Institutional Change Initiative

Overview of Community Engaged Scholarship at Berkeley

Public purpose is core to Berkeley’s mission and values. Yet, institutional policies and culture often create barriers for investigators who pursue research in the public interest, in terms of (a) recognition of community engaged (CE) scholarship in evaluation of our research portfolios, (b) visibility and amplification of CE scholarship within and outside of the Berkeley community, and (c) organizational routines in research administration, IRB, and other university systems that are mismatched with partnered scholarship with non-academic entities such as governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

We aim to support and uplift community-partnered scholarship as a core approach to enhance the public impact of UC Berkeley’s research portfolio. To achieve this goal, we are working collaboratively with Berkeley leaders across disciplines and units to reduce the barriers and “pain points” experienced by members of the campus community engaged in partnered research and by the external partners who work with us.

With support from the Vice Chancellor for Research Office (VCRO), and the Deans of Berkeley Schools of Public Health, Social Welfare, and Education, we are working collaboratively with key constituents at Berkeley to generate immediate and sustainable support for community-partnered scholarship.  We are also grateful for key extramural support for our Berkeley effort via an Institutional Challenge Grant from the William T. Grant and Doris Duke Charitable Foundations. 

Below you will find tips, resources, and processes for addressing institutional challenges in community engaged scholarship, in the domains of 

Click here for a downloadable brochure about our current efforts in these domains.  

We are also working with leaders at other UC campuses to support community engaged scholarship across our 10-campus system.

Community Engaged Scholarship Faculty Advancement Resources

This blog, slide deck, and faculty tips for building stronger cases for community engaged portfolios give context for our progress and leadership in faculty evaluation. This includes 2021 guidelines drafted by the Berkeley Senate (Budget and Interdepartmental Relations Committee) and adapted/disseminated by then-Vice Provost for the Faculty Hermalin to “count” non peer-reviewed engaged scholarly work. This draft letter to request an external evaluation for tenure is an example of possible steps towards alignment. This white paper/national scan led by Prof Ozer and released by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Transforming Evidence Funders Network (TEFN) highlights transformational promotion and tenure policies for community-engaged teaching and scholarship. This UC LEAD Spring 2024 webinar with Emily Ozer & colleagues discusses the white paper and next steps for TEFN.

Administrative & Financial Barriers (Non-IRB)

We have engaged many investigators in identifying intervention pain points that reduce barriers to partnered research. Initial conversations with leaders across Berkeley stress the importance of identifying more appropriate templates for partnered scholarship to avoid unnecessary roadblocks. We are excited to co-lead a pilot launched in June 2022 led by the Possibility Lab and CA100 initiative at the Goldman School of Public Policy to engage administrators, staff, and faculty across Berkeley to design a more streamlined, timely, and coherent approach to co-constructed partnered scholarship to enhance our public impact. This paper in Journal of Clinical Translational Science examines financial arrangements between university researchers and community partners; and explores the efforts to bridge the gap between administrative barriers faced by researchers at UC-Berkeley and Boston University as two case examples of institutional change.

Ethics - IRB and Beyond

We have made initial progress in working collaboratively with our IRB to brainstorm solutions for misalignments in partnered research, described in this update and process flowchart. We have co-authored some FAQs with our IRB on Community Engaged Research and special challenges, including around consent. Beyond IRB guidelines for research projects, we recommend guidelines for sustained partnerships aligned with our institutional values and to address harm from research perceived as “extractive” with communities and partners.

Community Engaged Scholarship Concepts and Definitions

Many faculty, students, and staff at UC Berkeley engage in research collaboration  with communities near and far from Berkeley. The diversity and breadth of these activities, and the terminologies used across disciplines, can sometimes be confusing. This glossaryprovides a draft typology of community engaged activities with some illustrative examples on Berkeley campus (we welcome feedback).

External Community Engaged Scholarship Resources

Other campuses, including some of our sister UC campuses (UCD and UCLA), are at various stages of institutional change work, documented with examples such as public scholarship reports and publications by UC Davis, the Partnership Toolbox by the University of Minnesota, resources for collaborative partnerships from the University of Delaware, and faculty evaluation resources from Duke University. A faculty tenure and retention repository evaluation related to engaged scholarship can be found here

For more information, contact