Engaged Scholars Initiative

Western Region Campus Compact Engaged Scholars Initiative

The Engaged Scholars Initiative (ESI) is aimed at developing, supporting, and connecting leaders from member institutions within the states representing Western Region Campus Compact 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 early career (3-8 years of experience) scholars and community engagement professionals;
  • 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 cohort consists of thirteen faculty and/or community engagement professionals engaged in collaborative learning and leadership from October 2019 through October 2020. Click here for more information about 2019-2020 cohort members.

Engaged Scholar Initiative Program Details

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

  • Opening retreat – November 3-5, 2019 in Denver, CO at the University of Denver.
  • 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 – March 28-April 1, 2020 in Seattle, WA as part of Campus Compact’s 2020 National Conference. WRCC ESI participants will have the opportunity to network among other ESI participants from the Eastern and Midwest regions.
  • Closing retreat – Fall 2020 in Bozeman, Montana (TBD).
  • 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 and complete the payment arrangement process by September 1, 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 Campus Compact’s 2020 National Conference.

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

Scholarship funds cannot be guaranteed for this pilot year of ESI. If you are in need of financial support in order to participate please contact the state/regional Compact office through which your institution is a member.

Nomination Process and Materials

Submit your nomination materials here.

Preview the submission process below and

Completed nominations are to be submitted no later than August 19, 2019.

A complete nomination is required to include:

  1. Interest letter from the nominee (not to exceed three pages) addressing/including the following:
    • Articulate your commitment to and experience with community-engaged scholarship (teaching and/or research) and/or your experience as a community engagement professional, including the critical issue(s) you are most concerned about in the field.
    • Address 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.
    • Reflect 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.
    • Provide an 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).
    • List 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 Tuesday July 9, 2019
Nominations Due Monday, August 19, 2019
Peer-Review Process August 20 – September 7, 2019
Nominees Notified of Decision September 9, 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 fifteen Western Region Campus Compact Engaged Scholars for the 2019-2020 Cohort. All nominees will be notified of the committee’s decisions by September 9, 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 in-person retreats 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 Western Region ESI is for individuals from institutions located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii & Pacific Islands, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming experienced in 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.

Scholarly Work

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 13 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.

The History of the Engaged Scholars Initiative

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 three regional cohorts during 2019 – 2020 cohort period, one in the Eastern Region, one in the Midwest Region, and one in the Western Region.

About Western Region Campus Compact 

The Western Region of Campus Compact includes offices in California, Hawaii & Pacific Islands, Montana, the Mountain West (Colorado and Wyoming), Oregon, and Washington. It also includes national members of Campus Compact in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Campus Compact and all regional and state Campus Compact affiliates are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field and in our broader culture. We strive to make all events safe and welcoming spaces that value the contributions of a diversity of people, spark critical reflection, provide multiple ways to learn, and engage and recognizes various identities and their intersections, including but not limited to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, education level, political affiliation, veteran status, age, and disability. Our goal is to create an environment that demonstrates this commitment and, to this end, we welcome proposals that bring a variety of perspectives, identities, and backgrounds to our conversation.