30logo Community Engaged Research

Community Engaged Research takes many forms. At the University of Utah, it may include any of the following:

Community Based Research

This is a “collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings.” Ideas for research can come from the community or can be co-created. See this partial list of resources:

Community Based Participatory Research (aka Participatory Action Research)

This form of research includes the elements of Community Based Research, but also involves the community to a greater extent. The community is involved in the designing of research and is trained as a researcher in the process.

Practice Based Research

Practice Based Research can also be referred to as applied research and evidence based research. It is designed to benefit the consumer and the community. Practice Based Research involves the dissemination and utilization of the research to a public audience rather than use by academics alone.

Curricular Research

Curricular Research is research on the pedagogy of service-learning or other forms of engaged teaching. Below are some examples, in chronological order. Authors in bold are/were affiliated with the University of Utah.

  • Melissa Hall, “Exploring Community Partners’ Perceptions, Motivations and Shaping of Service-Learning” (Ph.D. diss., The University of Utah, 2015), is a qualitative study that explores how community partners characterize service-learning collaborations, and to what extent community partners wish to be involved in the development, maintenance, and evaluation of these collaborations. Her research participants include staff from three higher education college service centers and their community partners.
  • Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steve Dubb, The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012).
  • Beth Krensky and Seana Lowe Steffen, "Arts-Based Service Learning: A State of the Field," Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association (July 2008): 13-18.

  • Kevin Kecskes, "Creating Community-engaged Departments: Self-assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Community Engagement in Academic Departments," (2008).

  • Pamela Taylor and Christine Ballengee-Morris, "Service-Learning: A Language of 'We,'" Art Education 57, no. 5 (September 2004): 6-12.

Research Resources

NSEE is a nonprofit membership association of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide. It supports the use of learning through experience for: intellectual development; cross-cultural and global awareness; civic and social responsibility; ethical development; career exploration; personal growth.

Annual conferences are held in the fall.

Established in 1997, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions. CCPH views health broadly as physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being and emphasizes partnership approaches to health that focus on changing the conditions and environments in which people live, work, study, pray and play.

By mobilizing knowledge, providing training and technical assistance, conducting research, building coalitions and advocating for supportive policies, CCPH helps to ensure that the reality of community engagement and partnership matches the rhetoric.

Annual conferences are held in the spring.

IARSLCE is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting research and discussion about service-learning and community engagement internationally and across all levels of the education system.

Annual conferences are held in the fall.

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U organizes its work around four broad goals:

LEAP: Liberal Education as a Global Necessity

Quality: 21st Century Markers for the Value of US Degrees

Equity: Innovation, Inclusive Excellence, and Student Success

Social Responsibility: Integrative Liberal Learning for the Global Commons

AAC&U sponsors a variety of continuing programs, including meetings, workshops, and summer institutes.

The mission of the Council on Undergraduate Research is to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

CUR sponsors a variety of annual and biennial events.

The Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit educational organization, is composed of higher education member institutions, a mix of state-public and private institutions. The goal is to work collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship, and designed to help build community capacity.

The annual conference is held in the fall.

For more than 30 years, the National Youth Leadership Council has transformed classrooms, empowered teachers, and captivated students by leading the way in providing high-quality, dynamic service-learning content to school districts, classrooms, out-of-school youth programs, and everything in between.

The National Service Learning Conference is held in the spring.

Publication Opportunities for Service Learning and Community-based Research

The MJCSL is a national, peer-reviewed journal for college and university faculty and administrators, with an editorial board of faculty from many academic disciplines and professional fields at the University of Michigan and other U.S. higher education institutions.

Since 1994, the Michigan Journal has endeavored to publish the highest quality research, theory, and pedagogy articles related to higher education academic service-learning.

With Volume 15 (2008-09), the Michigan Journal expanded its purview to include not only articles about academic service-learning, but also about campus-community partnerships and faculty engaged scholarship. This expansion is commensurate with the expansion of the higher education civic engagement movement.

MJCSL goals include: growing the community and deepening the practice of service-learning educators, campus-community partnership practitioners, and community-engaged scholars; sustaining and developing the intellectual vigor of those in this community; encouraging scholarship related to community-engagement; and contributing to the academic/scholarly legitimacy of this work.

Contributing authors represent a wide range of academic disciplines and professions.

The mission of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (JHEOE) is to serve as the premier peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities.

This includes highlighting innovative endeavors; critically examining emerging issues, trends, challenges, and opportunities; and reporting on studies of impact in the areas of public service, outreach, engagement, extension, engaged research, community-based research, community-based participatory research, action research, public scholarship, service-learning, and community service.

  • Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education
    The Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education aims to advance the status and prospects for publicly engaged teaching and research in the academy by showcasing the new disciplinary and/or pedagogical knowledge generated by engagement with the community. JPSHE provides a venue for higher education faculty and administrative leadership to reflect on the ways that community engagement affects work in higher education – and its outcomes for broad issues such as classroom teaching, the advancement of research and knowledge creation across the disciplines, faculty development, tenure and promotion processes, the preparation of graduate students, etc. JPSHE welcomes diverse manuscripts, from empirically-based examinations to critical reflection pieces, theoretical investigations, commentaries, case studies, and pedagogical and research designs. All submissions must identify implications for the growth and viability of public scholarship in the academy.
  • Action Research

Action Research is an international, interdisciplinary, peer reviewed, quarterly published refereed journal which is a forum for the development of the theory and practice of action research. The journal publishes quality articles on accounts of action research projects, explorations in the philosophy and methodology of action research, and considerations of the nature of quality in action research practice. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The Journal of Community Practice is an interdisciplinary journal grounded in social work. It is designed to provide a forum for community practice, including community organizing, planning, social administration, organizational development, community development, and social change. The journal contributes to the advancement of knowledge related to numerous disciplines, including social work and the social sciences, urban planning, social and economic development, community organizing, policy analysis, urban and rural sociology, community health, public administration, and nonprofit management. As a forum for authors and a resource for readers, this journal makes an invaluable contribution to the community’s conceptualization, applications, and practice.

This journal is concerned with the practice and processes of university-community engagement. It responds to a growing global movement of university-community collaborative research initiatives. It provides a forum for academics, practitioners and community representatives to explore issues and reflect on practices relating to the full range of engaged activity. The journal publishes evaluative case studies of community engagement initiatives; analyses of the policy environment; and theoretical reflections that contribute to the scholarship of engagement. Both refereed and non-refereed articles are published.

  • International Undergraduate Journal for Service-Learning, Leadership, and Social Change

    The journal only accepts articles from undergraduate students. Readers consider three types of articles:

    1. Those that discuss the development of a service-learning project and the impact of the project on the community served;
    2. Case studies of a service-learning project;
    3. Reflections on service-learning and the development of personal leadership.

     Articles, written in APA style, should not exceed 15 pages. Submissions are reviewed by selected readers and a member of the editorial board.

Internal and External Opportunities for Funding and Awards for Faculty and Engaged Students

Internal Grants and Awards for Faculty

  • Bennion Center Awards for Distinguished Faculty Service and Public Service Professorship.
  • Bennion Center Community-engaged Learning Microgrant

    The Bennion Center is pleased to offer microgrants to University of Utah career- or tenure-line faculty who seek additional funding for activities related to community-engaged learning (CEL) and scholarship.

    Four grants of up to $1,000 each will be awarded to support initiatives that enhance the University’s community engagement. Activities that may be funded include:

    • Travel and project costs for community-engaged learning courses, community-based research, and staff outreach.
    • Travel and conference fees for community-engagement conferences where scholarship on community engagement is presented. Only applicants who are presenting at such a conference will be eligible for the grant.
    • Events and activities, including guest speakers and workshops, clearly associated with community-engagement work.

    Proposals will be evaluated on criteria including:

    • connection to community engagement and the creation of mutually beneficial partnerships that are consistent with the role and mission of teaching, research, and service at the University of

    The Bennion Center will accept applications during three funding cycles annually. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on the following days: October 1 (Fall semester), March 1 (Spring semester), and June 1 (Summer semester). Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Microgrant application.

    Faculty who receive a microgrant must:

    • Acknowledge the Bennion Center in all publicity and advertising. A logo will be provided.
    • Write a short article for one of the Bennion Center’s publications: Monday Memo, the semi-annual newsletter, or the annual report. The associate director responsible for community-engaged learning will work with recipients to coordinate submission of the article. Photographs of the project are strongly encouraged and should be submitted to Bennion Center Communications Director JJ Jones at jennifer.c.jones@utah.edu
    • If photos are posted on social media, they should be tagged with @BennionCenter

    For questions about the microgrant, please contact Andi Witczak or call 585-9100.

  • Research is a major component of the University of Utah. It benefits faculty, students, the region -- and beyond. Visit the site of the Vice President for Research to explore opportunities for grants, awards, and faculty resources.

One option is the Funding Incentive Seed Grant Program, which supports new areas of research for a principal investigator. Another is the Faculty Research & Creative Grant Project, which supports significant scholarly and creative research projects, particularly in the School of Business, Colleges of Architecture and Planning, Education, Fine Arts, Health, Humanities, Law, Social and Behavioral Science, and the Graduate School of Social Work, where extramural funding is difficult to obtain. In the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Mines and Earth Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Science, strong preference will be give to junior faculty.

  • The Community-Based Research (CBR) Grant Program, sponsored by the Vice President for Research in collaboration with University Neighborhood Partners, supports areas of community-based research for a principal investigator or team of investigators.

The main goal of this program is to encourage collaborative, reciprocally beneficial research that involves both University and local, regional and/or statewide community partners. One or two annual grants of up to $20,000 are available to faculty of all disciplines.

Additional information on Community Based Research can be found in these resources: Guidelines for Community-Based Research and Facilitating Mutually-Beneficial Community-Based Research.

These financial awards support faculty and community residents’ involvement in mutually beneficial partnerships that promote systemic change and increase access to higher education for youth and families living in Salt Lake City’s west-side neighborhoods. The goal is to promote the mission and goals of the organization and enable university and community partners to engage in the work in a project-centered way.

This program seeks to link university and community by encouraging scholars to go “on site” into the community and develop research and service projects in schools, churches, government offices, and public interest groups. 

The goals of the “Professors Off Campus” program are to: (1) create meaningful public service programs based on University faculty expertise to benefit groups and individuals throughout the community, (2) foster an appreciation of service work by academics, (3) create relationships and connections based on tolerance and understanding.

The Tanner Humanities Center provides a department up to $5,000 to “buy” a professor out of one university semester-long class so the faculty member can create a community-sited project. Additional funding of up to $1,500 will be provided by the Center to the selected professor to facilitate project development, and $1,000 will be provided to the community agency that is partnering in the project. Projects may, for example, focus on literacy, art and music education, history, economic development, and environmental concerns that benefit the community. For more information, contact Director Robert Goldberg.

External Grants and Awards for Faculty

The fellowship supports projects that produce a tangible research product (such as joint print or web publications) for which two or more collaborators will take credit. The fellowships are for a total period of up to 24 months and provide up to $60,000 in salary replacement for each collaborator as well as up to $20,000 in collaboration funds (which may be used for such purposes as travel, materials, or research assistance). The amount of the ACLS fellowship for any collaborative project will vary depending on the number of collaborators and the duration of the research leave, but will not exceed $200,000 for any one project. Collaborations need not be interdisciplinary or inter-institutional. Applicants at the same institution, however, must demonstrate why local funding is insufficient to support the project. Collaborations that involve the participation of assistant and associate faculty members are particularly encouraged. 

External Grants and Awards for Students

  • The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building a better world.  The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are made possible through the generous support of the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

The Youthlinc Utah Young Humanitarian Award is a $5,000 college scholarship awarded to an altruistic young person who strives to service others.

One runner-up will receive a $3,000 college scholarship. Three runners-up will receive a $1,000 college scholarship. Five honorable mentions will receive a $500 college scholarship. University of Utah students regularly receive this award.



Last Updated: 7/6/18