Engaged Scholarship Committee
Historical Overview of the Engaged Scholarship Faculty Committee Announcements

Beginning in fall 2002, an ad hoc faculty group representing most University of Memphis colleges gathered over breakfast to informally address common interests around student internships and service learning.  

The faculty group quickly expanded its discussion to encompass broader questions regarding (1) how faculty and students could be connected more meaningfully to its Mid-South community through research and teaching and (2) how to assess the “reward structure” of the university such that such scholarly work could be acknowledged and honored.  Moving from a broad-based discussion of shared interests in strengthening the University of Memphis’s connection to the Mid-South community, the faculty group soon came to recognize that such a vision fit aptly within a movement in higher education increasingly referred to as “engaged scholarship.”  Thus, the “Ad Hoc Task Force on Engaged Scholarship” was founded. 


Phases of the Faculty Committee


Initially, interactions entailed faculty members from across the University “finding each other” and discovering common ground in commitment to engaged research and teaching.  As such, it was an “emergent group.”  Participating faculty were pleasantly surprised to learn that colleagues from different colleges generally unbeknownst to each other had been conducting scholarly work that had much in common with their own.  After “brainstorming” regarding research processes and comparable work being done across the country, members of the group recognized that the type of research they were conducting fit nicely within the rubric of “engaged scholarship.” 


“Getting acquainted” conversations led to a concerted effort to advance the University’s recognition of the value and importance of engaged scholarship.  To advance this endeavor, members of the Ad Hoc Task force made innumerable presentations to groups of administrators, faculty, and departments. 


Concomitantly, faculty members increased recognition of engaged scholarship within the wider Mid-South Community.  Joint efforts to communicate the importance of engaged scholarship across the entire University and publicizing such faculty activities to the wider non-University community garnered attention.  While members of the task force appreciated the value of being “ad hoc,” they also understood the importance of internal and external recognition.  Accordingly, the Ad Hoc Task Force Provost Ralph Faudree announced the establishment of the University of Memphis Engaged Scholarship Faculty Committee in 2006. 


During this “formation” period, Tenure and Promotion Guidelines in different colleges were addressed following several visits to departments to discuss the possible place of engaged scholarship within departmental tenure and promotion guidelines.  Similarly, certain faculty searches specified a wish to hire new faculty who fit within the “engaged scholarship” research modality. 


In recent years a new generation of faculty members, some tenured and some not yet tenured, have joined the engaged scholarship endeavor--with many taking leadership roles—with their colleagues who were part of the initial founding group.  Publication ideas that emerged over the years have resulted in books, chapters, and articles published both within disciplinary contexts and within the broader discussion of engaged scholarship with colleagues around the country.


The following chronology provides major highlights of the evolution of this endeavor at the University of Memphis.  Faculty experience in at least two prior faculty-based ventures fed into the engaged scholarship faculty initiative:


  • 1995 Report of Task Force on Faculty Roles and Rewards
  • 2002 Meetings of Stan Hyland, David Cox, and Joe Hawes leading to decision to call a wider meeting to discuss “internships”


2002-2003 AY:


  • October 2002: founding of the Task Force on Engaged Scholarship (Joe Hawes calls a group of faculty to a meeting at the Holiday Inn for breakfast to discuss “internships.”)  Gradually over the next few months the faculty agreed to call themselves the Task Force on Engaged Scholarship and broadened the scope of the issues to address.  Original attendees at this meeting and/or upcoming meetings: Linda Bennett, Phyllis Betts, David Ciscel, Joy Clay, David Cox, Joe Hawes, Kandi Hill-Clarke, Stan Hyland, Melinda Jones, Holly Lau, Marty Lipinsky, Moira Logan, Leslie Luebbers, Nancy Mele, Vivian Morris, Andy Meyers, Connie Ross, Janann Sherman, and Barbara Ellen Smith
  • April 23, 2003, TFES proposes “An Engaged University” to Provost ‘Faudree with supporting documentation
  • June 11, 2003: Meeting with the Provost Council, subcommittee of TFES


2003-2004 AY:


  • September 26, 2003, TFES Subcommittee meeting with College of Arts and Sciences Faculty with a slide show
  • 2004 First TFES website developed (Nancy Mele)
  • 2004 Engaged Scholarship Award announced, not awarded in year 1


2004-2005 AY:


  • January 13, 2005, Instruction & Curriculum Development Department Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • February 1, 2005, SUAPP Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • February 10, 2005, Journalism Department Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • February 25, 2005, Anthropology Department Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • March 1, 2005, Economics Department Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • December 13, 2005 Department of Leadership Visit, Janann Sherman and Linda Bennett
  • March 14-15, 2005 Ira Harkavy workshop and symposium
    • March 14: Met with Provost’s Chairs and Deans
    • March 15: Colloquium for Faculty and Students, President Raines welcomes Dr. Harkavy
  • Stan Hyland, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and Anthropology, receives Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award
  • The Faculty Handbook acknowledges engaged scholarship as a possible area of focus in scholarly work:
    • Engaged scholarship now subsumes the scholarship of application.  It adds to existing knowledge in the process of applying intellectual expertise to collaborative problem-solving with urban, regional, state, national and/or global communities and results in a written work shared with others in the discipline or field of study.  Engaged scholarship conceptualizes "community groups" as all those outside of academe and requires shared authority at all stages of the research process from defining the research problem, choosing theoretical and methodological approaches, conducting the research, developing the final product(s), to participating in peer evaluation.  Departments should refine the definition as appropriate for their disciplines and incorporate evaluation guidelines in departmental tenure and promotion criteria (2010 University of Memphis Faculty Handbook, Chapter 4).


2005-2006 AY

  • November 1, 2005 Dr. Barbara Holland meeting with invited faculty and administrators to discuss “Engaged Scholarship and the Tenure and Promotion Process”
  • James Whelan, Department of Psychology, receives Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award


2006-2007 AY

  • December 22, 2006 Press release: University of Memphis designated as “Community Engaged” by Carnegie Foundation 
  • Engaged Scholarship Faculty Committee as recognized by Provost Faudree, was established.  Executive committee: Linda Bennett, chair, Janann Sherman, chair-elect, Nancy Mele, Moira Logan, and Connie Ross, with David Cox as ex- officio member


2007-2008 AY

  • University District Initiative project in which members of the Engaged Scholarship Faculty Committee were involved in planning, teaching, and evaluating courses in concert with a substantial group of community and university leaders. 
    • The University District Initiative is a partnership between The University of Memphis, neighborhood groups, and public and private entities created to support economic and social development in the University District. The Initiative grew out of the Office of the Provost's Community Initiatives Focus Area - one of seven focus areas for advancing the University's national standing in serving Tennessee.
    • Under the auspices of the President of The University of Memphis, faculty from every college, senior staff from Business & Finance and Student Affairs, and representatives from the City of Memphis and Shelby County have joined with neighborhood organizations to comprehensively address social, health, and urban design and safety issues in neighborhoods surrounding The University of Memphis. http://cas2.memphis.edu/udi/what_is_udi.htm
  • Phyllis Betts, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy) and Richard Janikowski (Criminology and Criminal Justice) receive Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award
  • The leadership of the committee passed from Linda Bennett with Jan Sherman as co-chair to Jan as Chair and Moira Logan as co-chair 


2008-2009 AY

  • January 22, 2009, Campus Compact Visit and Conference
  • Throughout AY, “book group” meetings to discuss the possibility of writing a book with tentative title of “On the Road toward Engaged Scholarship: The Story of a Public University on a Shoestring in the Mid-South.”  Charlie Santo, Gene Pearson, Janann Sherman, Joy Clay, Stan Hyland, David Cox, Michael Hagge, Keri Brondo, Linda Bennett, Andrew Tripple, Nancy Mele, and Beverly Cross
  • Dorothy Norris-Tirrell (Public and Nonprofit Administration) receives Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award
  • Strengthening Communities / Neighborhood Small Grants Program established




  • Website project
  • Work on an edited journal and publications generally that highlighted the engaged scholarship of University of Memphis faculty and students (see list of faculty publications)  
  • Michael Hagge, Department of Architecture, receives Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award



  • New leadership in ESFC: Keri Brondo and Michael Hagge, co-leaders.
  • October 22, 2010: Creative Communities: Design as a Community Development Strategy Conference, with Anne Whiston Spirn, Department of Urban Studies & Planning, MIT, Keynote speaker; Elson Nash, Director, Learn and Serve America, the Corporation for National & Community Service, Luncheon Speaker; and Ann Coulter, Principal, Kennedy, Coulter, Rushing & Watson, Summary Speaker. 
  • “Brown bag” meetings to focus on specific accomplishments of members of the faculty group. 
    • November2, 2010: “What worked and what didn’t work: Lessons learned from University-community collaboration in the Strengthening Communities Grant Initiatives” Participants: Mollie Campbell (BRIDGES); Robert Connolly (C.H. Nash Museum, Anthropology, and Museum Studies), Michael Hagge (Architecture), Cedar Nordbye (Art), and Andrew Peck (BRIDGES)
    • December 6, 2010: “Revitalizing South Memphis: Moving from Plans to Action,” Katherine Lambert-Pennington (Anthropology); Ken Reardon (City & Regional Planning), and Curtis Thomas (The Works CDC, Inc). 
    • Feb. 25, 2011“Where’s the Scholarship in Academic Internships?”  Stan Hyland, Michael Hagge, Keri Brondo and Kathy Tuberville
    • Website development and expansion


ESFC in the News:

Witherington Receives Victorian Village Preservation Award

UofM School of Urban Affairs & Public Policy joins National Network of Universities to Promote Philanthropy and Community Service Among Students

Lambert-Pennington Receives Lynton Award for Engaged Scholarship

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Upcoming Events/Dates:

1/30/12 - Deadline to submit Strengthening Communities grant application. Read more...

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The University of Memphis is a learner-centered metropolitan research university providing high quality educational experiences while pursuing new knowledge through research, artistic expression, and interdisciplinary and engaged scholarship. --University of Memphis Strategic Plan

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Last Updated: 5/9/13