Cultivating Community-Engaged Faculty: The Institution’s Role In Individual Journeys

Eric Malm, Nicholas Rademacher, Mary Harris, David Dunbar, Caroline Nielsen, Erin McLaughlin


Campus-community partnerships are increasingly recognized as important parts of curricula and have become central to the missions of many colleges.  Yet campus-community partnerships don’t just happen.  They require planning, passion and many types of institutional support.  This paper examines how six faculty members from three disciplines at one liberal arts institution found their way into the world of campus-community partnership.  Their individual stories reveal the importance of an institutional environment that allowed individual faculty of diverse backgrounds and interests to pursue unique pathways to partnership work.  The stories also highlight a common process of exploration, testing and discovery that brought faculty members into the partnership world.  A key finding is that the institution played a critical role in providing motivating experiences, support and recognition that allowed individual faculty to find their own personal pathways to partnership work.  The institution created a space that was specific enough to reflect the college’s mission, yet flexible and welcoming enough to allow faculty and students of all disciplines to pursue their individual interests. Without such a space, it is unlikely that many of the faculty in the study would have undertaken work developing community partnerships.

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