COUNCIL ON ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP
Engaged Scholarship Update
This report is presented to the Senate as an update to the ongoing work of the Council on Engaged Scholarship, and a follow up to the Advisory and Consultative report presented at the Senate plenary meeting of April 28, 2014.
The Engaged Scholarship Initiative (ESI) began in 2012 with a goal of elevating the role of engaged scholarship in undergraduate education, including providing more opportunities for students to have engaged scholarship experiences. The primary body charged by the University’s leadership with advancing the initiative is the Council on Engaged Scholarship (CoES). The CoES comprises 35 sitting members, including University-wide student, faculty, staff, and administrator representation. Five committees, consisting of 70 individuals, undertake the work of the Council.
Closely related to the work of the Council on Engaged Scholarship and Engaged Scholarship Initiative, the University Faculty Senate has taken leadership in promoting out-of-class academic experiences for Penn State’s undergraduate students. In April 2014, the Senate passed an Advisory/Consultative Report––put forward by a partnership of nine standing committees––that gave the University guidance on how it should proceed with the Engaged Scholarship Initiative. Soon after taking office, President Barron endorsed this report.
At the same time, the President introduced his “Six Imperatives” to frame priorities for the Penn State community and to provide an important basis for the University’s next strategic plan. While each has a unique focus, these imperatives—Access and Affordability, Economic Development and Student Career Success, Student Engagement/Engaged Scholarship, Diversity and Demographics, Technology and Curriculum Delivery, and Excellence—are clearly intertwined, particularly with regard to their impact on student success. “Student Engagement,” defined by President Barron as “out-of-class activities that promote student success,” is a clear example of this interconnectedness.
Penn State defines engaged scholarship, a specific form of student engagement, as “out-of-class academic experiences that complement in-class learning.” Engaged scholarship experiences include, but are not limited to:
- Undergraduate research
- Study abroad, study away, and embedded travel courses
- Service-learning and community-based learning
- Capstone courses with an out-of-class component
- Clinical experiences
- Self-directed engaged scholarship
The literature shows that engaged scholarship experiences contribute to academic success, positively impact achievement of key learning outcomes, strengthen interactions with faculty, enhance personal development, and cultivate life-long career success (see Appendix 1). Consequently, the Council on Engaged Scholarship has made the primary goal of the Engaged Scholarship Initiative to provide every undergraduate student with the opportunity to have at least one engaged scholarship experience by 2020.
Various Faculty Senate reports and other anecdotal evidence indicate that approximately 50% of Penn State students participate in engaged scholarship experiences. National studies indicate that traditional-age, white, upper-middle class students from college-educated families tend to participate in engaged scholarship experiences, while first-generation, low-income, underrepresented, and international students are less likely to participate. To meet its 2020 goal, Penn State will thus need to remove the barriers for students who do not participate.
Key Accomplishments to Date
Recent accomplishments of the Council are presented in Appendix 2. In addition to these accomplishments, the 16th annual meeting of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium was coordinated and hosted by Penn State in September 2015, and co-hosted by James Madison and Virginia Tech Universities. Presidents from the three host universities participated in a plenary panel, joining the more than 400 faculty, staff, students, administrators, and community partners from more than 100 institutions and non-profit partners worldwide who attended the conference to participate in the more than 60 paper symposia, workshops, paper sessions, and poster exhibitions.
The two undergraduate student governments (UPUA and CCSG) have also passed resolutions endorsing the Engaged Scholarship Initiative, and students are active members of the Council on Engaged Scholarship and its committees. For the past two summers, engaged scholarship has been a theme in the messages that students and their families new to University Park have heard at New Student Orientation. As a result, within the next two years, the majority of University Park undergraduate students will expect to participate in engaged scholarship as part of their undergraduate experience.
To raise awareness about progress made by the Engaged Scholarship Initiative, to gauge the level of engaged scholarship activities underway across the University, and to determine ways to advance the overall institutionalization of engaged scholarship by aligning the Initiative with ongoing engaged scholarship activities in the colleges and campuses, representatives of Council on Engaged Scholarship have conducted a series of conversations with deans and chancellors. To date, Council representatives have met with all 16 University Park Deans, one Director, the Dean of the College of Medicine, and 12 Commonwealth Campus Chancellors (see Appendix 3 for more information on these visits). Spring 2016 will yield additional campus visits.
Future of Engaged Scholarship
As part of a vision of the future of engaged scholarship at Penn State, the Council on Engaged Scholarship developed five goals, each of which is associated with action steps that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic for the upcoming year. We describe a few of them below.
- Communication. Elevate the profile of engaged scholarship by communicating opportunities to all stakeholders, generating visibility at local, state, and national levels, and celebrating successes.
- Expand the current website (http://www.engagedscholarship.psu.edu/) to include more information for the stakeholder groups.
- Establish broad parameters of what an engaged scholarship experience is so that academic units can organize, track, and recognize students’ experiences.
- Implementation. Integrate Engaged Scholarship into institutional infrastructure.
- Build an institutional inventory of existing engaged scholarship opportunities that will contain relevant information for users.
- Partner with internal and external networks.
- Assessment. Develop objectives and evidence of achievement for students, the institution, and the community.
- Review the existing literature for assessment instruments already being used to document the impact of different types of engaged scholarship on students.
- Create a plan and timeline for systematically assessing the impact of engaged scholarship on Penn State students.
- Finances. Identify funding to sustain the infrastructure, including internal and external funding sources.
- Work with the Office of Development to build a philanthropic plan for the Engaged Scholarship Initiative.
- Develop strategies to support expanding student, faculty and staff involvement and engaged scholarship opportunities.
- Faculty, Staff, & Student Engagement. Expand the participation of faculty, staff, and students in engaged scholarship programs.
- Cultivate engaged scholarship champions and establish an engaged scholarship community of practice.
- Train engaged scholarship student ambassadors who will represent and explain the initiative to other students.
These and other activities of the Council, as well as activities taking place on the colleges and campuses, will elevate the impact of engaged scholarship at Penn State. The visits with deans and chancellors confirmed that many colleges and campuses have already integrated engaged scholarship into their strategic plans. We also know that engaged scholarship will have significant visibility in the next University capital campaign. Nonetheless, more information is needed to determine current resources already being deployed to support engaged scholarship, plans for expanding these experiences, and—most importantly—additional resources necessary to meet the Council’s primary goal by 2020.
To help Penn State reach the ambitious goal to provide every undergraduate student with the opportunity to have at least one engaged scholarship experience by 2020 and following the April 2014 Advisory and Consultative recommendations of the Faculty Senate, we must enhance the University’s already robust engaged scholarship culture by creating curricular conditions that ensure each student has this opportunity.
We ask the Senate to consider the following three items:
- Consideration #1: Establish a graduation requirement that all students complete an engaged scholarship activity (0-18 credits) during their baccalaureate degree program. Engaged Scholarship experiences could already be included as a requirement for a major, minor, or certificate program, such as clinical work or student teaching. Others could be embedded in an existing course as out-of-class projects or semester-long experiences, such as internships. Others could be co-curricular, and some could even be non-credit bearing. This activity could include, but would not be limited to, one of the following activities: undergraduate research, internship, study abroad, study away, embedded travel courses, service-learning, community-based learning, a capstone course with an out-of-class component, clinical experiences, and self-directed engaged scholarship. The activity could also include a zero-credit option that would allow a student to meet the engaged scholarship requirement through approved experiences. The student transcript would reflect that this requirement has been met.
- Consideration #2: Create a Special Senate Committee to establish broad parameters of what an engaged scholarship experience is so that academic units can recognize, organize, and track student experiences. The Special Committee charged with this responsibility could consult with representatives from the Council on Engaged Scholarship, Student Affairs, and other University committees that are working on providing students with out-of-the-classroom experiences.
- Consideration #3: Identify and establish reward and recognition strategies for faculty and staff involved in engaged scholarship. It will not be necessary for promotion and tenure policies to change or for all faculty and staff to participate in engaged scholarship. Those that do participate should be recognized for the time and effort it takes to invest in this initiative. The Senate Faculty Affairs and Intra-University Relations Committees could be appropriate bodies to provide guidelines about recognition of faculty efforts. Appropriate staff guidelines could be addressed through the University Staff Advisory Council.
Astin, A. (1997) What Matters in College: Four Critical Years Revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Astin, A., & Sax, L. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39(3), 251-263.
Astin, A., Vogelgesang, L., Ikeda, E., Gilmartin, S., Yee, G. (2000). How service learning affects students. Higher Education Research Institute. University of California. Los Angeles.
Brownell, J., & Swaner, E. (2010). Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Cress, C., Burack, C., Giles, D, Jr., Elkins, J., & Carnes Stevens, M. (2010). A Promising Connection: Increasing College Access and Success through Civic Engagement. Boston: Campus Compact.
Engberg, M. (2013) The Influence of Study Away Experiences on Global Perspective-Taking. Journal of College Student Development, 54(5), 466-480.
Eyler, J., Giles, D., Jr., Stenson, C., & Gray, C. (2001). At A Glance: What We Know about the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions and Communities, 1993–2000. 3rd ed. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.
Finlay, A., & McNair, T. (2013). Assessing underserved students’ engagement with high impact practices. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Hunter, M. S., Keup, J., Kinzie, J. & Maietta, H. (2012). The Senior Year: Culminating Experiences and Transitions. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina.
Johansson, C. and Felten, P. (2014). Transforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education. Baltimore, MD; Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kinzie, J. (2012). High-Impact Practices: Promoting Participation for All Students. Diversity and Democracy, Fall 2012, Vol. 15, No. 3.
Kuh, G. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Moore, D. T (2013). Engaged learning in the academy. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (2012). A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education
O’Neill, N. (2010). Internships as a high impact practice: Some reflections on quality. Peer Review, 12(4), 4-8.
Paige, R., Fry, G., Stallman, E., Josic, J., & Jon, J. (2009) Study abroad for global engagement: The long-term impact of mobility experiences. Intercultural Education, 20, S29-S44.
Pascarella, E., & Terenzini, P. 2005. How College Affects Students: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Swaner, L. E. (2012). The theories, contexts, and multiple pedagogies of engaged learning: What succeeds and why? In, D. Harward, Transforming undergraduate education: Theories that compel and practices that succeed (pp. 73-90). New York: Rowman and Littlefield.
Sweitzer, H. F., & King, M. A. (2014). The successful internship: Personal, professional and civic development in experiential learning (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: CengageBrooks/Cole.
Vaz, R. & Quinn, P. (2014). Long Term Impacts of Off-Campus Project Work on Student Learning and Development. Conference Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 1-5.
DRAFTED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COUNCIL ON ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP
- Martha Aynardi
- Barry Bram
- Angela Linse
- Ann Taylor
- Beth Seymour
- Nicholas Rowland
- Richard Smith
- Brent Yarnal
- Careen Yarnal
Appendix 1. Why Engaged Scholarship Matters
As a student-centered university, engaged scholarship matters to Penn State because these experiences:
- Contribute to academic success by increasing retention and completion rates, cultivating career development, and improving satisfaction with college (Astin & Saxe, 1998; Eyler, et al., 2001; Kuh, 2008; Moore, 2013; National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005)
- Positively impact achievement of key learning outcomes, including integrative and ethical thinking and social responsibility (Astin, 1997; Astin, et al., 2000; Brownell & Swaner, 2010; Vaz & Quinn, 2014)
- Strengthen interactions with faculty, a key factor in college success, especially for historically underrepresented students (Cress, et al., 2010; Finlay & McNair, 2013)
- Enhance personal development, including building self-confidence, self-efficacy, intercultural understanding, and developing leadership and communication skills (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012; Engberg 2013; O’Neill, 2010; Paige et al., 2009)
- Cultivate life-long career success, including long-term employability, a dedication to life-long learning, happiness, health, and sustained wellbeing (Astin, et al., 2000; Hunter et al. 2012; Johansson & Felten 2014)
Appendix 2. 2014-15 Recent Accomplishments by the
Committees of the Council on Engaged Scholarship
|Commonwealth Campus||• Began inventory of campus-based engaged scholarship activities through contact with faculty senators,
Directors of Student Affairs and Campus Academic Officers, campus visits, and the
Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.
• Identified potential engaged scholarship “champions” among campus faculty with the
intent to create and support a "community of practice."
|Faculty & Staff Development||• Identified rewards, outcomes, and diversity working groups.
• Conducted benchmarking to learn about faculty and staff engaged scholarship
rewards structures at other universities.
|Pilots||• Engaged 1,100 students in 20 courses by addressing real-world problems through assignments
and activities derived from the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program
and delivered pre- and post-assessments to students to assess engagement competencies. 
• Developed and implemented 21 engaged scholarship modules on innovation, sustainable development,
and career pathways in 83 classes with 1,944 students.
• Slides were developed for faculty to show in three Gen Ed courses that provided information about research,
internships, and education abroad opportunities directly related to course content; total enrollment 2,925.
|Exposition & Symposium ||• Planned and implemented the Engaged Scholarship Expo in November 2014 in partnership with
Global Entrepreneurship Week to highlight students’ engaged scholarship experiences. Sixty-two proposals
were submitted for selection, 13 were accepted, and 150 students, faculty, and staff attended.
• Planned and implemented the Engaged Scholarship Symposium, Advancing Engaged Scholarship:
Practical Strategies for Penn State in March 2015, which focused on providing easy ways for faculty
and staff to integrate engaged scholarship into their work. Twenty-five program submissions were received
and seven were accepted. Two faculty from other institutions gave keynote presentations.
Two-hundred seventeen faculty (86), staff (113), and students (18) from across the Commonwealth
(representatives from 13 campuses including University Park) participated in person (193) or virtually (24).
|Recognition & Tracking||• Created and revised a draft model for a Penn State “Engaged Scholar Society” that includes
requirements for entry and an implementation plan.
• Developed a draft model of an online system based on Penn State’s new badging system for
advisors to track student participation in engaged scholarship activities and Society requirements.
|Marketing & Communications||• Implemented strategic marketing efforts for the Engaged Scholarship Expo, Symposium,
and the recent Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference in September 2015.
• Implemented strategic marketing efforts for the Engaged Scholarship Expo, Symposium,
and the recent Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference in September 2015.
• Developed a two-year marketing plan that will elevate awareness and communication of engaged
scholarship through a social media plan, brand research and development, and an enhanced website.
|Philanthropy & Development||• Collaborated with development staff to identify strategies to reach prospective donors.
• Coordinated a development presentation for committee chairs.
Appendix 3. Deans and Chancellors Visits by the Council on Engaged Scholarship
Representatives of the Council on Engaged Scholarship have conducted a series of conversations with deans and chancellors. The visits have had three purposes: to inform college and campus leadership about progress made by the Engaged Scholarship Initiative; to gauge the level and types of engaged scholarship activities underway across the University; and to determine ways to align the initiative with ongoing engaged scholarship activities in the colleges and campuses. To date, Council representatives have met with 16 University Park Deans, one Director, the Dean of the College of Medicine, and 12 Commonwealth Campus Chancellors.
The typical structure for conversation with deans and chancellors  included: (a) a refresher on the Engaged Scholarship Initiative; (b) an update on recent initiative progress; (c) discussion of the unit’s engaged scholarship activities, including reference to engaged scholarship in the unit’s 2020 Strategic Plan; (d) discussion of reciprocity between the unit and Council on Engaged Scholarship; and (e) points of contact to enable further dialog. After the last dean’s meeting, we analyzed meeting notes and unit strategic plans to develop a framework for organizing the wide-ranging material.
This analysis showed that although all units are supportive of engaged scholarship, they are at one of three stages of institutionalization: Developing, Cooperating, and Harmonizing. The few units in the Developing stage all briefly mentioned engaged scholarship in their strategic plans and included high-quality exemplars of engaged scholarship work, but were nonetheless unsure how to further institutionalize engaged scholarship. Discussions with deans and chancellors at these meetings were general, and revolved around the basics of how to inventory, track, assess, expand different types, further educate faculty and staff, and find sustainable community, industry and business, and non-profit partners. Financing, such as human resourcing or costs of different types of engaged scholarship experiences, did not emerge in these conversations.
Most units are in the Cooperating phase. They clearly indicate involvement with engaged scholarship in unit strategic plans, including some evidence of data gathering and an emerging unit-wide and/or departmental structure. Conversations with deans and chancellors were more specific, with targeted requests for assistance on how to: advance and/or improve unit-wide inventorying, assessing, and/or tracking; further facilitate overall unit-wide cohesion; and capitalize on existing work in other units. At several meetings, possibilities for expanding engaged scholarship into distance education were also discussed. Financing, including human resourcing and/or cost efficiency, began to emerge in these conversations, particularly in relation to (a) sharing costs for a new engaged scholarship offerings through cross-unit partnerships, (b) learning more about existing engaged scholarship experiences across units to counter “re-inventing the wheel,” and (c) assigning within-unit engaged scholarship job responsibilities.
A few units are in the Harmonizing phase, where units’ strategic plans translate visions and goals for engaged scholarship into organized objectives and action steps. Conversation with deans and chancellors at these meetings were highly targeted and revolved around statements such as: “We need help with task X”; “We have lots of examples of how we make it work across the unit [e.g., recruitment and student orientation materials, development of a network of faculty champions, or inclusion of engaged scholarship in syllabi] that we are happy to share”; “I’d like you to work with us to increase student involvement with engaged scholarship type X”; and “We need help with marketing engaged scholarship for student recruitment and career development purposes.” Units in the Harmonizing phase recognized that to achieve unit-wide participation would require further within-unit refinement of existing engaged scholarship programs and policies coupled with development of cost-effective resource reallocation.
 See: Senate Committees on Curricular Affairs, Educational Equity and Campus Environment, Faculty Affairs, Global Programs, Outreach, Research, Student Life, Undergraduate Education, and University Planning (2015) Engaged Scholarship Report, April 29 (Appendix G). Back to Footnote #1 in Text
Such experiences would not be led or designed by faculty, but would be approved by a formal process not yet developed. Back to Footnote #2 in Text
Senate Task Force on Undergraduate Research (2013) Undergraduate Research at Penn State, Informational Report, April 23 (Appendix F); Senate Committees on Student Life and Undergraduate Education (2012) Report from the Task Force on Internships, Informational Report, April 24 (Appendix H); Senate Committee on Global Programs (2013) Towards the Global Penn State – Progress Report, Informational Report, March 13 (Appendix L). Back to Footnote #3 in Text
Finley & McNair 2013; Kinzie 2012; Kuh 2008; National Task Force, 2012. Back to Footnote #4 in Text
Civic responsibility, ethical decision-making, multicultural awareness, and systems thinking. Back to Footnote #5 in Text
Many college and campus visits included Associate Deans or Directors of Academic Affairs in the conversations. Back to Footnote #6 in Text
ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP INITIATIVE (Slide Presentation)
December 8, 2015
Slide 1 Introduction slide:
Engaged Scholarship Initiative Senate Update December 8, 2015
Slides 2 and 3 Recent Accomplishments:
- Completed Student Expo 2015
- Completed Engaged Scholar Society draft
- Completed student badging system draft
- Completed Engaged Scholarship Symposium 2015
- In-progress two-year marketing plan, phase 1 underway
- Completed faculty-staff rewards national benchmark study
- Initiated campus-based inventory engaged scholarship activities
- Completed meetings w/16 Deans, 1 Director, 12 Chancellors
- Completed Engaged Scholarship Report for Deans-Chancellors
- Completed Development White Paper
- Engaged 20 courses & 1,100 students, including engagement competencies assessments
- Developed and implemented 21 engaged scholarship modules in 83 classes with 1,944 students
- Developed slides for three Gen Ed courses & 2,925 students on research, internships, education abroad opportunities related to course content
- Organized Council all-hands meeting, May 2015; five focus areas emerged
- Restructured Council Committees to align w/focus areas, September 2015
Slide 4 Action Steps 2015-2016:
- Five Focus Areas
- Faculty, Staff and Student Engagement
Slide 5 Informational Report Consideration 1:
- Consideration #1: Establish a graduation requirement that all students complete an engaged scholarship activity (0-18 credits) during their baccalaureate degree program.
Slide 6 Informational Report Consideration 2:
- Consideration #2: Create a Special Senate Committee to establish broad parameters of what an engaged scholarship experience is so that academic units can recognize, organize, and track student experiences.
Slide 7 Informational Report Consideration 3:
- Identify and establish reward and recognition strategies for faculty and staff involved in engaged scholarship.