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In 2006, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching developed an elective classification for community engagement for institutions of higher education. To receive the classification, campuses must complete an application and respond to questions by providing evidence that demonstrates a commitment to sustaining and increasing their community engagement efforts (Welch & Saltmarsh, 2013). Many of the application questions relate to policies and practices that affect faculty careers. For example, the 2015 Community Engagement Classification application asked institutions to describe relevant professional development opportunities and ways in which faculty community engagement is incentivized, recognized, and rewarded. These questions are important, as research has shown that faculty members are central to campus community engagement efforts (O’Meara, Sandmann, Saltmarsh, & Giles, 2011).

Yet, the 2015 Community Engagement Classification application failed to capture the contributions of and supports for non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF), an ever-growing segment of the faculty population (Burgan, 2006; Hoeller, 2014). This is not surprising, as few institutions collect data about their NTTF or have adequate structures to support their careers (Kezar, 2012; New Faculty Majority [NFM], 2014). However, until the classification application requests this information, it is impossible to know what role NTTF play in the larger institutional commitment to community engagement. If the institutionalization of community engagement is heavily dependent upon faculty, then future advancement of community engagement will be increasingly dependent on NTTF as well.

This paper seeks to answer two key questions. First, unless campuses facilitate and encourage the full participation of NTTF, can institutions truly maximize their community engagement potential? Second, if fair treatment of faculty is a form of community engagement in and of itself, do institutions that subject their NTTF to unfair wages and working conditions deserve the community engagement classification?


NERCHE Working Paper: 2016 Series, Issue 1

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //


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