Community & Friends

Community Engagement Graduate Student Network

Sponsored by the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) and the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning (OLSL), the Community Engagement GradSN is an informal, interdisciplinary group of graduate students interested in the practice and scholarship of service-learning and community engagement as it relates to their current work and future goals. The network leverages the vast resources available at UNCG around community-engaged scholarship. To join the UNCG Community Engagement Graduate Student Network, please contact Lori Kniffin, Lekniffi@uncg.edu.

Community Engagement Definition

Community engagement (also referred to as civic engagement) is the “collaboration (among) institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

Through community engagement, community and university knowledge and resources are brought together in and out of the classroom, as well as on and off campus to “enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.” The “community” in community engagement is not defined by sector, such as private or public, for-profit or nonprofit; rather, community is broadly defined to include individuals, groups, and organizations external to campus that use collaborative processes for the purpose of contributing to the public good.

Do you participate in Community Engagement?

When faculty are involved in community-engaged work, it is most often through their teaching and research. The same is true for graduate students, but it may look less formalized. Students may practice community engagement either inside or outside of the classroom, with and without faculty and staff, individually, in groups, through programs (e.g., academic and co-curricular living-learning communities), research, creative activities, and courses – when enacted collaboratively with community partners through processes that exemplify reciprocal partnerships and public purposes. While community engagement encompasses a wide variety of activities, the processes and purposes often encompass:

  • Co-learning, co-teaching, co-researching for the purpose of social justice
  • Participating within a mutually beneficial partnership between community and university
  • Working with your partner to address challenges instead of solve problems for them

This network is to support students in both learning about and participating in community-engaged practice and scholarship.

UNCG Resources for Graduate Students

ICEE has curated several resources around community engagement:

OLSL offers community-based research grants that support proposals that represent collaborative partnerships among community partner, student, and faculty teams. The award includes $500 for a graduate researcher.

Other Community-Engaged Graduate Initiatives