Voices of Engagement

This guest column highlights perspectives and stories from leading community engagement scholars here at Iowa and across our nation. We look forward to sharing the knowledge and expertise of diverse stakeholders who are making a difference on campus and in our world.


Fall 2020

Rigorous and Relevant Community Engagement

Emily Shields
Executive Director
Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact

 

The daily news cycle provides no shortage of reminders that higher education is operating in a changing environment, and the pace of change continues to grow. Campus leaders and educators are faced with new challenges in terms of student needs, workforce demands, and social change. Issues of inclusion, freedom, and justice on campus and in the broader world demand that courses are both rigorous and relevant.

Emily Shields

The work of the Office of Community Engagement and other engagement practitioners at Iowa answers this call by spanning the boundary between classroom learning, university research, and real community needs. As we increasingly encounter complex and interconnected issues that require equally complex and interdisciplinary solutions this boundary-spanning becomes even more important. The skills and knowledge of distinct disciplines relate to each other in ways that students need to be better understand to be prepared for the careers of the future and the needs of their communities. Teachers and researchers must have support for innovating their practices in the face of these changes. It is also critical that community organizations and leaders have a voice to co-create the education and research that impacts the issues they address daily.

The Office of Community Engagement makes these connections possible and ensures that community-engaged teaching, learning, and research are conducted in ethical, high-quality ways that maximize impact for all involved.