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Community-Engaged Scholarship

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., calls for work that connects the university to human society, human life, and the environment. Engaged scholarship at Loyola University Maryland does this work. This page provides an overview of the nature of community-engaged scholarship, Loyola's engagement with it, and funding opportunities for faculty members involved in it. 

What is it?

Community-engaged scholarship is produced through reciprocal, mutually beneficial partnerships between the university’s knowledge centers—the faculty, students, curriculum, classrooms, and library—and community agencies, persons, and other resources. By advancing social and environmental justice, engaged citizenship, transformative learning, and disciplinary knowledge, such partnerships are an example of Loyola’s Jesuit mission in action.

Eight Characteristics of Community-Engaged Scholarship*

  1. Clear academic and community change goals. As with any scholarly project, the objectives should be clearly defined at the start of the project. 
  2. Adequate Preparation in Content Area and Grounding in the Community. Aside from mastering the content area, engaged scholars are also deeply involved in their local community and learning from the knowledge existing within their community partners. 
  3. Appropriate Methods: Rigor and Community Engagement. Research projects must have credible and rigorous research design, data collection, as well as interpretation and reporting of results. Pedagogy should be rooted in best practices and be based on valid theoretical frameworks and research-based evidence.  
  4. Significant Results: Impact on the Field and the Community. Projects should aim to work with the community to beneficially impact it. Assessment is critical to understanding the nature and impact and thus should be incorporated into the program design from the beginning. 
  5. Effective Presentation/Dissemination to Academic and Community Audiences. Scholars should submit their findings to peers and should be engaged in critical conversations with their counterparts in the academy as well as in the community. Findings should also be shared widely to appropriate audiences to help build a body of knowledge beneficial to community engagement. 
  6. Reflective Critique: Lessons Learned to Improve the Scholarship and Community Engagement. Community engagement and scholarship is hard work and not always immediately successful. Engaged scholars must be constantly analyzing their results and making important decisions to adapt and course-correct as needed.
  7. Leadership and Personal Contribution. "Community-engaged scholars should demonstrate, within their discipline, within the arena of community-engaged scholarship, or both, that their work has earned them a reputation for rigor, impact and the capacity to move the discipline or community change work forward. In addition, community-engaged scholars should demonstrate an ability to serve in leadership roles." (Jordan et al, 2007)
  8. Consistently Ethical Behavior: Socially Responsible Conduct of Research and Teaching. Scholars must hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct and rigorous research. Engaged scholars are often leaders in their communities and academic fields and have the potential to impact a number of people. 

*Adapted from: Jordan C (Editor). Community-Engaged Scholarship Review, Promotion & Tenure Package. Peer Review Workgroup, Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health Collaborative, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, 2007. 

Traditional Scholarship vs. Community-Engaged Scholarship*

 Traditional Scholarship Community-Engaged Scholarship 
 Breaks new ground in the discipline ...and has direct application to broader public issues
 Answers significant questions in the discipline ...which have direct relevance to public or community issues
 Is reviewed and validated by qualified peers in the discipline ...and by members of the community
 Is based on solid theoretical basis ...and practical basis
Applies appropriate investigative methods Applies appropriate investigative methods
 Is disseminated to appropriate audiences and community audiences
 Makes significant advances in knowledge and understanding of the discipline

...and public social issues

...and applies the knowledge to address issues in the community 

*Adapted from: Furco, A. (2005). A comparison of traditional scholarship and the scholarship of engagement. In J. Anderson, J., and J.A. Douglas (Eds.). Promoting Civic Engagement at the University of California: Recommendations from the Strategy Group on Civic and Academic Engagement. Berkeley: CA: Center for Studies in Higher Education, p. 10. 

Community-Engaged Scholarship at Loyola

Community-engaged scholarship occurs across the University. Faculty members and students from psychology to history to writing join with community partners to bring about positive change. At Loyola, community-engaged scholarship often falls into one or more of the following:

  • Often combines the traditional work of research, teaching, and service.
  • May take the form of pedagogical activity (service-learning teaching and course development).
  • Produces publications focused on pedagogy.
  • Results in “traditional,” peer-reviewed scholarship.
  • Is frequently interdisciplinary and collaborative.
  • Generally places a special priority on under-resourced communities.
  • Typically places a special priority on the Baltimore area. 
  • Forms partnerships in the spirit of the guidelines developed by the Campus-Communities Partners for Health (CCPH).


Loyola Faculty Awards and Publications


To recognize engaged work done by our faculty, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship is given annually in recognition of extraordinary contributions to Loyola students, community partners, and institutional mission through sustained involvement and excellence in engaged scholarship. To nominate faculty or to learn more, visit the Awards page.  


See our list of publications and grant recipients for examples of successful engaged scholarship projects.

Faculty Development Opportunities

Loyola and the CCSJ are committed to helping faculty members develop and grow in their community-engaged scholarship. Download this helpful information packet, which outlines faculty opportunities for engaged scholarship! Please email if you have specific questions or would like to discuss other professional development opportunities.


CCSJ provides faculty development on specific topics during fall and spring workshops. The spring workshop is generally held the week prior to commencement in May. Information about upcoming workshops will be advertised via the Engaged Faculty email list (please email if you would like to be added to this list) and through other University channels. 

Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning Seminar

The Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning Seminar, held during the spring semester, focuses on service-learning pedagogy and is required to teach a service-learning course. To learn more, visit the Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning page. Interested faculty should email the Faculty Director for Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship, Dr. Stephen Park or Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, Ben Belz. Download the application.

Tenure and Promotion

Faculty may wish to consult the Community-Engaged Scholarship Review, Tenure, and Promotion package developed by the Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health Collaborative (CCHP), which includes detailed guidelines, rubrics, and even a mock CV and dossier for those who are seeking language for annual updates and tenure and promotion applications. These guidelines are broadly applicable to many academic disciplines.

Stay Connected

Faculty members are encouraged to join the Engaged Faculty email group for notification of events of interest on and off campus, information pertaining to Loyola's service-learning program, service and immersion activities, the York Road Initiative, and campus-community engagement. Contact if you would like to be added to the list.

Funding Community-Engaged Scholarship

To promote community-engaged research for social justice, the university sponsors two types of grants:

The Kolvenbach Grant Program

These grants are available to undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, administrators, and staff. Accepted proposed research is done in conjunction with community partners and aimed toward both helping the organization achieve its goals and advancing knowledge in the field. Applications are due by the second Friday of February. For more information and to apply, see the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs page. Contact with any questions.

The CELS Funding Program

CELS sponsors several support and mini-grant funding opportunities:

  • Development Funds,
  • Project Funds,
  • Course Operating Funds,
  • Engaged Scholarship Grants, and
  • Campus-Community Partnerships Grant.

Please visit the funding opportunities for more information and to apply. 

The Committee on Engaged Scholarship

Loyola's Committee on Engaged Scholarship (CoES) is responsible for reviewing and approving all funding applications for the Kolvenbach and CELS Funding programs. This committee of Loyola faculty and community members exists to support and increase community-engaged projects that strengthen the relationship between Loyola and the broader Baltimore community.

The 2022-2023 members of the Committee on Engaged Scholarship are:

 Ben Belz  CCSJ Assistant Director of Academic Engagement
 Stephen Park  CCSJ Faculty Director
 Leila Kohler-Frueh  Director of Community Engagement, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
 Carey Borkoski  LUM Associate Professor, Education Department
 Daniel Schlapbach  LUM Professor of Fine Arts
 Stacy Chavez  LUM Assistant Professor of Accounting
 Michelle Gawerc  LUM Associate Professor of Sociology
 Suzanne Keilson  LUM Associate Professor, Engineering Department

For more information or questions about the Committee on Engaged Scholarship, please contact Stephen Park