What We Do

An individual is writing on a poster paper that says "Action."

What is public scholarship?

Public scholarship means different things to different people, but broadly defined it is teaching, research and learning that has a public impact. At UC Davis, we use the term “public scholarship” as it makes explicit who we serve as a public land-grant institution, but also that we see this work as being broad and inclusive of different forms of scholarship that vary by discipline and types of scholarly activity. Public scholarship exemplifies excellence in research, teaching, and creative practice that focuses on issues of public concern. It is useful to and developed in concert with diverse audiences beyond the university

What does public scholarship look like?

This type of scholarly activity takes many forms, some of which are:

  • Collaborative relationships with local communities to provide access to university resources
  • Intellectual pursuits and organized research that inform and shape public policies and debates
  • Scientific and technological breakthroughs that improve people’s lives

Collectively, these activities have impact at different geographic scales, across sectors, and between disciplines that aim to improve the well-being of individuals, communities, and the planet. They:

  • Reflect our land-grant mission to serve the public good
  • Build the collective capacity and scholarly excellence of the UC Davis community
  • Increase our impact and visibility through mutually-beneficial relationships that have local, regional, statewide, and global reach

Want to know more?

For a description of Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE), visit our About page. For a brief history of public scholarship and engagement at UC Davis, visit our History page.