Expanding Engagement Opportunities at a Large Land-Grant Research University: The Engagement Ecosystem Model
Khanjan Mehta, Irena Gorski, Chang Liu, Suzanne Weinstein, Chas Brua, and Adam Christensen
Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship
Mehta, K., Gorski, I., Liu, C., Weinstein, S., Brua, C., Christensen, A., “Expanding Engagement Opportunities at a Large Land-Grant Research University: The Engagement Ecosystem Model” Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, Vol. 8, No. 2., pp 44-58, 2015
How does a public university with over 80,000 students across 24 campuses provide every student with an engaged scholarship experience? This article chronicles the first steps of this ambitious journey to educate a new generation of engaged scholars by building engagement ecosystems: networks of students, faculty, courses, and communities working together on compelling socially relevant projects around a common theme. By incorporating projects from an impact-focused community engagement program into a cross-section of existing classes, universities can expand engagement opportunities from a select few to the vast majority of the students. This article reviews current approaches to scale engagement opportunities before describing the principles and mechanics of the Engagement Ecosystem model. A case study of the pilot implementation of this model is presented with preliminary assessment results, key lessons learned, and future expansion plans.