How to Move from Head Counts to Impact

January 10, 2018

Campus civic and community engagement efforts have grown and evolved to reach all aspects of the academy – the curriculum, co-curricular student experiences, research and scholarships, and business operations of the organization.  This increased complexity has required additional staffing, funding, and capital resources resulting in more competitive environments, need for extramural funding and support, and higher levels of scrutiny from campus executives.  Within this context, faculty and staff must ensure their efforts support the teaching and research missions of the institution. and key foci such as student learning, retention, and career development are prioritized.  Externally, stakeholders such as community partners and civic leaders have concurrently increased the pressure to ensure the citizens they serve benefit in significant ways.  

Civic and community engagement programs must be able to answer increasingly sophisticated questions about the impact their programs are having on students, the community, and campuses.  Campus Compact for Southern New England is pleased to announce a workshop series designed to advance evaluation of member campuses’ civic and community engagement and build their capacity to put in place a long-term evaluation agenda that meets the needs of their campus and community.  Over the next 12 months, the evaluation workshop series will explore the following concepts:

  • Workshop 1: Developing a strategic evaluation plan for civic and community engagement
  • Workshop 2: Understanding and improving student learning and development
  • Workshop 3: Deepening community partnerships and measuring community impact
  • Workshop 4: Advancing institutional change

Each workshop will provide participants a mix of theoretical concepts as well as practical application grounded in proven practices.   Workshops will be designed to be beneficial for evaluators of all levels – beginner, intermediate, or advanced – and will allow opportunities to network and explore multi-campus collaborative efforts.  Although designed to build off Workshop 1 as a foundational session, workshops can be experienced individually.  

The series will be led by Cathy Burack and Alan Melchior of the Center for Youth and Communities (CYC) in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.  Cathy is a Senior Fellow for Higher Education at the CYC.  For the past twenty-five years, she has focused on ways faculty, students and administrators can work together to fulfill the civic missions of their colleges and universities. Through her work at CYC Cathy works with colleges, universities, and community organizations to use evaluation to both “prove” and “improve” their programs. Her research and capacity-building efforts attend to both outcomes and systemic change. Alan Melchior is the Associate Director and a Senior Fellow at the CYC. He brings over twenty-five years of experience managing a wide variety of policy, evaluation, and technical assistance and training initiatives in the fields of youth, workforce, and community development.  Alan is a nationally-recognized researcher in the field of service-learning and community engagement with over 20 years of experience evaluating school, community, and higher education-based service-learning programs.