Community-Engaged Research (CER) Course Development Cohort

The CCE aims to support the capacity of faculty to integrate community-engaged research and applied public problem solving pedagogies into the classroom. We focus on this approach to community-engaged learning as a particularly good fit for our condensed, immersive course format. While it is difficult to effect meaningful change in 3.5 weeks through traditional service-learning, we can work toward community impact through projects that bring the knowledge of the campus to bear on public, real-world issues, challenges, and problems.

Toward this goal, we have secured course development funds to support four faculty members in (a) co-developing community-engaged research course projects this spring (2020) and (b) forming a cohort-based blockly learning circle this spring to enhance understanding of the pedagogy.

How it works:

Participants will:

  1. Co-create a community-engaged research project for a course in the spring, with intellectual and practitioner support from the CCE. Ideally, projects will be in collaboration with High Impact Partners and work toward community-identified needs.
  2. Receive logistical support from a CCE student worker to help implement the project.
  3. Join a supportive cohort of four faculty in the spring to learn more about CER and how to use this method in the classroom for student learning.
  4. Meet blockly (~1.5 hours) to discuss excerpts from Community-Based Participatory Research by Karen Hacker, as well as Community-Based Research: Teaching for Community Impact, edited by Mary Beckman and Joyce Long. We will discuss readings in the context of the engaged research projects faculty will integrate into their courses.
  5. Receive a $1,000 stipend in recognition of your investment in this course development process.
  6. At the end of the course, submit a brief write-up of the project to share as an example with other faculty and include in the CCE engaged learning course library.

More on Community-Engaged Research

In broad terms, community-engaged research is research that invests the pursuit of knowledge in the public good. While there are a number of definitions and forms of community-engaged research, some core defining characteristics include:

  1. Researchers use a collaborative approach in which non-academic communities or organizations are equitable thought partners and in some cases co-researchers. Research is conducted with, rather than on, the community. Ideally, communities most impacted by an issue identify the needs or questions addressed by the research project.
  2. Community-engaged research aims to integrate knowledge and action. This means both directing learning and inquiry to actionable knowledge -- that which can lead to desired social change -- and disseminating research findings in ways that aim to mobilize or inform collective action.

Course Example:

As an example of what these courses might look like, I offer a course that I worked with last spring. An organization named Peak Partnership, which aims to increase civic participation through organizing broad support for and engagement in ballot initiatives, approached the CCE to share more about their goal of running a campaign to increase city council pay beyond the measly $6,200 annual salary - prohibitive for all but the independently wealthy. The organization had just conducted a survey to better understand residents' attitudes about city council pay, information that will inform their upcoming campaign, and asked if I could help them find students to help analyze the data. The CCE connected this project to Dana Wolfe's Political Science research methods course, who adopted this as an engaged project for the class. Students analyzed the data and shared their analysis back with the organization, toward the end of informing the campaign. This sort of project - fusing inquiry and action, community-driven, and clearly aligned with the learning goals of the class - is the type of class we hope to support.

Cohort Participants

Please welcome our cohort for Spring 2020:

Kat Miller-Stevens (Economics and Business): Nonprofit Management
Jean Lee (Environmental Studies): Environment and Society
Lynne Gratz (Environmental Studies): Energy - Thermodynamics and Energetics
Elizabeth Coggins and Dana Wolfe (Political Science): Political Research & Analysis
Flavia Sancier-Barbosa (Math & Computer Science): Probability and Statistical Modeling
Mike Angstadt and Rebecca Barnes (Environmental Studies): Environmental Synthesis

Report an issue - Last updated: 08/10/2022