University of Delaware


Faculty at the University of Delaware collaborate with the community to produce scholarly teaching, research, and service products.

According to researchers Kelly Ward and Tami Moore of Washington State University, faculty benefit in very specific ways. These include reclaiming the role of the educator, pursuing passion, and working on the margins of their disciplines.

Select a theme below to learn more.

Defining Community Engagement

Community engagement describes the collaboration between higher education institutions and the larger communities (local, regional/state, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

This definition evolved from the initial work of Ernest Boyer. Boyer (1991) prompted the academy to recognize and reward various forms of scholarship, including the Scholarship of Teaching, the Scholarship of integration, the Scholarship of Application and the Scholarship of Discovery. Later, he expanded the Scholarship of Application to become the Scholarship of Engagement. Boyer, Ernest. (1996). The Scholarship of Engagement. Journal of Public Outreach. 1(1): 11-20.

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

In January 2015, the University of Delaware was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for excellence in community engagement efforts put forth by the students, faculty, and staff at the university. Since then, we have been working to raise the standard for community engagement at UD, and in the communities.

Read the Carnegie Task Force Recommendations as of May 2014. If you are interested in incorporating community engagement in your work at UD, the following list includes examples of scholarship of engagement:


  • Community-Based Research/Creative Activities
  • Applied research
  • Performances
  • Exhibits


  • Service Learning Examples
  • Study Abroad Participatory
  • Curriculum Development


  • Clinical services
  • Policy analysis
  • Expert testimony
Developing Community Engagement


We can assist in:

  • Developing new community-based research and service-learning courses
  • Reformulating an existing course to involve students in the community
  • Identifying prospective community partners
  • Custom-tailoring a faculty workshop that fits your needs

For more information on service-learning courses, contact Susan Serra, Assistant Director of the Office of Service Learning at (302) 831-3188 or

Grant for Community Engagement Projects

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning and the Office of Service Learning have funds available for individuals or teams of faculty to support the development of service-learning courses and community-based research projects.

Grants are available on a rolling basis to support costs associated with involving students in the community as part of a service-learning course and for the development of community-based research courses and/or projects. Download Community Engagement Proposal Form.

Faculty Fellows
Information about the prestigious group of faculty members achieving great things in community engagement will be posted soon.
Community Based Research

Community-Based Research/Creative Scholarship questions are derived from the intersection of faculty research and the needs of a community. The answers to the questions provide a valuable service to the community partner, while creating an important focus for faculty and student researchers. The process is collaborative and dynamic, as it combines classroom learning with social action.

Ultimately, the community is empowered to address needed changes, and the students and their faculty mentors gain knowledge and skills that may lead to a lifelong commitment to civic engagement. Hills and Mullett (2000) stated, “Community-based research therefore is collaborative, participatory, empowering, systemic and transformative.”

View this chart on differences between Community-based Research/Creative Scholarship and traditional scholarship.

The Components of Community-Based Research/Creative Scholarship:

  • Community-situated. It begins with a research topic of practical relevance to the community (as opposed to individual scholars) and is carried out in community settings.
  • Collaborative. Community members and researchers equitably share control of the research agenda through active and reciprocal involvement in the research design, implementation and dissemination.
  • Action-oriented. The process and results are useful to community members in making positive social change and in promoting social equity.

Examples of Community-Based Research

Participatory Action Research (PAR)

PAR strategies involve the participants as co-researchers. Unlike the top-down—researcher as one with the knowledge—in this method, the participant is seen as a contributor to the research process.

Photovoice and Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) are additional forms of PAR.

PAR is collaborative, critical, participatory, and developmental. It focuses on enabling key stakeholders to address problems they see as important. It is concerned with research alongside stakeholders rather than doing research about them. It is concerned with achieving ongoing improvements rather than once-off solutions. It links theory and practice and calls for rigorous critical thinking on the part of all involved. PAR aims for ownership of the whole development process by agency stakeholders. It argues that each specific change should be determined by those who will be affected by it.


Photovoice is a participatory action research methodology that facilitates participant empowerment by creating and combining photography with grassroots social action. Participants are asked to represent their community point of view by taking photographs, discussing them together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and conducting outreach or other action. This research methodology was developed by Caroline C. Wang of the University of Michigan and Mary Ann Burris of the Ford Foundation in 1992.

Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM)

PPM is a transdisciplinary community-based research methodology that integrates digital tools, narrative interviewing, and participatory protocols for knowledge production (Dennis, Gaulocher, Carpiano, & Brown, 2009). In this method, community members are provided with digital camera and GIS Units. They take pictures of some aspect of their community where change is needed. Next, the photos become the object of interviews that are attached to particular images. The third step entails a mapping of the images with the GIS data. Finally, action items are developed by the participants and presented to policy makers (Dennis et al. p. 468). In sum, this is a method that can engage people in research about their lived experiences. Both qualitative and quantitative data emanates from this methodology.

Example of Participatory Photomapping

Community dance programs provide a venue for participatory photomapping community based research methodology.

Research Question: If free dance classes are offered as a part of a recreation program in a low-income section of the city, will more middle school girls become involved in and appreciate the benefits of physical activity?

Girls, who self-identify as low physical activity, are given the opportunity to take dance classes and research their lived experiences. With partners, the girls take pictures of their typical day prior to participating in the dance classes. Next, their partners photograph them participating in dance classes. Photos of before and after are used as interview prompts for a discussion about the importance of dance and physical activity. Finally, the girls are requested to write letters to the principals of their schools and the local recreation center director, requesting more opportunities to have dance classes.

In essence, the girls select photos they believe best represent their lives. They contextualize the photos by telling the story of the photos. They identify what they consider to be the themes that emerge from the photos. (Overby, L., In Press)

Promotion, Tenure, and Merit Resources

Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship. The Tenure Team Initiative (TTI) (.pdf), one of the consortium’s most important initiatives to date, seeks to articulate and support the adventurous work of publicly engaged scholars and artists.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health’s Community-Engaged Scholarship Toolkit is intended as a resource for community-engaged faculty on how to “make their best case” for promotion and tenure. More than a dozen recently promoted and/or tenured faculty members have graciously donated excerpts from their portfolios for posting on the toolkit.

The Community-Engaged Scholarship Review, Promotion & Tenure (RPT) Package is designed to help RPT committees understand community-engaged scholarship and how to assess its quality and impact.

Seifer, S.D., Blanchard, L.W., Jordan, C., Gelmon, S., & McGinley, P. (2012). Faculty for the engaged campus: Advancing community engaged careers in the academy. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(1), 5-19. Read article.

Fitzgerald, H., Barack, C. and Seiner, S. (2011). Handbook of engaged scholarship, Volume 1: Institutional change; Volume 2: Community-campus partnerships. Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

Franz, N.K. (2011). Tips for constructing a promotion and tenure dossier that documents engaged scholarship endeavors. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 15(3), 15-29. Read article.

Vogelgesang, L.J., Denson, N. and Jayakumar, U.M. (2010). What determines faculty-engaged scholarship? The Review of Higher Education, 33(4), 437-472.

Foster, K.M. (2010). Taking a stand: Community-engaged scholarship on the tenure track. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 3(2), 20-30. Read article.

Glass, C., Doberneck, D., & Schweitzer, J. (2008). Outreach and engagement in promotion and tenure, National Center for the Study of University Engagement, Michigan State University poster, , and the research process is explained in a PowerPoint presentation. Read article.

O’Meara, K.A. (2001). Working Paper No. 25 Scholarship unbound: Assessing service as scholarship in promotion and tenure, New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). Read article.

UD Faculty Publications

Outreach and partnership activities involving UD faculty have yielded scholarship in multiple disciplines, as reflected in the examples below. An asterisk (*) identifies graduate students involved in the research:

Applied Economics and Statistics

  • Awokuse, T. O., T. W. Ilvento, and Z. Johnston.* 2010. The Impact of Agriculture on Delaware’s Economy. UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This study used input-output analysis to determine the value that agriculture adds to the state’s economy ($8 billion).

Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Dentel, S. K., S. Marzooghi,* and C. J. Shi*. 2012. Breathable membrance enclosures for faecal sludge stabilization. Presented at Faecal Sludge Management Conference, Durban, South Africa, Oct. 2012. Reported on Gates Foundation funded research to test utility of breathable membranes to protect surrounding groundwater from contamination while allowing fecal sludge to condense and stabilize.

Public Policy and Administration

  • Solano, P., M. J. McDuffie, E. N. Farley-Ripple, and J. Bruton.* 2010. Principal Retention in the State of Delaware 2001–2008. Newark, DE: University of Delaware. Report funded by The Wallace Foundation and sponsored by the Delaware Academy of School Leadership.
  • O’Hanlon, J., J. Miller, A. Clark,* and G. Ospanova.* 2011. Delaware Environmental Scan: Delaware Youth Opportunities Initiative. Report developed by the Institute of Public Administration for the Delaware Center for Justice.
  • O’Hanlon, J., and J. Scott. 2010. Healthy Communities: The Walkability Assessment Tool. Planning resource for local governments created as part of the Institute of Public Administration’s Healthy Communities initiative and as online component of the Toolkit for a Healthy Delaware.


  • Buttram, J. L., X. Qian, and J. Rubright. 2009. Statewide Poll on Education in Delaware. Newark, DE: Delaware Education Research  and Development Center. This poll, supported by the General Assembly of Delaware, examined public opinion on school quality, finance, education policy, and Vision 2015. Respondents made recommendations to protect teacher salaries, instructional resources, and tutoring for low-performing students.
  • Buttram, J. L. 2008. How Delaware School Leaders Spend Their Time. Newark, DE: Delaware Education Research and Development Center.

Human Development and Family Studies

  • Han, M., N. Moore, C. Vukelich, and M. J. Buell. 2010. Does play make a difference?: Effects of play intervention on at-risk preschoolers’ vocabulary learning. American Journal of Play 3: 82–105.
  • Behavioral Health & Nutrition: Popielarski J. and N. Cotugna. 2010. Fighting hunger through innovation: Evaluation of a food bank’s social enterprise venture. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition: 56–69.


  • Payne, Y. The People’s Report: The Link Between Structural Violence and Crime in Wilmington, Delaware. 2013.

Women and Gender Studies

  • Dragiewicz, M., A. R. Gover, S. L. Miller, J. Naccarelli, and B.  Paradiso. 2013. Innovative University Programs for Teaching about Domestic Violence. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, Vol. 4, Issue 4, pages 594-611, DOI:10.1080/10511253.2013.837941.

Black American Studies

  • Foreman, P. G. 2011. (Dis)Remembering Black Women’s Lives. Video essay presented at “Perbitube: Repurposing Social Media Spaces,” co-curated by P. Gabrielle Foreman, Pato Hebert and Alexandra Juhasz, July 12 – September 6, 2011, Pitzer College Art Galleries and online.
General Resources
Online Resources
2016 Speaker Series

New Connections: Creating Interdisciplinary Knowledge through Community Engagement

The University of Delaware’s Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories speaker series for fall 2016 semester is set to begin on Monday, September 12. This free lunchtime series, titled “New Connections: Creating Interdisciplinary Knowledge through Community Engagement” features diverse topics involving UD faculty, staff and experts throughout the tri-state area.  The series is sponsored by The Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories and The Community Engagement Initiative.
The sessions will be held each Monday through November 28, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. in Room 410 of the Patrick T. Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab). Each session highlights projects presented in a TED-style talk ending with a discussion session.
The series is free and open to the public, but registration is required; to register or for more information, contact Kimberly Doucette at The first 30 attendees to register will be provided sandwiches and beverages.
Philip Barnes
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Institute for Public Administration 
Topic “The Politics of Climate Change” 
Michelle Bennett
Sustainability Manager
Topic “Sustainability Performance at the University of Delaware”
Michael Chajes
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Topic “Sustainability: Bringing a Core UD Value to the Classroom”
Beth Chajes
Communications Manager for the 
Delaware Environmental Institute at the University of Delaware
Group Leader for the Wilmington-Newark chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Topic “Action Beats Despair or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Lobby”
Ashley Pigford
Associate Professor
Department of Art and Design
University of Delaware
Topic “The Art of Collaborative Design Practice”
Carrie Gray
Managing Director
Wilmington’s Creative District
Topic “Wilmington’s Creative District – Creative Placemaking in Action”
Jennifer Joe 
Whitney Family Professor of Accounting

Department of Accounting & MIS
Topic “Overcoming Communication Challenges Between Auditors and Valuation Experts”
Maisha Thoms 
Tax Campaign Director
Nehemiah Gateway Community Development Corporation
 “Claiming the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and all other tax credits due to low to moderate income taxpayers via FREE TAX PREPARATION”
Margaret Stetz
Mae & Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies
University of Delaware
Women and Gender Studies

Department of English
Topic “Laying Out a Case: Library Exhibitions and Public Education”
Judith Guston
Curator and Director of Collections
The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Topic “Considering the Exhibition Audience for Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Monster Within” 
Jennifer Fuqua
Instructor, Organizational and Community Leadership Program
School of Public Policy and Administration
Topic “Community-Engaged Campuses: Partnerships for Change”
Raye Jones Avery
Christina Cultural Arts Center
Topic “Christina Cultural Arts Center: Rock in A Weary Land”
Kim Bothi
Associate Director for Science and Engineering
Institute for Global Studies
Topic “Globally minded and locally engaged: bringing international development into teaching, research and service”
Sarah Hartman  & Lia Dawson
Undergraduate Leaders – Engineers Without Borders
Topic “Engineers Without Borders: Growth through Sustainable Development”
Heather Doty 
Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
UD ADVANCE Faculty Associate to the Provost
Topic “Women in Engineering at the University of Delaware”
Sophia Sotilleo 
Assistant Professor and Librarian at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania
President of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Newark Delaware Branch
Topic “Getting Involved:  Advocating and Educating for Change”
Anna Wik  
Assistant Professor of Landscape Design
Plant and Soil Sciences
Topic “Regional Urban Ag: Community Food Systems and Landscape Architecture”
Carrie Murphy
Extension Educator in Horticulture
Master Gardener Volunteer Educator Program Coordinator
Program Leader for Lawn and Garden
University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. 
Topic “Regional Urban Ag: Community Food Systems and Landscape Architecture”
Greg Shriver
Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Entomology and Wildlife Ecology
Topic “Sea-level Rise and the fate of tidal marsh birds”
Andrea Howey – Newcomb
Clinic Director
Barret Michalec
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Topic “Students’ Perceptions of Health Profession Groups: Revisiting the Contact Hypothesis”
Kathy Boyer MSN, RN
Injury Prevention Coordinator
Christiana Care
Topic “ThinkFirst program at Christiana Care”

The Office of Service Learning offers two sources of direct funding for faculty:

  • Faculty mini-grants of up to $1000 are available for projects which advance course-based service-learning, community-based research, or community-based creative activity.
  • Faculty travel grants of up to $500 in supplemental funds to support travel to a conference to make a presentation on a service learning or community-based research or creative project.

Applications are read on a rolling decision basis. Generally, faculty are eligible for one grant per year.


In addition, faculty interested in working with individual students on a service-learning, community-based research, or community-based creative activity may be interested in the following programs:

  • The Service Learning Scholars program is a summer immersion experience that takes place during 10 weeks in the summer. Students are funded through the OSL to solely participate in the program (they neither take classes nor hold jobs during this time). Projects must have a community partner and student participation must include applied aspects of your work. Applications are due March 1 and include a 2-3 proposal that has been vetted by the faculty sponsor, and a faculty letter of support. Student teams may apply. Early decision is available for those planning to start preliminary work in the spring (in that case applications are due January 1 and students receive notification by January 30).
  • Blue Hen Engagement Fellows supports part-time student collaborations with faculty and community partners during the academic year, winter, and summer sessions. Projects must have a community partner and student participation must include applied aspects of your work. Applications are submitted and awards announced on a rolling decision basis and include a 2-3 proposal that has been vetted by the faculty sponsor, and a faculty letter of support.

Projects must be conducted under the close supervision of faculty whose own work is connected to the project. During the academic year grants are available up to $500 (a minimum of 50 hours). During the summer, grants of up to $3000 (a minimum of 300 hours during the summer).