Community Engagement

Community engagement is one of the most important ways Loyola pursues its Jesuit mission to form men and women with and for others, educate the whole student, and benefit the larger community.

Loyola's approach to community engagement is highly invitational. The university encourages faculty, staff, and students to incorporate community engagement into all aspects of their work -- including not only teaching and learning, but also scholarly and creative activity as well as service and outreach -- through the avenues they believe can generate the greatest impact.

Loyola New Orleans uses the Carnegie Foundation's definition for Community Engagement: Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

Community Engagement and Faculty Activity

Community engagement is an overarching commitment that can inform and enrich all three categories of faculty activity: service, research, and teaching.  Faculty members who embody the ideal of community engagement integrate it into their teaching and their research/scholarly/creative activities as well as those activities traditionally categorized as "service."

Community Engagement

Community engaged scholarship includes discovering, applying or synthesizing knowledge, skills or ideas in ways that shed light on social, civic or ethical problems or contribute to the well-being of communities and individuals.  Generally, scholarly activities categorized as "community engaged" must not only meet the scholarly standards of particular disciplines but also involve groups or organizations outside the university as partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries.  Community partners collaborate with engaged scholars by helping define the goals, scope and methods of a particular research or creative project. Read more about community engaged scholarship and research here

Community engaged teaching includes service learning and other forms of problem-based, active and experiential learning.  Community engaged teaching aims to help students acquire, use, or apply knowledge, ideas and skills in ways that shed light on social, civic or ethical problems or contribute to the well-being of communities and individuals.   Community engaged teaching also involves groups and organizations outside the university as partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Community engaged service includes personal or professional outreach or involvement, especially when it takes place in partnership with groups and organizations outside the university and harnesses a faculty member's skills or expertise to contribute to the well-being of communities and individuals.

Example #1

Dr. Patricia Dorn's research on the epidemiology and control of the parasite which causes Chagas disease involves extensive collaboration with laboratories and universities in Central America and Mexico.  It has resulted in several successful parasite control projects in Guatemalan villages led by faculty and student researchers and volunteers.  It has also resulted in extensive published research and thriving international partnerships.

Example #2

Dr. Erin Dupuis' collaborative faculty-student research on computer literacy as a variable in self-efficacy among homeless men led to a grant to establish a permanent computer lab at Ozanam Inn, the largest all-male homeless shelter in New Orleans.  Loyola service learning students from Dr. Dupuis' courses (as well as other courses) sustain the lab by tutoring the Inn's clients in computer skills.  This research led to a published paper and a refereed conference presentation.

Community Engagement in Tenure and Promotion

The following is language borrowed from from University of Massachusetts Boston, “Advancing the Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Massachusetts Boston: A Report of the Working Group for an Urban Research-Based Action Initiative” 2014, in Appendix A: Proposed Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion. These defintions and examples may be helpful as communty engagement is included in the tenure and promotion review process. 


Community Engaged Scholarship

Community engaged research and creative activity results from a partnership between faculty member(s) and community groups or members, broadly conceived. Scholarship is community engaged when it involves reciprocal partnerships and addresses public purposes. It also meets the standards of scholarship when it involves inquiry, advances knowledge, and is open to review and critique by relevant scholar and community and professional peers. Scholarship is community engaged when faculty, students, community-based organizations, government agencies, policy makers, and/or other actors work together to identify areas of inquiry, design studies and/or creative activities, implement and evaluate activities that contribute to shared learning and capacity building, disseminate findings and make recommendations or develop initiatives for change. The findings of community-engaged scholarship can be published in academic venues like peer-reviewed journals and university press books. However, this kind of scholarship often produces other kind of products, including but not limited to published reports, exhibits and multimedia forms of presentation, installations, clinical and other service procedures, programs and events, court briefings and legislation.

Community Engagement in Teaching

Community Engaged Teaching can take a number of possible forms, including service learning within campus-based courses, on-site courses, clinical experiences, community-based internships, professional internships, and collaborative courses.  These community learning experiences for students typically occur locally but could also be part of international study abroad or service projects. In addition, community engaged teaching can take the form of instruction to community members or other constituencies. Since community engagement involves a reciprocal partnership between the university and the community, the impact of this teaching should normally include enhanced student learning as well as contribute to community partner objectives. Another potential outcome of community engaged teaching is the preparation of educated and engaged citizens and the enhancement of democratic values and social responsibility among students.

Community Engagement in Service

Contributions to service typically include service to the profession, service to the university and its various components (department and college), and service to the community or public. Community engagement should normally be considered as one way of contributing to community or public service. While a faculty member can provide community service via individual action (e.g., publishing an op-¬ed piece, testifying to a legislative body), engagement implies a reciprocal partnership. In this case, a faculty member’s contribution comes through collaborative efforts with other community and civic actors. Impact can include enhancing community capacity, contributing to new public policies and services, creating innovative products and developmental initiatives, and improving the lives of community residents. If appropriate, relevant and knowledgeable experts including community professionals or members can be asked for letters of support that speak to the quality and impact of a faculty member’s community engagement efforts.

CE in Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion for University of Massachusetts Boston

Community Engaged Scholarship

Normally, the overall set of evaluators for the review of faculty scholarship would consist mainly of other faculty; but relevant experts uniquely capable of evaluating community engaged scholarship should be included. As is usual in soliciting external evaluators, letters should not be solicited from someone with whom a faculty member has collaborated, including community experts. Instead, personnel committees can ask the faculty member’s community partners to submit letters of support, which may document the nature of the community engagement and the contribution it has made, from the partner’s point of view.

Community Engagement in Teaching

A variety of evidence can be supplied to demonstrate the quality and impact of community engaged teaching, including course syllabi and other instructional material and student evaluations. Community partners and other knowledgeable experts can be asked for letters of support that speak to the faculty member’s contribution to community objectives and, if appropriate, to student learning.

Community Engagement in Service

One general consideration for faculty who practice community engagement in any of the three areas is the time and energy it takes to build partnerships with community actors and develop joint projects. Appropriate credit needs to be awarded to the development of successful partnerships. Principles of successful partnerships include reciprocity, mutual respect, and recognition of expertise on all sides. Community experts can be appropriate evaluators of the quality and impact of faculty’s engagement with community partners along these are other appropriate dimensions.


The guidebook linked here is also a helpful resource for those including community engegement in the tenure and promotion process. 

The full citation for this source follows: 

Jordan, C. ( Editor). Community-Engaged Scholarship Review, Promotion & Tenure Package. Peer Review Workgroup, Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health Collaborative Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, 2007.