Arguing for the Legitimacy of Engaged Scholarship

Recently I have been challenged to consider ways in which we can raise the justified legitimacy of engaged scholarship. In Hartford last June, nearly 200 people gathered to recognize the great work going on by engaged scholars right around the state, culminating in the awarding of Dr. Jenn Klug at Fairfield University for her research on lake dead zones (below). The role of Campus Compact in raising the legitimacy of that work is undeniable but is the network of engaged scholars nationally and here in New Jersey large enough, supported enough, or visible enough. I would argue that it is not and that we collectively have to do a lot more to build up momentum that can last.

This call to action was echoed at the recent Lynton Colloquium at UMass Boston where, among the speakers, was my dear friend Dr. KerryAnn O'Meara. She referenced the need to address issues of engaged scholarship directly through campus norms and practices, focusing on:

·         Legitimacy – what it means to be valued at an institution,

·         Agency – actions and perspectives to achieve goals

·         Expression – wanting to take research into communities and at least not be hindered by culture

... and that we can try and deal with these issues by:

1, Advocating for new funding priorities around broader impacts – already taking place at Lumina / Gates / Teagle / Victoria /

2. Creating Social Networks of engaged scholars – the analogy used was tree roots and, for networks of scholars, not tree roots in and of themselves but networks of root systems such as the Redwoods of California

At our annual Faculty Institute on promotion and tenure which takes place during the ERCC conference, KerryAnn lays out much of the issues that can be struggled with and overcome, viewable at

Video on engaged scholarship featuring Dr. Jennifer Klug. Associate Professor of Biology, Fairfield University
Dr. Klug partnered in her engaged scholarship on water nutrification/lake dead zones with Friends of the Lake. The research is highly relevant to Klug’s scholarly agenda, while reports are used to educate lake users and policy-makers, enhance resource management, promote student application of discipline-specific learning, and enhance Fairfield University’s role as stewards of place.


Stewards of Place.pdf
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Interrogating Assumptions Final.doc
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