- Supported by the Rita Allen Foundation, the Kavli Foundation, the Bourroughs Wellcome Fund, APLU, and the University of Michigan as part of the Civic Science Fellows Program, APLU and the University of Michigan serve as co-hosts for the APLU Civic Science Fellowship aimed advancing the public good through research and community engagement.
- APLU and the University of Michigan are working to identify institutional best practices for supporting community-engaged research.
Public impact of scholarship is a common aim of public research universities. Yet faculty and staff who pursue such impact often cite a lack of advancement, reward, and supportive promotion policies and practices as core barriers to engaging in this work fully. While these challenges have been acknowledged and studied for years, barriers to modernizing scholarship persist: universities need guidance to align the necessary rhetorical support, policy, resources, and infrastructure to support faculty and staff who do this work and how to better communicate its impact.
APLU’s Modernizing Scholarship for the Public Good effort focuses on the ways public research universities can support scholars and advance reward and recognition related to Public Impact Research, Cooperative Extension, civic science, and other forms of public engagement , with special attention to the ways that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are integral to this work. Dr. Elyse Aurbach, the APLU Civic Science Fellow and the Assistant Director for Public Engagement and Research Impacts at the University of Michigan, is leading this effort.
The project will focus on four integrated efforts:
- Synthesizing and framing the scholarly literature around advancement, reward, and promotion related to Public Engagement (PE), Public Impact Research (PIR), Cooperative Extension (CE), and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice efforts (drawing inspiration from other reform efforts, related to innovation, entrepreneurship, teaching & learning, etc.).
- Developing case studies for “leading edge” institutions to identify what exemplifies their policy and programmatic success in supporting, recognizing, and rewarding scholars in their PE, PIR, and DEIJ, including examining their centers and Cooperative Extension offices (e.g. mid-level infrastructure), resourcing, faculty/staff experience, and where possible, evaluation criteria.
- Creating a framework for action with interventions to better support engaged and DEIJ-oriented scholars across the academic hierarchy and in different institutions, with an emphasis on public and land-grant universities. This framework will provide guidance for decision makers, center and Cooperative Extension (and other mid-level infrastructure) leaders, and faculty on how to best leverage their assets to support PE, PIR, and DEIJ efforts, including through the lenses evaluation, advancement, reward, and promotion.
- Extending and expanding the work via APLU and the Civic Science Fellows program; drawing on leaders from across research engagement initiatives to identify leading approaches and metrics to support, advance, and assess faculty contributions to research based on its impact or degree of public engagement. The work is being undertaken in collaboration with the vice presidents for research, communications, engagement, academic affairs, and food/agriculture/natural resources/extension councils of APLU, as well as a coalition of leaders across University of Michigan offices, centers, and initiatives. The project will also connect to and draw inspiration from other members of the Civic Science Fellows network and their projects.
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