New Article: Reimagining Community Engagement for a Post-COVID World

Posted by Inside Higher Ed on November 23, 2021

Higher education was forced to face the uncertainties of the pandemic’s wrath in 2020. For many academics, that meant rethinking their approaches to teaching and learning, as well as how key campus and community partners contribute to those processes. The pandemic also drove the creation of programs geared toward re-emphasizing higher education’s civic engagement efforts.

While the notion of community engagement is not novel, evolving approaches to community engagement are now more necessary than ever as we look toward a post-pandemic higher education. We must reimagine how such college and community partnerships can progress to meet the changing needs of our institutions and the communities in which they are situated.

At the heart of community engagement is the partnership between colleges and universities and the local and surrounding communities where both partners are deeply committed to sharing and disseminating knowledge and resources. Such a partnership thrives when both members are engaged in activities that enrich scholarship, research and creative activity; that foster innovative pedagogy and teaching and learning practice; and that seek to develop educated and engaged citizens. When grounded in those foundational tenets, significant outcomes are realized, including strengthened democratic values and civic responsibility, advancement on critical societal issues, and important contributions to the public good. Such high-impact programs are typically affordable, require low overhead, rely on grassroots efforts and provide immersive community engagement and significant practical value.

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