What is Engaged Scholarship?
Ernest Boyer coined the term “Engaged Scholarship” to describe teaching and research that connect “the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems” (Boyer, 1996 [pdf]). Engaged Scholarship denotes an orientation; engaged scholars direct their energies not solely toward an academic community, or toward the life of the mind, but also toward pressing public issues or shared problems. The term captures the ways in which the Lang Center connects the “three C's” of curriculum, campus, and communities for reciprocal gains.
Communities in this context include the proximate communities of Chester, PA, and the greater Philadelphia area; more distant community partners around the country and globe; and the community of scholars and practitioners who share knowledge and best practices regarding ethical action and civic engagement.
We conceptualize Engaged Scholarship as extending to a broad range of approaches, including intensive collaborations with off-campus partners (community-based learning and community-engaged research); experiential learning that connects students with issues outside the classroom (field study, immersion experiences, or travel in connection with a course); and scholarship that resides on campus but aims toward social amelioration or public benefit. The Lang Center can offer resources—financial, human, and social capital—to facilitate any of these approaches for interested faculty or students. In other words, we can provide funding, expert advising in professional best practices, and connections to relevant partners on or off campus.
In response to faculty interest expressed at a series of Fall 2015 receptions, then-Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change Denise Crossan led the development of a campus Engaged Scholarship Map, a user-friendly platform that allows campus community members to see what kinds of Engaged Scholarship projects others are undertaking, and with which community partners. This platform helps faculty, students, and community organizations to identify potential collaborators for research or teaching, and/or to find new ideas for applying their work to issues of community benefit. Those wishing to learn more can view this explanatory video.