A Message from the Vice Provost
I had the honor of presenting at the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) annual conference in October. The gathering was truly a testament to the robust community of practice and interest around publicly engaged research and scholarship. Through organizations such as CUMU, the Engaged Scholarship Consortium, Imagining America and IARSCLE (the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement), UC Davis is part of a national movement bringing about cultural change in higher education toward greater public and community impact.
At the same time, growing mistrust of higher education about its societal value suggests we need to do a better job of communicating our value and honestly assessing our impact. There is much work to do to convince a skeptical public. One way to address this trust gap is for institutions to work towards stronger relationships with communities. For example, what kind of impacts do community partners want to see? Are we creating the right environment for communities, students and faculty to partner? Related, are we creating the correct types of incentives and supports for faculty and staff who are doing this important work? And how is community engagement addressing issues of student success beyond graduation?
The Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement is beginning to tackle these questions and more as we prepare to lead UC Davis through the Carnegie Community Engagement Reclassification process. The reclassification will provide many opportunities to discuss and implement new assessments of community engaged scholarship, research and teaching leading to greater public and community impact. The reclassification process is also a way to showcase the university’s strengths in engaging with communities through coursework, on-going partnerships, and community investments.
Finally, the PSE team recently shared our vision and accomplishments with external reviewers from UCLA, UC Berkeley and Cornell University. The reviewers were impressed by the collaborative ethos of our UC Davis community and the breadth of community partnerships and programs. I am looking forward to reporting the results of this review in an upcoming newsletter.
Vice Provost, Public Scholarship and Engagement