Community Engagement

University of Northern Iowa - Community Engagement

Community Engaged Department/Program Institute

CANCELED: Community Engaged Department/Program Institute
Office of Community Engagement
University of Northern Iowa

The CEDI is canceled for 2020-21
Application Submission Deadline: April 10, 2020


The Community Engaged Department/Program Institute is a pilot program established to advance the institutionalization of public engagement at the University of Northern Iowa by integrating public engagement into the programmatic features of an academic program/unit. The Institute will lead the efforts of an academic program to plan, establish, implement, and evaluate strategic initiatives that advance the integration of public engagement into the departments’/programs’ research, teaching, and co-curricular activities.

A community engaged program is one that:

  • Utilizes public engagement as a strategy to achieve key academic goals for students and faculty;

  • Incorporates public engagement (local and/or global) into academic coursework to enhance student learning and development; 

  • Encourages and supports high quality community-based research and engaged scholarship among faculty and/or students; and

  • Supports collaborative co-curricular activities between members of the department and members of the community (non-profits, government, industry, etc.)


This engaged department/program initiative supports various approaches to public engagement that includes, but is not limited to, community-based research studies, participatory action research, academic service-learning courses, issue-focused clinical practice, community-based capstone experiences, and collaborative partnerships through co-curricular activities.  

Through the Community Engaged Department/Program Institute, academic units develop and implement an action plan designed to advance and deepen public engagement into their research, teaching agendas, and co-curricular activities. The action plan will result in a path through a program/major allowing students to build skills and abilities through scaffolding experiences connected throughout their program of study, while simultaneously supporting faculty and staff in their involvement in community and advancement of their research and scholarship.

Process – Form a Community Engaged Team

Faculty/instructors from an academic program/major will form a Community Engaged Team who will lead this effort. Preferably a team will be comprised of:

  • At least 50% or more of the total program’s faculty/instructors;

  • At least 50% of the team is tenure/tenured track;

  • At least one tenured faculty member.

Key Components

The Community Engaged Team (with some phases including full participation from all members of the program) will participate in a six-phased, 12-month institute that includes: 

  1. Assessment:  During this phase the faculty/instructors of an academic unit will use the Assessment Rubric for Institutionalizing Community Engagement in Higher Education to determine the current status of the unit’s skills, abilities, and knowledge of best practices to ascertain the strengths and limitations of community-engagement and service-learning activities in the academic program. 
  2. Service-Learning Institute (SLI):  During this phase the Community Engaged Team members will participate in the Service-Learning Institute, May 19-20, 2020. This is a 1 ½ day workshop that includes a community tour, and a training on service-learning pedagogy. 
  3. Planning and Development: During this phase the Community Engaged Team will assess the curriculum and the current state of community engaged research, teaching and co-curricular activities and develop a draft plan for enhancing their public engagement. During this phase potential community partners will be identified. The Community Engaged Team will participate:

    May 26, 2020 - Full-day workshop to assess, create a plan, and discuss potential partners.

    Fall 2020 - ½ day workshop for Community Engaged Team and community partners to plan together.

    Spring 2021 - ½ day workshop for Community Engaged Team and community partners to continue planning.

  4. Forming Mutually Beneficial Community Partnerships: This work will be ongoing. The Office of Community Engagement and the Volunteer Center of Cedar Valley will work with the academic program to enhance partnerships, foster new partnerships, and support the implementation of plans/projects. 

  5.  Implementation: During this phase the plan is implemented. This work is ongoing.

  6. Reporting: The academic program will establish on-going assessment plan, identify lessons learned that can be shared with others, and provide documentation of the different approaches others can use to advance community engagement and service-learning.


Participating Community Engaged Team members will receive stipends to take on the leadership of this effort. Each Community Engaged Team may be awarded up to $9000 to be distributed equally among team members, not to exceed $1800 per member. (Amounts will vary depending on the number of participating faculty/instructors).

Participating community partners will receive stipends for their participation in planning and implementation. 

Approximately $5000 is available to support projects developed through these efforts.

Who should apply?

This institute is designed for an academic program that is committed to advancing the institutionalization of public engagement at the University of Northern Iowa by advancing public engagement into the programmatic features of their academic program. Community Engaged Team members should be prepared to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate their community engaged and service-learning activities as a team for their academic program.