Definition of Engagement

Community Engagement Definition

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching provides the most widely acknowledged definition of engagement defined as:

Community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good. (2015 Carnegie Elective Community Engagement Classification)

Community and Civic Engagement at UNC

Civic engagement has long been a hallmark of education at the University of Northern Colorado, enhancing learning at the intersection of academic and community partnerships in ways that bring groundbreaking solutions for a changing world. UNC’s commitment to engaging students, faculty, academic affairs professionals, staff, and community in mutually beneficial and reciprocal learning and partnerships is expressed through different facets of our work.

Facets of Engagement at UNC

  • Academic Engagement: the application of knowledge, development of mutual learning, and generation of reciprocal benefits for UNC students, faculty, student affairs professionals, and community partners. Includes curricular and academic engagement, community based learning, service learning, and engaged scholarship. Responsible unit: Office of Engagement
  • Co-curricular Engagement: student involvement, programs, activities and events that provide opportunities for student growth and development beyond the curriculum.  Includes volunteer opportunities, Alternative Spring Break, Student Involvement Fair. Responsible unit: Student Activities Office
  • Community Relations: communicates and works to share institutional profile, build relationships within university and communities, and inspires communities and partners to engage with UNC. Includes University District, Bear Biz, Marketing and media awareness. Responsible unit: University Relations
  • Outreach and Development: provides students with opportunities for a transformative education that will carry them from campus into their communities. Includes Blue and Gold Club, Team UNC, and UNC’s Annual Giving Program. Responsible unit: Office of Development and Alumni Relations

Guiding Principles for Engaged Student Learning Outcomes

The Office of Engagement, after research and consultation with faculty, instructors and student affairs professionals, hereby proposes the following criteria and guiding principles be considered when developing student learning outcomes for instructional and learning contexts that incorporate some form of engaged learning. Read more about the guiding principles by clicking here. For extended definitions of the terms used in the guiding principles document, click here.

The Language of Community Engagement

Learn more about the terms and indicators by clicking here.

Academic Engagement Ethos

Raise understanding of academic engagement and community-based learning pedagogies by valuing diverse disciplinary and instructional approaches.

Assume a scholarly and collaborative approach to explore and research engagement; promote learning communities and foster debate from disciplinary perspectives.

Ascribe to a rigorous and ongoing assessment plan that allows us to continually inform our practices and measure the impact of institutional engagement for students, faculty, curriculum, and community.

Incentivize efforts and support commitment to increase access to training, research and scholarly activities in engagement. Offer internal awards, support external funding.

Maintain open and transparent communication with on and off campus constituents and communities in the co-creation of knowledge.