Aggies Do: Becoming an Engaged Partner (Scholarship of Engagement)

“The academy must become a more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems.” Ernest L. Boyer Ph.D.

Becoming an engaged university works across teaching, research, and outreach/Extension and offers value to and strengthens all participants. Consider:

University Building

  • Disseminate work to a broader audience.
  • Address community problems and needs.
  • Advise on product development or process improvements.
  • Focus on more practical work.
  • Develop and learn new tools.
  • Strengthen community relationships.
  • Create student practical experiences.
  • Attract new and unforeseen opportunities and resources.
  • Think differently about the community.
  • Become a community partner.

An engaged university allows faculty, staff and students to become involved in improving their communities through formal and informal processes. For many, determining how to become involved and move along the spectrum from informing to empowering can be difficult. Consider these examples: 

If you share information using any number of channels and only ask the public to listen, this INFORMS

If you want feedback on a specific issue from the public and use this information to continue your work, this is CONSULTATION

If you accept the information the public provides and confer with them as you plan future work, this is INVOLVMENT

If you partner with the public or a group or entity and share decision-making responsibility, this is COLLABORATION

And if you are a part of making a change in a community, whether it’s an economic or environmental improvement or a change in health status or educational attainment, this is EMPOWERMENT

Conduct community presentations.
Develop fact sheets, brochures, etc.
Open campus events to general public.
Share research findings. 
Conduct feasibility studies requesting community/stakeholder feedback.
Serve as a regional and national resource.
Organize seminars, workshops, etc. around specific topics/issues and ask community to attend and participate.
Consult with the public and private sector.
Conduct needs assessment to identify opportunities for future collaboration. 
Work with external stakeholders on research.
Collaborate with community to improve the neighborhood.
Create maker space and make it available to community.
Launch mobile operation centers.
Create applied service-learning projects, internships and student learning labs and incubators/hatcheries.
Routinely involve community in program planning and development.
Invite community members to join advisory boards.
Use research-based information to co-design, evaluate and modify programs to assist with solving community issues and concerns.
Conduct research with communities based on mutually agreed upon problems, goals and methods.
Co-teach with industry and community partners.
Partner with industry/ businesses to develop and use innovative applications to address community needs.
Become a catalyst for industry and technology research community.
Design and implement research programs for K-12 teachers during the summer to provide first-hand experience with cutting-edge research and modern technologies.
Initiate commercialized research for the national economy.
Work with community members that build capacity and increase economic stability, growth and social environments.
Develop centers, institutes and other facilities and programs based on community needs to address social, civic, economic and moral problems.
Assist community with determining how to spend public dollars as part of participatory budgeting.
Develop educational partnerships (K-12 academy).
Develop viable renewable energy sources with industry partners by using the basic science and technology that will make energy conversions more efficient and costs more affordable.
Develop and collaborate on opportunities for commercial development and research to improve the community's social capital, economic viability and civic engagement.


These are various degrees of involvement, and all these are necessary. You will find that projects move back and forth along the model depending on the goals and objectives. The desire is to do as Boyer asked, “…become a more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems.”