The Ginsberg Center consults regularly with U-M faculty, instructors, staff, and graduate students who are designing new, or refining existing, community-engaged courses or research. Our consultations offer best practices for community engagement, informed not only by the growing field of community-engaged scholarship but also by suggestions from numerous conversations with our community partners.
In response to the Covid-19 Crisis, we are offering virtual consultations, workshops, and Community of Practice gatherings. In addition, we have compiled ideas and resources to adapt your community-engaged course for virtual instruction.
What is community-engaged scholarship?
The Ginsberg Center uses the term community-engaged scholarship to describe any scholarly endeavor -- courses, research, service, or other learning experiences -- that puts community-defined needs at its center. Community-engaged scholarship describes a hands-on experience within a community that has several key components:
- Addresses societal needs not currently being fully met by other sectors
- Produces reciprocal benefits for community partners, campus partners, and students
- Intentionally integrates community-based needs and academic learning objectives
- Prepares students for engagement and promotes ongoing reflection and/or critical analysis
- Interrogates structures of inequality and questions the distribution of power
- Supports the development of a lifelong commitment to civic engagement
Community partners are active participants in the process of identifying needs and developing appropriate interventions and projects to address these needs. Faculty, staff, and, students work in collaboration with community partners to consider the impact on communities before, during, and after community engagement.
Why should you implement community-engaged scholarship?
Community-engaged scholarship is a high impact practice. Evidence shows that participation in these activities has the greatest positive impact on students' academic success, graduation rates, personal and interpersonal development, and other measures of learning (NSSE 2008).
High impact practices induce student behaviors that lead to meaningful learning outcomes (Kuh 2008):
- Investing time and effort
- Interacting with faculty and peers about substantive matters
- Experiencing diversity
- Responding to more frequent feedback
- Reflecting and integrating learning
- Discovering relevance of learning through real-world applications
Community-engaged scholarship engages faculty, staff, students, and community partners in broader civic and social engagement efforts, promoting a lifelong commitment to civic engagement.
Further Reading: Fitzgerald, H. E., Bruns, K., Sonka, S. T., & Furco, A. (2012). The Centrality of Engagement in Higher Education. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(3), 7–27.
What are examples at the University of Michigan?
We have gathered examples from across the University that show how your peers are supporting UM's mission of serving the public good while advancing their scholarship and supporting student learning. You can browse a range of collborations, courses, research projects, student partnerships, and other projects designed to share expertise.
The FAQs below highlight key ideas and additional resources for your community-engaged efforts.
How can I...
Support students and community partners during the Covid-19 Crisis?
Per Governor Whitmer’s executive orders, we are all encouraged to minimize contact with others. One of the exceptions is to volunteer with groups that are helping provide food, shelter and other necessities during the crisis. The majority of tasks can be done while social distancing and there are numerous ways to offer remote support for those who cannot offer direct support but still wish to help. Any community support provided is strictly voluntary, and direct community service should only be done by those who are fit and well with no symptoms. We want to emphasize that your safety is a priority.
- Register any in-person engaged learning activity that takes place off campus and within the United States through the Student Registration for Engaged Learning Activity form (view instructions and preview the form here).
- Register travel in the U-M Travel Registry, if there is a travel component.
- Students may not use U-M funding for non-essential travel, given the suspension of domestic travel.
Please review and share with your students the Wolverine Culture of Community Care Pledge + Toolkit
Design my course to allow both university and community partners to get what they want and need?
- Exchange information with community partners about goals, desired outcomes, students’ learning, and capacity.
- Be conscious of not promising more than you can deliver.
- Agree on expectations between yourself, partner(s) and students, including communication preferences and how conflicts will be resolved.
- Provide structured support for students before they work with community partners to develop required skills to minimize potential harm to communities.
- Proactively discuss how community partners would prefer to be recognized and compensated for their time and cooperation.
- To learn more, review our digital resource, “Best Practices for Community-Engaged Teaching”
- For online or hybrid courses, we offer additional considerations here, which includes our Best Practices for Online Community-Engaged Teaching.
- We would be glad to support your course design process. You can request a consultation by completing our Support Request Form or contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Promote my students' civic and democratic engagement?
The current crises facing our communities and country highlights the critical necessity for having all of our interests represented by elected officials and governing bodies.
- Share the Pathways to Civic Engagement with your students and encourage them to explore multiple pathways in and our of your course. This complementary resource also offers academic partners specific strategies to support students' civic learning through each Pathway.
- In anticipation of the upcoming election, we have compiled simple ways to support your students' civic engagement.
- We also offer tools and strategies for integrating civic engagement into your courses, with support from our campus and national civic partner, to support students’ full engagement in civic life.
Assess student learning?
- Add these 5 course evaluation questions to your end-of-semester evaluations.
- Explore assessment tools for different engaged learning goals such as:
- Intercultural Engagement
- Civic Responsibility
- Ginsberg Center staff can work with you to integrate or adapt these tools for your courses. Request a consultation with a staff member by filling out our Support Request Form or contacting us at email@example.com.
Get the word out to students about my community-engaged course?
- We can share your upcoming community-engaged course on our website and biweekly student newsletter that reaches thousands of students.
- To list your course, please fill out this form.
[ONGOING SUPPORT AND RESOURCES]
Get support and feedback on my community-engaged teaching, research, or program?
- Attend one of our upcoming workshops or Community of Practice gatherings.
- Request a one-on-one consultation with a Ginsberg Center staff member,
Reference current research to inform my teaching and research?
- Explore the selected bibliography from our journal, MJCSL.
- Some additional references to get you started:
- Howe, C. W., Coleman, K., Hamshaw, K., & Westdijk, K. (2014). Student Development and Service-Learning: A Three-Phased Model for Course Design. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 2(1), pp. 44-62.
- Jacoby, B. (2014). Service-learning essentials questions, answers, and lessons learned. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Mitchell, T. D. (2008). Traditional vs. critical service-learning: engaging the literature to differentiate two models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14(2), 50-65.