Community Engagement Resources
College and university leaders are seeking ways to align all of their institutions’ assets—financial, human capital, and academic expertise—with the particular needs of local residents in their communities. Here is a collection of resources to help.
By Karla Hignite
The following resources provide more about the role of anchor institutions and the potential for colleges and universities to transform their communities through civic and economic engagement partnerships. (See also "More Than Good Neighbors" in the May 2013 issue of Business Officer.)
From the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania
- Anchor Institutions Toolkit includes a timeline of growth and development for the University of Pennsylvania's movement into civic and community engagement activities. Includes a link to download the full "Anchor Institutions Toolkit: A Guide for Neighborhood Revitalization," prepared by the Netter Center, which leverages lessons from Penn's experience in West Philadelphia.
- The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads, by Rita Axelroth Hodges, assistant director at the Netter Center, and Steve Dubb, research director at the Democracy Collaborative of the University of Maryland, College Park (Michigan State University Press, 2012).
- "Change the World" highlights Netter Center initiatives aimed at solving problems of obesity and poor nutrition, literacy and low reading levels, and environmental and health hazards, and to assist struggling neighborhood schools through university-assisted community schools initiatives.
- "Democratic Devolution: How America's Colleges and Universities Can Strengthen Their Communities," by Ira Harkavy and Rita Axelroth Hodges (Progressive Policy Institute, 2012).
From Campus Compact
- Campus Compact is a national higher education association dedicated to campus-based civic engagement. The coalition promotes public and community service that develops students' citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact's membership includes public and private two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education. Two white papers of note include "Engaged Learning Economies: Aligning Civic Engagement and Economic Development in Community-Campus Partnerships," and "A Promising Connection: Increasing College Access and Success Through Civic Engagement."
- "Deepening the Roots of Civic Engagement" provides highlights of Campus Compact's 2011 membership survey.
- Campus Compact serves as the secretariat for The Research University Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN), which works to advance civic engagement and engaged scholarship among research universities and to create resources and models for use across higher education. Resources include a Research University Engagement Scholarship Toolkit.
- "The Community's College: Indicators of Engagement at Two-Year Institutions," based on the findings of a multiyear research project, profiles successful community engagement practices and programs at community colleges across the country. Designed to provide both two- and four-year institutions with specific guidance on creating an engaged campus, it explores institutional culture, organizational structures, enabling mechanisms, curricular issues, and partnering strategies as avenues to community and civic engagement. Also included is a comprehensive self-assessment tool to help campuses evaluate and deepen their engagement practices.
- "A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future," a report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement commissioned by the Department of Education and published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, calls on the nation to reclaim higher education's civic mission and pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training. Also available from AAC&U is the companion summary, "A Brief Review of the Evidence on Civic Learning in Higher Education."
- The Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities was created in 1996 by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities to help define the direction public universities should go in the future and to recommend an action agenda to speed the process of that change. A series of reports document the commission's findings. These include: "Executive Summaries of the Reports of the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities"; "Returning to Our Roots: The Engaged Institution"; "Renewing the Covenant: Learning, Discovery, and Engagement in a New Age and Different World"; and "Public Higher Education Reform Five Years After The Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities."
KARLA HIGNITE, Middletown, Rhode Island, is a contributing editor for Business Officer.