Engaged Scholars Initiative

Campus Compact of the Midwest Region Engaged Scholars Initiative

The Engaged Scholars Initiative (ESI) is aimed at developing, supporting and connecting leaders from member institutions within the states representing Campus Compact of the Midwest, who can advance co-created knowledge, critically engaged pedagogies, models of institutional change, and collaborative action that addresses societal issues. The goals of ESI are to:

  • Develop engaged scholars who are committed to addressing power dynamics and advancing equity and full participation in institutions and communities;
  • Advance scholarly objectives, including research, teaching and/or application, of each scholar’s choosing;
  • Strengthen professional networks by building deep relationships among scholars;
  • Expand the perspectives and types and sources of knowledge incorporated and highlighted across the field; and
  • Generate individual and collaborative work that translates the scholars’ insights into both traditional (e.g., academic publications, conference presentations, white papers, etc.), creative works (e.g., public art, exhibitions, spoken word performances, etc.), and educational and community resources (e.g., program evaluations, policy analysis, training materials, etc.).

2019 – 2020 Cohort

The 2019-2020 Engaged Scholars Initiative will select up to ten faculty and/or community engagement professionals to engage in this collaborative learning and leadership program from May 2019 through Summer 2020.

2019 – 2020 Strategic Partners

The Engaged Scholars Initiative is designed to leverage and enhance local, regional, and national knowledge, experience, and assets within the Compact network. Campus Compact of the Midwest is pleased to be partnering with Michigan State University, the University of Kansas, and the University of Minnesota, whose thought leadership, and in-kind and financial support is critical to launching this initiative.

Selected ESI cohort members will commit to an ongoing learning and leadership experience from May 2019 to August 2020. This experience includes a combination of in-person and virtual meetings, mentoring, and collaborative scholarly work. The programmatic elements include:

  • Opening retreat – May 28 – May 31, 2019 at the University of Minnesota.
    This Retreat will take place as part of the Midwest Campus Compact Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Scholars will attend the conference as a cohort (conference registration is included in the ESI program fee).
  • Bi-monthly meetings – Utilizing virtual meeting technology, cohort members will participate in bi-monthly meetings dedicated to collaborative work and professional leadership development.
  • Mentoring– Throughout the experience, the cohort will be connected to a network of passionate and supportive peers, as well as one-on-one mentoring from experienced engaged scholars, including community engagement professionals.
  • Mid-program retreat – February 2020 at the University of Kansas.
  • Closing retreat – Summer 2020 at Michigan State University.
  • Scholarly project – Whether new or an expansion of existing work, each project should seek to advance the understanding and practice of the field of community engagement through collaborative engagement (Longo & Gibson, 2016).
  • Reporting – Cohort members will be required to submit two progress reports during the experience, one at the midpoint and one at the end of the experience.

Scholar and Institutional Expectations

Scholars are expected to:

  • Attend and actively participate in every aspect of the Initiative, including: three in-person, overnight retreats, bi-monthly virtual meetings, and any individual or small group collaborative or mentoring meetings.
  • Complete all required preparation (e.g., pre-readings, assessment, assigned tasks, etc.) and resulting action items.
  • Actively communicate with program directors and fellow cohort scholars throughout the experience to ensure the highest level of engagement and collaboration.
  • Pursue a scholarly project (individual or collaborative) of their choosing.
  • Submit all program reports by the due dates.

Nominating institutions are expected to:

  • Be members of Campus Compact in good standing.Complete payment arrangement process by April 30, 2019.
  • Cover all travel expenses (mileage or airfare, lodging, and incidentals) for the participating Scholar to attend the three in-person retreats.
  • Ensure that the participating Scholar has access to the appropriate technology resources (access to a private or semi-private space for meetings, computer with webcam with microphone, and a high-speed internet connection) needed to participate in virtual meetings and mentoring sessions.

Program Fee

The program fee for the 2019 – 2020 Engaged Scholars Initiative is $1,500, and includes a complimentary registration for the participating Scholar to attend the Midwest Campus Compact Conference.

The total value of the program is estimated to be more than $10,000 per scholar.

Limited scholarship funds are available to representatives from institutions with minimal professional development funds.

Nomination Process and Materials



Completed nominations are to be submitted no later than March 15, 2019.

A complete nomination is required to include:

  1. Interest letter from the nominee (not to exceed three pages) addressing/including the following:
    • Your commitment to and experience with community-engaged scholarship (teaching and/or research) and/or your experience as a community engagement professional. The critical issue(s) you are most concerned about in the field.
    • The significance of race, diversity, and equity in your own personal or professional life, especially as it relates to the complex and nuanced issues associated with community engagement.
    • Reflection on the identities and strengths you would contribute to this engagement collaborative (Longo & Gibson, 2016) cohort and what you hope to gain by participating in it.
    • Overview of a relevant engaged-scholarly project to be initiated, pursued, and/or completed during the term. (Applicable engaged-scholarship can include original research, creative activities, scholarship of teaching and learning, and/or program evaluation).
    • Any regional or national conferences you typically attend and/or professional networks in which you participate.
  2. Nominee’s current curriculum vitae or resume focused on community engagement work (not to exceed eight pages)
  3. Letter of support from president and/or chief academic/student affairs officer (not to exceed two pages) directly addressing the following:
    • Expressed support for the nominee’s participation in the Engaged Scholars Initiative.
    • Description of the institution’s support for engaged scholarship and any foreseen institutional benefits due to the nominee’s participation in the program.
    • Commitment to covering the nominee’s Engaged Scholars Initiative program fee and related travel expenses.

Nomination and Review Timeline

Call for Nominees Released Monday January 28, 2019
Nominations Due Monday, March 15, 2019
Peer-Review Process March 19 – April 1, 2019
Nominees Notified of Decision April 10, 2019

Review Process

A committee comprised of representatives from Campus Compact partner institutions and Campus Compact staff will review all applications and select up to ten Midwest Campus Compact Engaged Scholars for the 2019-2020 Cohort. All nominees will be notified of the committee’s decisions by April 10, 2019.

Criteria to be used in the review include:

  • Institution’s membership in Campus Compact
  • A demonstrated commitment to relational, critical, and democratic engaged scholarship in their professional role(s);
  • Interest in developing their own practice, fostering collaboration, and acting as a resource for colleagues in the field;
  • Willingness to participate fully in the entire ESI experience including the Midwest Campus Compact Conference, and other activities developed with the cohort; and
  • Creation of a diverse group, including—but not limited to—demographic diversity and diversity in experience and roles on campus.

Who is an Engaged Scholar?

Engaged scholars are individuals who are committed to fostering collaborative environments for learning and discovery, creating a community that embraces the whole self of all members, building horizontal research relationships, questioning their own positionality, and continuing to develop and discover their identity (Warren, Oh Park, & Casey Tieken, 2016, p. 233-234).

Program Eligibility

For the purposes of this program, engaged scholars include both faculty and community engagement professionals (Dostilio, 2017; Dostilio & McReynolds, 2015; McReynolds & Shields, 2015). The ESI is well-suited for individuals from institutions located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin experienced producing scholarship who are:

  • Full-time community engagement professionals in their early- to mid-career (3 to 8 years of experience),
  • Full-time pre-tenure faculty (for those in a tenure track system), or
  • Full-time faculty within their first 8 years (for those at contract-based systems).

We strongly encourage individuals who are representative of all identities (e.g., ethnic, gender, racial, religious, sexual, etc.), as well as those from all institutional types (e.g., community college, minority serving, private, public, etc.) to apply.

Engaged scholars who have been involved with communities and public issues but have not participated in community engagement-focused organizations are welcome.

Collaborative scholarly work can be done individually or in collaboration with others, and can focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning, the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, or the scholarship of application (Boyer, 1990). Projects can lead to traditional dissemination (e.g., academic publications,  conference presentations, etc.), creative works (e.g., public art, exhibitions, etc.), and educational and community resources (e.g., program evaluations, training materials, community assessment tools, etc.).

Throughout the experience, cohort members will collaborate with each other, staff from Campus Compact, and field leaders who support relational, critical, and democratic approaches. Engaged Scholars will identify strategic priorities jointly but may form subgroups to work on collaborative engagement projects such as integrative research, joint presentations, and publications.

We know that a great deal of change can happen over 18 months, but to the extent possible, we ask cohort members to bring a spirit of commitment to this experience. Additionally, cohort members will be encouraged to self-organize meetings located at other conferences or meetings (e.g., national, regional, and/or Campus Compact events, AAC&U, IARSLCE, Engaged Scholarship Consortium, Imagining America, etc.) or other equivalent spaces.


Boyer, Ernest L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered : Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J. :Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching,

Dostilio, L. D. (2017). The professionalization of community engagement: Associations and professional staff. In T.D. Mitchell, T. Eatman, & C. Dolgan (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of service learning and community engagement. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Dostilio, L. D., & McReynolds, M. (2015). Community engagement professionals in the circle of service-learning and the greater civic enterprise. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 22(1), 113–117.

Longo, N. V., & Gibson, C. M. (2016). The collaborative engagement paradigm. In M. A. Post, E. Ward, N. V. Longo, & J. Saltmarsh (Eds.), Publicly engaged scholars: Next generation engagement and the future of higher education (p. 61 – 75). Sterling, VA: Stylus.

McReynolds, M., & Shields, E. (Eds.). (2015). Diving deep in community engagement: A model for professional development. Des Moines, IA: Iowa Campus Compact

Warren, M. R., Oh Park, S., & Casey Tieken, M. (2016). The formation of community-engaged scholars: A collaborative approach to doctoral training in education research. Harvard Educational Review, 86(2), 233–260.

In 2008, Campus Compact convened an intentionally diverse group of ten engaged faculty and staff who named themselves the Engaged Scholars for New Perspectives in Higher Education. Over the last decade, they have published and presented collaboratively and taken on new leadership roles in their institutions and the field. Many consider the group’s initial retreat a formative experience: in their words, “[it] was a catalyst for developing my scholar practitioner identity,” “one of the most joyful experiences of my career,” and “[a central element of] my story of leadership development and what keeps me grounded in the work I do.”

In order to offer this kind of opportunity for more emerging leaders across the United States, Campus Compact is piloting two regional cohorts during 2019 – 2020 cohort period, one in the Easter Region and one in the Midwest Region.