may shift constantly
- Is long term, both effort and impact, often with episodic bursts of progress
- Requires diverse strategies and approaches
- Crosses disciplinary lines—a challenge for institutions organized around disciplines
Research University Civic Engagement Network Members
In addition to Tufts University and Campus Compact, members include: Arizona State, Brown, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, Michigan State, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley , UCLA, University of North Carolina, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Vanderbilt University.
Originally published October 2006