Scholarship of Engagement

The one sentence description is that Scholarship of Engagement is students meeting learning objectives through participating and interacting in a real activity, with real people, in the real world, and with real consequences.

Ernest Boyer was one of the leading architects of Scholarship of Engagement. In his “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorite” (1990) he defined Scholarship of Engagement as:

"Connecting the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic and ethical problems, to our children, to our schools, to our teachers and to our cities..."

Boyer proposed four interrelated dimensions of scholarship:

  • Discovery- Pursuit of inquiry and investigation in search of new knowledge
  • Integration- Making connections across disciplines that lead to new understandings.
  • Application- Applying knowledge to social, business, civic, and other community issues in a process that tests theory and knowledge.
  • Teaching- Transmitting, transforming and extending knowledge.

Pursuing any one of these dimensions requires some process to go from idea to a result that adds to the body of knowledge. The scientific method of observing, literature review, constructing hypothesis, testing hypothesis, analyzing results, and disseminating results is one such process.

A more general process applicable across multiple dimensions and disciplines is:

  1. Setting goals
  2. Selecting methods
  3. Applying methods
  4. Reflecting on results
  5. Dissemination of results

Scholarship of Engagement adds one element to the process for anyone of these dimensions, which is that the process is conducted as a purposely interactive collaboration between students, teacher, and community partner (figure 1).

Scholarship of Engagement under PACCE requires:

  1. Academic credit (course or independent study):
    • A grade
    • Assessable Student Learning Outcomes
    • Faculty/Academic staff directed
  2. Three committed partners working together
    • Student—Faculty—Community Partner
  3. Significant interaction with the community partner:
    • Some component of the project takes place in a community setting with real people, real situations, and real consequences.
    • The community partner is a fully interactive part of project planning, implementation, dissemination, and evaluation.
    • The community partner is an integrated component of the student learning experience.

Other critical components of Scholarship of Engagement include:

  1. Reflection
    • Processing by the student of the overall experience
  2. Dissemination
    • Is it scholarship if it is not shared?
  3. Professional Recognition
    • Something from the Scholarship of Engagement experience to build the student's (and faculty member's) professional portfolio—"2nd Transcript"
  4. Added Value for the Community Partner

Boyer, Ernest. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Menlo Park, CA, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: 147

PACCE: Contact

Contact Information

Pioneer Academic Center for
Community Engagement (PACCE)

5th Floor Pioneer Tower
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818


See our Contact page for details.