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The Scholarship of Engagement

The scholarship of engagement is a form of research-based learning that enables students to develop a civic responsibility dimension to their studies.  The idea of the scholarship of engagement comes from the American Association for Higher Education’s expansion of the influential work of the Boyer Foundation which is promoting discovery based learning in the undergraduate curriculum.  The scholarship of engagement includes what US educationalists call ‘service learning’ in that it is about students learning through activities which advance social justice. See for instance, The Carnegie Foundation's  Political Engagement Project whose work is based on the premise that 

if teachers want students to develop genuine understanding of a difficult concept, they must ask students to explain it, represent it in new ways, apply it in new situations and connect it to their lives, rather than asking students simply to recall the concept in the form in which it was presented (Colby, 263)

Scholarship of engagement activities can range from students interviewing community activists/residents (face-to face or virtually) through to working substantially with a community project. At Warwick, opportunities for the this kind of learning can be found through Warwick Volunteers,  the URSS Scheme, the Rootes Memorial Trust and Coventry Partnership.  There are also strong cases of the scholarship of engagement within the undergraduate curriculum.


The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University,:  Reinventing Undergraduate Education:  A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities

Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, Elizabeth Beaumont, Jason Stephens (2003) Educating Citizens:  Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco