Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement – “Community Engagement in the COVID-19 Reality”

Posted by Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement on June 30, 2020

The mission of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (JHEOE) is to serve as the premier peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journal to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities. This includes highlighting innovative endeavors; critically examining emerging issues, trends, challenges, and opportunities; and reporting on studies of impact in the areas of public service, outreach, engagement, extension, engaged research, community-based research, community-based participatory research, action research, public scholarship, service-learning, and community service.

Call for Proposals for Special Issue:

The JHEOE invites proposals that are research articles, reflective essays, projects with promise, or relevant dissertation overviews related to the theme of “Community Engagement in the COVID-19 Reality.” Descriptions of JHEOE submissions categories can be found at

Due to social distancing, rapid movement to online teaching, school closures, and a variety of other disruptions, it is no understatement that COVID-19 has had a significant impact not only on our everyday lives, but also on the field of community engagement.  The pandemic is perhaps the first time the global field of community engagement has shared the same significant disruption. It is unknown whether our lives will go back to normal, or if a new normal will emerge, and subsequently what the long-term impact will be on the field of community engagement.  As a result, it is imperative that community engagement scholars and practitioners begin documenting the significant professional development and transformative learning created by COVID-19.  It is important, as Scharmer noted, to recognize that, “there are two different sources of learning: (1) learning by reflecting on the past and (2) learning by sensing and actualizing emerging future possibilities” (Scharmer, 2018, p. 9).  There is significant learning that can result from reflecting on the experiences of living through the COVID-19 reality in real time.  Beyond this though, it is also important that community engagement scholars begin looking toward the future of the field and considering how we can shape the future of community engagement as we emerge from these strange times.

This special issue of JHEOE seeks proposals that are grounded in community engagement literature and focus on the lesson(s) learned during the COVID-19 reality.  We are most interested in research based pieces that explore how practice is shifting due to the current reality rather than isolated or one time projects.  Additionally, we seek proposals that explore how we may begin building the future of the field.  Topics that might be explored include how institutions are responding to the unique needs of their community during the pandemic and research studies associated with these responses; issues of equity and justice that have emerged or have been exacerbated by COVID-19; innovative solutions to continuing community engagement work in spite of significant and rapid disruption to all aspects of life; ways that public knowledge has become even more grounded in serving the community; ways that dialog among partners and institutions have shifted related to mutual influence and collaboration; and reflections on what we wish we had known prior to this crisis. Across all these themes there should be a critical perspective that examines elements of success and failure, lessons learned, innovative approaches, impact, and perhaps things never to do again.  Additionally, we invite reflective essay or thought pieces that begin to explore how community engagement scholars and practitioners might be part of creating the new normal for experiential learning and campus-community relationships.  We encourage submissions that highlight institution-wide responses, as well as inter-institutional endeavors that describe and analyze collaborative interactions with communities. Please give attention to lessons learned from project design, leadership, operational aspects, communication strategies, and assessment/feedback processes.  Inclusion of community partner perspectives and voice should also be considered.

A teleconference for interest scholars will be held with guest editors Dr. Brian Davenport and Dr. Barbara Holland on July 10, 2020 at 1:00 PM PDT and will allow for dialogue about both the submission process as well as the focus of this special issue as described above.  Proposals of no more than 750 words should be submitted no later than September 1, 2020 to  Proposals should include the subject of the article, the central thesis of the article, how the article relates to the theme of the special issue, how it builds on or contradicts the existing community engagement literature,  and the nature of the piece (research article, reflective essay, projects or new practices with promise, or relevant dissertation overview). See for information on these journal submission categories.  Invitations for full articles will be extended no later than October 1, 2020 with full articles due no later than December 15, 2020.  A summary of relevant dates can be found below:

  • July 10, 2020:  Teleconference at 1:00 PM PDT with guest editors for inquiring authors.  Register here for zoom meeting.
  • September 1, 2020: Proposals due (no greater than 750 words). Email to with “JHEOE Special Issue” in the subject line
  • October 1, 2020: Proposals selected and invitations for full articles extended to authors
  • December 15, 2020: Full articles due
  • January 30, 2021: Article selections made; authors notified
  • February 28, 2021: Requested edits sent to authors
  • August 2021: Special issue published


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