Masters Research Project Studies Community Engagement Professionals

Posted by Bonner Foundation on December 14, 2021

In August 2021, Bonner Foundation Community Engagement Director, Liz Brandt, completed a master’s thesis research project through the School of Education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. The project examined the critical practices that support Community Engagement Professionals (CEPs) in actualizing the fulfillment of higher education’s civic mission.

In her research, Liz conducted a review of the literature, pointing to ways that Community Engagement Professionals are largely missing from the current scholarship. Existing community engagement research tends to focus on students, faculty, and increasingly on community partnerships. The little research on staff that does exist focuses on conceptualization and professionalization the Community Engagement Professional role with no current research examining the critical practices related to CEPs.

Liz developed an electronic survey that was administered to self-defined CEPs who responded to an invitation emailed across three online platforms, including the Bonner Network Staff Listserv and a national higher ed listserv for community engagement. To develop the survey questions she drew on her own experience as a Community Engagement Professional, Welch & Saltmarsh’s article “Current Practice and Infrastructures for Campus Centers of Community Engagement” (2013), Lina Dostilio’s The Community Engagement Professional in Higher Education: A Competency Model for an Emerging Field (2017), and the Bonner Foundation’s Bonner Pipeline Project Core Competencies Framework.

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