Academic Research

The Promise of University-Assisted Community Schools to Transform American Schooling: A Report From the Field, 1985–2012 (2013)
Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 8, Issue 5
Ira Harkavy, Matthew Hartley, Rita Axelroth Hodges, and Joann Weeks

Democratic Transformation through University-Assisted Community Schools” (2011)
Chapter from “To Serve a Larger Purpose”: Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education by John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley
Lee Benson, Ira Harkavy, and John Puckett

Conceptualization of the Scholarship of Engagement in Higher Education: A Strategic Review, 1996–2006
Lorilee R. Sandmann

Abstract : During the past decade, the generalized concept of the scholarship of engagement has evolved. Once a broad call for higher education to be more responsive to communities, it is now a multifaceted field of responses. This article describes the evolution of the term; then, to clarify the “definitional anarchy” that has arisen around its use, it explores the past decade’s punctuations in the evolutionary progress of the concept. Finally, it calls for moving beyond descriptive, narrative works to more critical, empirical research as well as policy analysis and introduces the possibility that the next punctuation will be the development of engaged scholarship’s own theory.
The Centrality of Engagement in Higher Education
Author(s): Fitzgerald, Hiram E. ; Bruns, Karen ; Sonka, Steven T. ; Furco, Andrew ; Swanson, Louis
Source: Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, v16 n3 p7-27 Sep 2012. 21 pp.
Peer Reviewed: Yes
ISSN: 1534-6102
Descriptors: Higher Education, Land Grant Universities, Democracy, Expertise, Scholarship, Administrators, Community Involvement, Public Colleges, Citizenship, School Community Relationship, Partnerships in Education, Evaluation, Higher Education
Identifiers: United States, Morrill Act 1862, Hatch Act, Smith Lever Act

The centrality of engagement is critical to the success of higher education in the future. Engagement is essential to most effectively achieving the overall purpose of the university, which is focused on the knowledge enterprise. Today's engagement is scholarly, is an aspect of learning and discovery, and enhances society and higher education. Undergirding today's approach to community engagement is the understanding that not all knowledge and expertise resides in the academy, and that both expertise and great learning opportunities in teaching and scholarship also reside in non-academic settings. By recommitting to their societal contract, public and land-grant universities can fulfill their promise as institutions that produce knowledge that benefits society and prepares students for productive citizenship in a democratic society. This new engagement also posits a new framework for scholarship that moves away from emphasizing products to emphasizing impact.
Place-Building Theory: A Framework for Assessing and Advancing Community Engagement in Higher Education
Author(s): Kimball, Michael J. ; Thomas, David F.
Source: Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, v18 n2 p19-28 Spr 2012. 10 pp.
Peer Reviewed: Yes
ISSN: 1076-0180
Descriptors: School Community Relationship, Universities, Social Responsibility, Social Theories, Stakeholders, Inquiry, Courses, Anthropology, College Role, Higher Education, Postsecondary Education
Identifiers: Colorado

Place-building theory, originally developed to assess corporate social responsibility, explains to what degree an organization values and invests in its geographical and social location. Different lines of inquiry--descriptive, evaluative, and prescriptive--elucidate how the organization values place, which in turn suggests its type, its strategies for building place, and recommendations for how it might move in a desired direction between the ends of a place-building continuum that includes four organizational prototypes--exploitive, contingent, contributive, and transformational. In this paper, we introduce place-building theory, the notion of the placekeeper (place-based stakeholder), and apply the theory to assessing a university's community engagement. We then demonstrate how a university course can use the place-building method to discover perceptions of the university's place-building role held by students, staff, administrators, faculty, and community partners as a way to engage students and other placekeepers in assessing, advancing, and critically examining community engagement in institutions of higher education.
(definition of ABCS with additional resources within Netter Center website)
Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) is at the core of the Netter Center’s work. ABCS students and faculty work with West Philadelphia public schools, local communities of faith and community organizations to solve critical campus and community issues in a variety of areas related to the environment, health, arts and education.

  • Is service rooted in and intrinsically linked to teaching and research.
  • Focuses on problem-solving research and teaching.
  • Promotes learning through service.
  • Emphasizes student and faculty reflection on the service experience.
  • Fosters structural community improvement including effective public schools, neighborhood development, and community organizations.
  • Reaffirms Ben Franklin’s belief that: “The great Aim and End of all Learning… is service [to society]."


Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
(listed on this page is Complete College description and pdf)

PDF version (1.1m)

Oklahoma's higher education system is recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as accountable, efficient and affordable, and one that greatly benefits our citizens. No entity in state government can help Oklahoma reach its stated goals of educational excellence and workforce development faster or more comprehensively than public higher education.

Complete College America
Since the September 2011 launch by Gov. Mary Fallin, progress continues to reach Oklahoma’s goal of increasing the number of degrees and certificates earned by 67 percent by 2023.

2011: 30,500 Degrees and Certificates
2012 Projected: 32,200 Degrees and Certificates
2012 Actual: 33,445* Degrees and Certificates
2023 Goal: 50,900 Degrees and Certificates

In the first year of the Complete College America initiative, the number of degrees and certificates earned in Oklahoma increased by 2,945, surpassing the state’s annual goal of 1,700.

*Does not include career technology center degrees and certificates.









Ira Harkavy

Dr. Ira Harkavy conducting a seminar