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Community Engagement at the U

Since it's founding in 1850, the University of Utah has been home to people committed to community. This passion for shared knowledge, improved well-being and expanding research drives faculty, students, and staff to imagine new possibilities within the context of community. It is a collaboration that results in transformation.

That is why community engagement is a core component of the University of Utah's strategic plan. Engaging with communities to improve health and quality of life helps meet critical needs of the individual, the institution, and the populace at large. 

Today the U builds on its commitment to community engagement by discovering, developing, and expanding best practices in teaching and learning, research, scholarship, and service.  "We have an obligation to our students, our state, our nation to be a higher education innovator - leading the way in developing creative strategies that deliver value and ensure exceptional experiences in higher education. The U's value comes not only in our commitment to our students and patients, but from our commitment to innovation and discovery."    Ruth V. Watkins, President, University of Utah



Community Engagement -- the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

Community Engaged Scholarship -- Investigation, analysis, and the transformation and dissemination of knowledge based on community-informed, reciprocal partnerships involving the university and community members.

Community Based Research is a “collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings.

Community Based Teaching and Learning takes place within the community and is designed to affect the community directly. The participants are community members and not necessarily traditional students. It can be reciprocal but that is not its primary purpose, community impact is the primary objective.

Community Engaged Learning courses must address best practices in community engagement: the partnership has to be reciprocal; the service has to address an area need in the community, it must be curricular based; the syllabus must address specific learning outcomes related to engagement, and it must include a reflection component.

Faculty Service is service done by faculty directly for the community (not service to the university, a discipline, a profession, or a particular religious denomination). Service must be voluntary and participants must receive no or minimal remuneration.

Student Service must be co-curricular and voluntary. Students cannot receive monetary compensation or course credit, and service efforts must be tied directly to the community (not the community of students at the university or to a particular religious denomination.)

Staff Service is service done by university staff directly for the community on behalf of the university (not service to the university, a discipline, a profession, or a particular religious denomination). Service must be voluntary and participants must receive no or minimal remuneration.

Outreach: University resources are used to benefit the community. While outreach often increases awareness and accessibility for the university, these outcomes are incidental and the primary focus remains benefiting the community. Although the university contributes to public life in the surrounding community (the arts, athletics, etc.), this particular type of outreach focuses on bringing educational and service-oriented resources into the community.

Last Updated: 3/15/21