The following are suggestions of documents that could be included or adapted in a dossier to document the quality of a scholar's community-engaged work:
- Career Statement
- Curriculum Vita
- Statement of Assigned Responsibilities
- Teaching Portfolios
- Letters of Support/Appreciation from Community Members/Partners
- Peer Review Letters from Community Leaders
- Publications in Media Aimed at Community Partners
- Peer-Reviewed Publications that Report on Community-Engaged Scholarship
Depending on each institution and department' standards and guidelines for preparing promotion and tenure materials, some of these may or may not be useful to individual scholars. Community-engaged scholars are encouraged to use these ideas in the context of the requirements of the institutions in which they work.
For additional ideas, including examples from actual dossiers, visit the Community-Engaged Scholarship (CES) Toolkit.
As a part of their career statement, scholars can discuss the role of CES to their career and academic development. Some institutions require the scholar to specifically address research and teaching accomplishments in either subsections of the Career Statement or in separate essays. The scholar should take this opportunity to illustrate how CES enhances the rigor of their research or teaching, the reach of their work, community impact, and student outcomes.
Within the format allowed by their institutions, community-engaged scholars can use their vita to highlight the importance of community-engagement to their scholarly work. For example, sections of the vita could be developed to highlight community activities, consultative and advisory positions, and articles or reports co-authored with community partners. It is particularly important that the role of community partners be highlighted. It is essential that community-engaged scholars document their work to be scholarly, in that it creates, advances, or extends knowledge. Mere provision of community service, while being a form of community engagement, cannot be considered to be CES.
Ideas from the CES Toolkit include:
- Place a star on publications where one or more of your co-authors was a community partner. This highlights your commitment to recognizing community partners for their scholarly contributions.
- Place a star on publications where one of your students was a first author. This highlights your commitment to mentoring your students, and your willingness to support their development.
- Cite training manuals for community and innovative educational materials under publications. Highlight these products in your Career Statement or essays, especially if you are able to indicate how they were peer reviewed and what potential impact they are having on learners, community members or policy makers. Cite evaluation reports.
- Highlight your service work in three areas: (1) University Service, (2) Professional Service and (3) Community Service. This method of categorizing your service can show your committee the breadth of your commitment to service both within the university and beyond. Avoid placing research and teaching activities within the Community Service area. If these activities are scholarly, they belong in the Research and Teaching related sections.
Community-engaged scholars can also document the importance of community-engagement as it relates to their assigned responsibilities. Sadly, in many academic settings, faculty members are evaluated for promotion and tenure on criteria that are out of alignment with the responsibilities they are asked to assume on a daily basis. Inclusion of a statement of assigned responsibilities or work assignment, within a dossier, may call attention to the importance of community-engagement as it relates to a scholar’s work.
Teaching portfolios are increasingly used by faculty members for documentation of the scholarship of teaching. Portfolios are ideal venues for faculty members to document the value of community-engagement as related to their teaching as well as scholarship related to their teaching activities. Important components of teaching portfolios are the scholar’s reflective comments, which can be used to explain the value of community-engaged approaches to their work.
Ideas from the CES Toolkit include:
- Integrate literature on the philosophy and outcomes of community-engaged teaching.
- Integrate how your involvement in community engaged teaching relates to your disciplinary content area and/or your research.
- Highlight any leadership roles you have that relate to community-engaged teaching.
- Highlight grants that your have received (both institutional and external funding) to develop courses involving a community components.
- Highlight teaching awards. Highlight nominations for teaching awards. The nomination is an award in and of itself.
- Describe a new or revised class that involves the community as a teaching innovation.
- Cite publications and presentations on innovative community-based education from courses.
- Describe presentations on community-engaged teaching.
- Include excerpts from student reflection journals (with student permission) that detail what students have learned.
- Include excerpts of letters from community partners describing how the service-learning projects have impacted the community.
- Create a summary page in your course syllabi materials that ties how and why you developed your courses back to your teaching statement.
- Solicit evaluations and letters of support from former students. Ask them to send letters directly to your department chair or other appropriate person.
- Involve peers to evaluate your teaching and ask them to assess the components that involve student partnerships with communities.
- Solicit letters from community partners who have been involved in your courses.
- Bold or point to student end-of course summaries that highlight excellence in your teaching.
Such letters can be used to help document the value of the scholarly work as perceived by community leaders and to illustrate community impact and breadth of dissemination.
To be valuable, such letters must provide a critical critique of the scholar’s work from the community’s perspective. Letters of a general nature that lack critical analysis may be counterproductive to the scholar’s promotion and/or tenure application.
Such publications can be used to highlight the importance of this work to community leaders and partners.
Peer-reviewed publications are the most highly respected forms of scholarly communication. It is important that community-engaged scholars, whenever possible, work diligently to communicate their work through peer-reviewed outlets.
For example, CES4Health.info is an online mechanism for the peer-reviewed publication and dissemination of CES products that are in forms other than journal articles.