Campus Expectations for Assessing Community-Engaged Scholarship in Academic Personnel Reviews

August 11, 2023

By Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 
By Maureen Callanan, Co-Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel 
By Susan Gillman, Co-Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel 

August 11, 2023



Campus Expectations for Assessing Community-Engaged Scholarship in Academic Personnel Reviews


Dear Colleagues:

We write to provide guidance on assessing community-engaged scholarship in the academic personnel review process. Community-engaged scholarship includes research conducted in partnership with non-academic agencies and organizations within larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global), creating opportunities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources that make a positive contribution to the public good. Though this type of scholarship aligns with the public university mission, it is often conducted outside the standard framework of peer-review and therefore can involve components that do not produce traditionally recognizable interim milestones or final products. Special effort must therefore be taken to ensure the scholarly output of community-engaged projects is valued appropriately in the academic personnel review process.

Community-engaged scholarship can take a variety of forms. A non-exclusive list of examples is provided here to illustrate some possibilities.

  • Research or inquiry that involves partnerships with community groups and generates new knowledge to address practical problems experienced by public or practitioner audiences. This research may be funded by a community partner, including non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, foundations, government agencies, business enterprises, industries, or trade associations.
  • The application of existing research, in collaboration with a specific community, to address in an innovative way an issue impacting that community.
  • Original creations of literary, fine, performing, or applied arts and other expressions or activities of creative disciplines or fields that are made available to or generated in collaboration with a public (non-university) audience.
When a file includes community-engaged scholarship, it is helpful for the candidate and the department to discuss the methodology underpinning the work, the quality of the scholarship, its significance/impact, and dissemination. The following criteria should be considered in the evaluation of a personnel file.
  1. Methodology
    1. Use of recognized methods to explore research questions, adhering to traditional academic standards. Typically builds upon previous research. See b. and c. for research methods specific to community engagement that extend beyond traditional forms of presentation.
    2. Community engagement processes that are built on trust and reciprocity. Collaboration that enhances the research process through community-engaged approaches with attention to the ethics of collaborative work. Examples include, but are not limited to, collecting data with partner agencies, working through partner networks to reach vulnerable communities, or gaining access to settings that are otherwise inaccessible.
    3. Promoting and being accountable for inclusive, equitable, and respectful collaboration in research environments.
  2. Quality
    1. To aid reviewers who are outside the candidate’s field, efforts should be made at every level of review to assess quality in addition to documenting quantity. Indices of quality should be provided when possible. Indices will vary from field to field, but may include prizes; fellowships; numerical indices of impact, such as citation counts or number and reputation of reviews garnered; external funding; or information about the channels of review and approval for specific projects, selectivity and reputation of venues of publication, exhibition, or performance.
    2. Assessments of quality should address potential questions such as: What new knowledge or understanding has this research created? What important questions, intellectual, social, political, have been posed or answered? What new community partnerships have been created, and how are they transformational?  Are the research or creative contributions original? Does the scholarship include a solution to an especially difficult technical, methodological, or societal challenge? Is the developing body of knowledge making a significant difference to the shape or direction of the field? How, effectively, in what forms, has this research knowledge been translated for external and public audiences?
    3. Because community-engaged, public-facing work frequently spans the three categories of research, teaching, and service, both the department and the reviewers should address this overlap where relevant. ​​The process of being involved with the community in producing knowledge (as a parameter related to but distinct from the output of the collaboration) potentially brings in teaching and mentorship (undergraduate and graduate students and community roles), and service (public participation). (See also below, section 4c.)
  3. Significance/Impact
    1. Consider the potential or actual impact for the scholarship to advance knowledge and provide beneficial outcomes in the communities in which the scholarship is conducted. Examples might include influencing or shaping policy, changing practices, outlining problems that communities identify as critical to address, and making progress toward social equity and/or systemic change that promotes the public interest.
    2. Contributions to knowledge in both the academic field and community. Such contributions might take the form of peer-reviewed academic publications, increased funding for further research, implementation of new programs, public exhibitions, reports, websites, and/or making a significant contribution to the discipline on issues relevant to external partners and the community.
    3. In files where appropriate, external reviewers should be chosen who have expertise to assess community-engaged research contributions, and this review should be formally requested in the departmental External Reviewer solicitation letter.
    4. In some cases, faculty may request additional letters for their personnel files to assess the broader impacts of their community-engaged work. In these cases, the following parameters for peer reviewers may be helpful: 
      • The ways that Professor X collaborated with your organization or community and your assessment of the depth or quality of this relationship;
      • How the scholarship has helped your organization or community in moving forward with its policy, practice, fundraising, or other goals;
      • The role of the scholarship in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion or social justice missions; and
      • The impact of the scholarship beyond your organization or community.
    5. Enhancing the ability of public communities to benefit from the research such as students, community partners, policymakers, local leaders, and the general public.
    6. Impact through a focus on underserved communities, addressing disparities, or addressing the needs of California’s diverse population.
  4. Dissemination
    1. Outcomes (findings, analyses, conclusions, etc.) must be communicated in some form that has permanence and is accessible to the public beyond the immediate sphere of the faculty member and the agency or group with which the work was performed.
    2. The work must be cast in a form that can be disseminated beyond the first-hand, in-person encounters between the researcher and the main research partners. The research must be presented in a form that can have influence beyond its immediate context, is accessible to the public and is durable over time.
    3. Some examples of specific dissemination strategies include: community reports, newsletters, non-scholarly presentations, ongoing relationship building through regular communication webinars and digital trainings, plus other education and outreach activities—including and beyond social media (blogs, podcasts, other online forums).
    4. In addition to community-engaged scholarship, assessment of teaching and service shall also value community-engaged activities. Faculty should explain in their personal statement the extent of work done that may go beyond the usual effort in these activities, for example, a course based on community-engaged activity may need to be redesigned each year as the community partners change, and thus it may be a new course preparation for each offering.
    5. Development of community engagement shall be recognized in any area of research, teaching, and service.


Works Referenced and Additional Resources

American Historical Association. Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship (2023). Available at:

Modern Language Association of America. Guidelines for Evaluating Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship in Language and Literature Programs. Available at:

American Philosophical Association statement on digital and public-oriented philosophy. Available at:

Purdue University. The Guide: Documenting, Evaluating and Recognizing Engaged Scholarship. Office of the Provost. Available at:

University of Arizona. The University’s Inclusive View of Scholarship. Office of Faculty Affairs. Available at:

University of California, Los Angeles. Recognizing Community-Engaged Scholarship in Academic Personnel Review. Undergraduate Education Center for Community Engagement. Available at:

The Pursuit of Collective Excellence in Research at the University of California, April 16, 2017

University of California, Santa Cruz. Committee on Academic Personnel Annual Report, 2021-22. Available at:

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Assessment of Community-Engaged Scholarship. Available at:



Lori Kletzer
Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor                                                                                                  

Maureen Callanan
Co-Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel

Susan Gillman
Co-Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel


Department Managers              
Divisional Academic Personnel Coordinators