Community Engagement

Our Question:

In a nutshell, how do we encourage a mutually beneficial and engaging relationship between the community and institutions of higher education?

Our Role:

The National Forum’s community engagement team focuses their research and practice on some of the points where communities and higher education institutions intersect.  Investigators scrutinize institutional structures, facilitators, and barriers to mutually beneficial community engagement in higher education.  Researchers explore community perceptions as individuals dialogue about the importance of higher education, as well as investigate how higher education institutions and communities come together to create access and success structures for youth in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

The team has the opportunity to explore the complicated convergence of theory and practice on the ground, in communities where research findings can immediately inform practice.

Because we are a part of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) at the University of Michigan, we take seriously our responsibility for reaching beyond the walls of our classrooms and supporting and partnering with the communities surrounding UM.  This is often where students who are concentrating in Academic Affairs and Student Development (AASD) find themselves making a real connection between their coursework and their Forum research.

Our Method:

The Forum operates using our dialogic model of change:

National Forum Dialogic Model

  • To stimulate awareness of the issue, the Forum has joined various partners in hosting community dialogues around higher education throughout the country.
  • To  create commitment for the issue, the Forum has partnered with community members to address challenges associated with access to higher education.
  • To inspire action on the issue by members of the community and leaders in higher education, the Forum has developed a toolkit for community engagement.