Community Engaged Scholarship Report

Report of the ad hoc Faculty Committee on community engaged scholarship for the Provost of the University of Pennsylvania

Dennis Deturck, Professor of Mathematics, Lori Flanagan-Cato, Associate Professor, Psychology, Matt Hartley (Chair) Professor of Education, John Jackson, Walter H. Annenberg Dean, Terri Lipman, Professor of Nursing, John Puckett, Professor Emeritus of Education

As described by the committee:

The purpose of this report is to offer a definition of community engaged scholarship at (and for) Penn.... At its heart, community engaged scholarship entails connecting scholarly expertise with the expertise of community members outside the university in order to resolve issues and challenges facing that community. A central feature of this work is that it is predicated on mutually beneficial partnerships—both the university and the community partners benefit. 

The report also seeks to describe how this concept aligns with Penn’s system of faculty review.... 

Our hope is that this report will help colleagues see the ways in which community engaged scholarship aligns with the aims of scholarship and the development of new knowledge. We also hope it will lead to more expansive thinking about the kinds of scholarly work we value and encourage as an institution....

Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses bring together faculty, students and members of the community to tackle real-world problems by bringing together academic expertise and the expertise of the community. Partners jointly define the desired outcomes. Such pedagogical experienceshelp students see the relationship between theory and practice. They are effective means of conveying academic knowledge—showing how disciplinary learning illuminates the world around us. ABCS courses often involve a combination of teaching, learning and research and are a powerful way of creating new knowledge. A number of these efforts have developed into major research projects that have not only helped address a pressing real-world problem but made significant contributions to an academic discipline and to our knowledge of the world.