Engaged Scholarship

Many SF State faculty are in the forefront of leading community engaged scholarship and we are rebuilding this page to reflect the many exemplary achievements, projects, and models that exist.  This page will also consist of guidelines and standards, support for RTP and building the WPAF, sample selection of leading journals that support community-engaged research across disciplines,  and ways to build cross-disciplinary intellectual community to support faculty work.  Please visit the Faculty & Staff Resources page for details about upcoming workshops and events; we’re striving to support faculty in developing both CSL courses and creating rigorous and high impact community-based research programs 

Discover the Impact of Service Learning

Over 25 years ago, Ernest L. Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the 1990s, published seminal work called “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate”; this was premiere paper on the state of American higher education and its recognition and reward system for faculty scholarship.  Key highlights from Boyer:

  • The professoriate should recognize that each dimension of faculty work harnesses true scholarship and that one area (e.g., teaching) is not superior to the other areas.
  • Scholarship is divided into four categories: 1) discovery, 2) application, 3) integration, and 4) teaching.  Each is purposefully labeled as their own scholarship. The genius in this taxonomy is the equal leveling of all four areas.
  • The "scholarship of engagement" is further identified as a separate category that crosses each of the other four. In 1996, Boyer elaborates on its meaning in the Journal of Public Service and Outreach.
  • The basis for engagement scholarship is that it focuses on addressing community-defined needs. Whereas academia tends to support the notion that knowledge is universal (and the more universal the better), engagement scholarship frequently focuses on the specific needs, the environment, constraints, and purposes of a given community.
  • It is local in respect to space (a particular community), time (an issue that is current), and method (which depends on local resources and opportunities). Because engagement scholarship is often concerned with issues defined by the community itself, it can be considered ordinary, not in the derogatory sense of being uninteresting, but rather as a customary occurrence in a community in need.
  • The product of engaged scholarship is often intended, both in action and expression, for an audience outside the world of academia.
At SF State's Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, our mission is to promote engaged scholarship that makes a real difference in the lives of the communities we serve. At first glance, this may seem like an everyday endeavor, promoting scholarship that is locally focused on contemporary problems that are ordinary and producing reports developed for a target audience of community partners. Quite the contrary!  This is the most exciting, meaningful, and cutting edge work that we have ever encountered! 
 
What we strive to do at ICCE:
  • We combine the knowledge processes of our great urban university, with the knowledge assets of our constituent communities, to bring about positive social change.
  • We accept that our work may be:
    • stressed with challenges, equal in complexity to anything occurring in more traditional forms of research;
    • inspired by innovations of tremendous creativity; and
    • result in knowledge that is profound and often life altering for scholars and community members, alike.
    • We embrace the power of community service learning in making a difference to the growth of our students and/or community-based participatory research. This occurs by discovering effective practices, such as addressing health disparities or encouraging social entrepreneurship.  
    • We hope our work can also help change the way businesses provide for the common good and contribute to making a difference through social and environmental justice.
Best of all, new approaches are gaining acceptance in an ever widening arena, placing engaged scholarship on the forefront of academic discovery, integration, and application. All of these approaches, and more, are within the purview of the Institute; if you any ideas that you’d like to explore, we would love to hear from you!