Measuring and Encouraging Community Engagement and Economic Development

Topics: Economic Development, Administration and Finance

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Research Questions

  • What metrics do institutions use to measure the success and impact community engagement and economic development initiatives?
  • What systematic assessment mechanisms do institutions employ to track and record data on department-wide, institution-wide, and/or system-wide levels?
  • What initiatives have other institutions established to encourage and reward community engagement among faculty?


Community engagement and economic development in higher education encompasses a wide range of interactions between university and community members (e.g., faculty-initiated projects, student service learning, university-wide initiatives), and institutions struggle to create holistic assessment tools that offer valid, comprehensive measurements of engagement. This brief reviews attempts to develop metrics at six public institutions. Additionally, the report addresses benchmarking, measurement instruments, and encouragement of faculty engagement.