Community Engagement

Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

Professional Development in Community-Engaged Scholarship

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities 

Engaged Learning Sparklabs

The Center for Engaged Learning, the Office of Community Engagement, and the Delphi Center are partnering to offer Engaged Learning Sparklabs, where instructors across disciplines have the chance to learn more about designing courses that connect class-based learning to broader contexts through hands-on experiences.


Friday, March 31, 12:00-1:15 p.m. Register Now Lunch will be provided

Wednesday, May 10, 12:00-1:15 p.m. Register Now Lunch will be provided

The new Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) has a goal to provide an enriching engaged learning experience to all undergraduate students. The CEL defines engaged learning as contexts in which students apply their knowledge to expand and deepen their skillset by participating in concrete experiences beyond the classroom which require reflection, perspective taking, critical thinking, and active exploration.

All UofL instructors interested in offering engaged learning experiences to their students are invited to attend. These labs are designed to spark ideas and dialogue among participants about creating and improving engaged learning experiences for all UofL students.

Topics covered:

  • What is engaged learning
  • Enhancing student learning and persistence through engaged learning
  • Integrating key instructional practices that promote engaged learning
  • Exploring different engaged learning experiences
  • Identifying faculty resources and needs
  • Creating an engaged learning action plan

During the Sparklab, you will:

  • Engage with the six key practices that promote engaged learning
  • Identify instructional resources and needs to support engaged learning
  • Create a plan of actionable steps to promote or provide engaged learning experiences to your students


  • Caroline Boswell, Acting Co-Associate Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Henry Cunningham, Director, Office of Community Engagement
  • Paul DeMarco, Professor of Psychology and Brain Science, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and Interim Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, Center for Engaged Learning
  • Erica Gabbard, Director of Experiential Learning, Center for Engaged Learning

Past Professional Development Opportunities 

Accounting for Community Engaged Scholarship in the Promotion and Tenure Process with Sara Goodkind

Date: November 2, 2022

Session Description

Community-engaged scholarship is an approach in which university faculty and community partners collaborate in research that generates knowledge to meet mutually agreed-upon goals with reciprocal benefit and public impact. Such research, due to its collaborative nature, often takes longer than other common forms of academic research and generates both academic and public-facing products (for example, both peer-reviewed journal articles and public reports and presentations). Because of these differences, it is essential that schools and departments understand the principles of community-engaged scholarship and develop ways to mentor and support community-engaged scholars through the tenure and promotion process. Based on an effort to institutionalize these procedures at the University of Pittsburgh, this session will provide information and guidance for faculty, chairs, deans, and others involved in these processes.

  1. Name guiding principles of community-engaged scholarship.
  2. Identify some of the challenges facing faculty involved in community-engaged scholarship as they navigate the promotion and tenure process.
  3. Explore strategies to support these faculty at the department/school level.
  4. Describe recommendations for community-engaged faculty to proactively prepare for the promotion and tenure process.
  5. Describe recommendations for those reviewing dossiers of community-engaged scholars.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Sara Goodkind, Ph.D., MSW, is Professor of Social Work, Sociology, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches courses that support social workers in developing structural competence and cultural humility. Dr. Goodkind is a critical feminist scholar whose work examines the structural roots of what are too often framed as individual “problems.” Specifically, much of her research and scholarship focus on social service programs and systems that work with young people, concentrating on young people’s experiences in educational, child welfare, and juvenile legal systems. Dr. Goodkind’s research examines and exposes institutional biases and systemic inequities, tracing young people’s pathways through systems and providing evidence and recommendations for systems and policy change. Dr. Goodkind developed her research interests through her work with young people as a teacher, mentor, facilitator, and social worker, and she is engaged in collaborative community-engaged research aimed at effecting systemic change. Last year, Dr. Goodkind chaired an ad-hoc committee at the University of Pittsburgh charged with developing recommendations for schools and departments to account for community-engaged scholarship in the promotion and tenure process.


Understanding Community-Engaged Scholarship: A Conversation on Promotion & Tenure (September 28, 2022)

Higher education has for many years played a vital role in contributing to our society by engaging with our communities through research, teaching, and outreach. One of the challenges facing this work is the lack of legitimacy it faces within higher education itself in relation to promotion and tenure purposes. Similarly, there is the lack of knowledge from the broader community on the contribution higher education is making to society. To change this mentality higher education must transform itself. It needs to recognize and demonstrate the value, relevance, and impact of community engagement. The conversation was led by Dr. Barbara Holland, higher education scholar, a pioneer and expert in the field of community engagement along with UofL’ s Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Dr. Henry Cunningham, Director of Community Engagement.


Community Engagement: Navigating Challenges and Pitfalls in Teaching and Research (February 18, 2022)

Community engagement is a common method of teaching and conducting research as university campuses implement experiential learning opportunities with a community partner to enhance learning and engage in research. However, community engagement can come with many challenges whether in teaching or conducting research. These challenges are exacerbated because of the collaborative nature of this work with a community partner which is done in a spirt of mutuality and reciprocity. This session will explore some of the challenges encountered in both local and international community engagement and strategies to navigate some of these challenges as well as how to be proactive to minimize negative impact from this work.

As a result of attending this session you will be able to:

  1. Identify some of the challenges that can be expected from community engaged work
  2. Explore strategies to overcome challenges encountered in community engagement
  3. Identify ways to be proactive in navigating university-community partnerships

Presenter Bios:

Dr. Kelly Kinahan, Ph.D., AICP, is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Urban Planning (MUP) program in the Department of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville, where she teaches planning and urban studies courses. Dr. Kinahan’s research focuses on community development, neighborhood planning, and affordable housing. She collaborates on interdisciplinary, community-engaged research for nonprofit and local government partners in Louisville, KY.

Dr. Muriel Harris, Ph.D., MPH is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health & Information Sciences, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Harris is an author of two textbooks and has a special interest in public health program and policy planning, implementation, evaluation, and community-based participatory research. She is the Director of the MPH Program and Chair of the Commission on Racial Diversity and Equity (CODRE). Her primary interest and the focus of her research is social determinants of health and the factors that influence the health of individuals and communities globally. Dr. Harris enjoys giving back to her community and does so in multiple ways. In her master’s level classes, students undertake projects to help prepare them for the real world. She has taken students to Ghana on multiple occasions where they engage in community-based public health projects in consultation with the local community. She mentors doctoral students both in the US and internationally. 

Dr. Henry R. Cunningham, Ph.D., is Director of Community Engagement for the University. Dr. Cunningham incorporates community-based learning in his courses. His research interests include institutionalization of community engagement and community partnership development. He has several publications on community engagement, including his most recent book, Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life (Hines-Martin, Cox, & Cunningham) published in 2020. He co-founded and co-directed UofL’s International Service Learning Program, which won two national awards as the best program in international education and learning. Dr. Cunningham also served at the United Nations where he worked on educational issues for sustainable development in developing countries.


2021 Service-Learning Institute

The service-learning institute was a two half day program designed to assist faculty in developing a new service-learning course or modify an existing course to include a service-learning component. At the end of the two days, participants developed ideas and plans for your courses. The Service-Learning Institute was delivered fully online via Microsoft Teams synchronously. All faculty members and graduate students were invited to participate. CLICK HERE FOR FULL SCHEDULE 

Community Engagement

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6026

Office Hours

M-F 8:30am to 5:00pm

No holiday hours

Social Media