How Do We Define Community Engagement?

Original definitions modified from "Incorporating Community Engagement Language into Promotion and Tenure Policies: One University's Journey," Lynn E. Pelco and Catherine Howard, 2015


A group of people connected to the campus who may be affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, similar situation or shared values. Communities may share characteristics such as age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.


Sustained collaboration between institutions, individuals or communities for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources. Examples are research, capacity building or economic development.

Community Outreach

Unidirectional application and provision of institutional resources, knowledge or services that directly benefit the community. Examples include concerts, athletic events, student volunteers, public lectures or health fairs.

Community Engagement

The collaboration between Marquette University and the communities of which we are a part for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity in active pursuit of social justice. It can involve partnership and coalitions that help mobilize resources and influence systems and serve as catalysts for initiating and/or changing policies, programs and practices.

Community-Engaged Scholarship

The creation and dissemination of knowledge and creative expression in furtherance of the mission and goals of the university and in collaboration with the community. Community-engaged scholarship (CES) addresses community needs through research and teaching in a mutually beneficial partnership. The quality and impact of CES are determined by academic peers and/or community partners.

Community-Engaged Service

The reciprocal application of professional and community expertise that addresses a community-identified opportunity to support the goals and mission of the university and the community. Community-engaged service includes the marshaling of expertise, resources and services between the university and community.

Community-Engaged/Teaching Learning

A pedagogical approach that connects the university and community in the broadening and sharing of knowledge in an effort to deepen academic and civic learning. Examples include: service-learning courses, clinical practicums, student teaching, public lectures, arts programming and internships.

Community-Engaged Research

A collaborative process between the researcher and community partner that creates and disseminates knowledge and creative expression with the goal of contributing to the discipline and strengthening the well-being of the community. Community-engaged research identifies the assets of all stakeholders and incorporates them in the design and conduct of the different phases of the research process.