Promotion and Tenure at UNCG

This research team examines policy changes that occurred at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) between 2009 and 2017, with special focus on the years between 2010, when the policy was adopted at the university level, and 2014 when all units and departments had aligned with the university guidelines. The study examines policy content and the alignment between the department, unit, and university-level guidelines. The goals of the study were to gain insight into how units and departments revised policy language to integrate community engagement, and the extent to which these articulations align with community engagement principles and practices per literature in the field. 

Guiding questions included, how, if at all, did units and departments define community engagement? How, if at all, were terms developed in the university policy transferred subsequently into unit and department policies? Is community engagement integrated into the three main areas of faculty work: teaching, research/creative activity and service?  What are the disciplinary variations in the framing of community engagement?


Incorporating Community Engagement in Faculty Reward Policies (Janke, E., Saltmarsh, J., Jenkins, I., & Quan, M). (March 2019). Eastern Region Campus Compact Conference, Providence, RI. (conference handout)

Handout Excerpt:

Drawing on previous scholarship (e.g., O’Meara, Eatman & Peterson, 2015), preliminary findings from our research indicate that revised guidelines should:

  • Provide language of community engagement in college and department level policies.
  • Clearly articulate a definition of scholarship that is not synonymous with the term research, but instead embraces diverse forms of faculty roles, scholarly approaches, methods, audiences for impact, and products.
  • Clearly define community engagement as distinct in purpose and process from other forms of scholarly work (so that it is not confused with applied research, public scholarship, and other forms of experiential education).
  • Recognize the relationship between community-engaged scholarship and the integration of faculty roles.
  • Address who is considered a peer in peer-review.
  • Clearly identify the “products” of community engaged scholarship (providing a range of scholarly artifacts beyond peer-reviewed journal articles).
  • Question the use of the term “rigor” and how and where it is used, and instead, providing guidance around standards of “quality scholarship”, which can be applied across a continuum of diverse scholarly approaches and products.
  • Clarify measures of impact of scholarship, which take into account diverse audiences that may include but which extend beyond academic or disciplinary communities.
  • Provide guidance for the evaluation of community-engaged scholarship.
  • Recognize the role and contribution of inter- and trans-disciplinary knowledge and scholarship in fulfilling the mission’s tripartite mission of teaching, research and service.

We’re Talking About Process: The Primacy of Relationship and Epistemology in Defining Community-engaged Scholarship in Promotion and Tenure Policy (under peer-review)


This study examines how community-engaged scholarship (CES) was defined and described in promotion and tenure policies at a university. Examining 67 policies across university, unit and department levels, findings show meaningful variability with regards to whether and how CES was defined or described. Analysis categorizes the types of descriptions used as outputs, outcomes, and/or processes related to or enacting CES. We address the importance of not just naming, but fully describing the core values of CES; the importance of process as a definitional characteristics, and relationships and epistemology in particular; and, the importance of continuing to explicate the interconnectivity and distinctions between justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and CES. 

Persistence and Proliferation: Integrating Community-Engaged Scholarship into 59 Departments, 7 Units, and 1 University Academic Promotion and Tenure Policies (under peer-review)


Choosing how to recognize community-engaged scholarship in promotion and tenure policies so that it is assessed accurately and fairly remains a relatively new and ongoing challenge for institutions of higher education. This case study examines how one U.S. research university integrated recognition of community-engaged scholarship across all levels of policy, including university, unit, and department. The terms used within and across policies reveal that while some terms were perpetuated across policies, many more terms proliferated across policies. Using organizational change and signaling theories, as well as the Democratic Civic Engagement Framework, analysis raises questions and insights regarding the use of both specificity and ambiguity when choosing and defining terms, and the use of terms across faculty roles of teaching, research/creative activity, and service to signal and address legitimacy of community-engaged scholarship within a larger context of institutional values. 

Research Team

Isabelle Jenkins, MDiv., Director, Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning, College of the Holy Cross

Isabelle Jenkins is the Director of the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning at the College of the Holy Cross. Isabelle also teaches in Holy Cross’ first-year seminar program (the Montserrat Program) and serves as a First-Year Advisor. Isabelle started at Holy Cross in the Chaplains’ Office in 2011 as a Fellow. She then moved to the Donelan Office in 2014, first as Assistant Director and then as Associate Director. Prior to her roles at Holy Cross, Isabelle worked in a variety of Higher Education settings through graduate assistantships including Chaplaincy, Student Life, Career Planning, Title IX Administration, and the Harvard College Women’s Center. Isabelle earned her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in May of 2014. There she studied literature and religion, higher education, and counseling. Isabelle graduated from Holy Cross in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and completed the pre-medical program. Isabelle also served as a fellow in the Episcopal Service Corps in Boston from 2010-2011, working as a Community Organizer in Watertown, MA. In addition to her work at Holy Cross, Isabelle is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Isabelle’s dissertation research focuses on faculty teaching and skill development in culturally responsive pedagogy. Isabelle’s scholarship and practice interests center on how best to create classroom spaces that are inclusive of all types of learners, especially students from racially minoritized backgrounds. Part of these interests include how to cultivate and incentivize faculty and institutional practices to reward innovative, creative, and anti-racist teaching and learning practices. Isabelle lives just outside of Boston and loves running, reading, baking, and the Red Sox!

John Saltmarsh, Ph.D., Professor of Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Dr. John Saltmarsh is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Leadership in Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He publishes widely on community engaged teaching, learning, and research, and organizational change in higher education, including the co-edited book with Mathew Johnson, The Elective Carnegie Community Engagement Classification: Constructing a Successful Application for First-Time and Re-Classification Applicants (2017), the co-edited book Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education (2016) the edited volume with Matthew Hartley, “To Serve a Larger Purpose:” Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education (2011) and with Edward Zlotkowski, Higher Education and Democracy: Essays on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (2011). He is the co-author of the Democratic Engagement White Paper (NERCHE, 2009) and Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Public Engagement in Higher Education (Columbia University Law School: Center for Institutional and Social Change, 2011).  John is a member of the Board of Trustees of College Unbound in Providence, Rhode Island.

 From 2005-2016 he served as the Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). From 1998-2005 he was the director of the national program on Integrating Service with Academic Study at Campus Compact.

Emily Janke, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Community and Economic Engagement, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, UNC Greensboro

Emily M. Janke, PhD, has served as the director of the Institute for Community & Economic Engagement since 2010, where she has supported UNC Greensboro’s transformation as a community-engaged university. She is also an associate professor in the Peace and Conflict Studies department where she contributes to its community-engaged scholarship through teaching, research, and service. As a scholar-administrator, Emily has advanced practice and scholarship in the areas of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scholarship with diverse and inclusive teams; the equitable treatment of community-engaged scholarship in workload, hiring, and promotion and tenure policy and practices; strategic efforts to track and monitor community engagement and public service within and across institutions; pluralistic and open scholarly communications; resident-level community boards to support respectful institutional engagement; and the use of restorative practices in interpersonal, intergroup, and organizational culture. 

Emily was inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholars in 2021 and served as a Senior Fellow for Duke University’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement in the Office of Durham and Community Affairs in 2022.  She has been honored to receive the Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award given by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, the Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award given by the North Carolina Campus Compact, the Early Career Researcher Award and the Dissertation Award given by the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, and the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement given by American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project. She is a co-author of Collaboratory®, a publicly searchable, online database of community engagement activities within and across institutions of higher education. She has served on the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Elective Classification since 2014 and is on the editorial boards of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, the Metropolitan Universities Journal, and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. She enjoys collaborating with a variety of scholars (inclusively defined) to re-imagine the future of community engagement in higher education so that it is more inclusive, impactful, restorative, and just.

Melissa Quan, Ed.D., Director, Center for Social Impact, Fairfield University 

Melissa Quan is Director of the Center for Social Impact at Fairfield University where she has worked since 2002. As director, she leads the strategic growth and development of academic community engagement. Melissa completed her Master’s in Education at Fairfield University in 2005 and earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston in May 2021. She served as interim Executive Director of Connecticut Campus Compact from 2008-2009 and later as a Research Fellow with Campus Compact’s Community-Engaged Professionals project. She has several publications that focus on professional development within the field of Higher Education Community Engagement, institutional change, and community-engaged teaching and learning. Melissa is an alumnus of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (1998-1999) and currently serves on the Board of Directors with RYASAP (Regional Adult and Youth Social Action Partnership). She lives in Fairfield, CT with her husband, two children, two grandparents, and a pup.