Engaged Scholars Study

The Publicly Engaged Scholars (PES) Study illuminates the graduate school experiences and career aspirations and decisions of students and early career faculty and staff. The study is organized around a two-fold aim: to deepen our understanding about the career arc for publicly engaged scholarship and practice and to evaluate the impact of IA’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program since its first cohort in 2003.

Four major questions focus the study:

The study addresses how publicly engaged scholars develop, including the motivations and identities that contribute to an interest in engaged scholarship, and how the practice of engaged scholarship relates to the graduate school experience.

  • How can we characterize the profile of the publicly engaged scholar in humanities, arts, and design?
  • How does graduate education prepare students to become publicly engaged scholars?
  • What professional pathways exist for publicly engaged scholars and artists?
  • To what extent does the PAGE program add value to the academic experiences of student participants?

 


 

About the Study

The study addresses how publicly engaged scholars develop, including the motivations and identities that contribute to an interest in engaged scholarship, and how the practice of engaged scholarship relates to the graduate school experience. The study also explores what emerging engaged scholars view as viable career pathways. Focus groups, conventional measures from related studies, and a national committee informed the study’s mixed methods design, which includes a survey instrument and interview protocols.

 


 

Preliminary Findings

The research team drew from both the quantitative and qualitative data to develop a categorization of publicly engaged scholars in seven emerging profiles:

  1. Cradle to Community – This profile type exemplifies a scholar that gets involved with their local community because of personal values (i.e. religious, familial). Their involvement with the community may leads to them pursuing graduate work.
  2. Artist as Engaged Scholar – This profile describes a local artist who uses the community as a “canvas.” The artist as engaged scholar grounds themselves in both the academy and the arts.
  3. Teacher to Engaged Scholar – This profile represents the K-12 teacher who enters the academy for graduate work and teaching, but remains committed to taking an active researcher role within secondary schools.
  4. Program Coordinator to Engaged Administrator/Scholar – This profile depicts an administrator in higher education who holds a leadership role in a center, an institute, or a consortium for campus community partnership while also holding a faculty position. Engaged
  5. Interdisciplinarian – This profile depicts a scholar who only lightly identifies with one specific discipline, leveraging every opportunity to borrow from different domains of inquiry for the enhancement of their community based work work.
  6. Activist to Scholar – This profile captures the community activist who connects with the university and uses the university as platform to further pursue their activism.
  7. Engaged Pragmatist – This public scholar sees the writing on the wall and suspects that publicly engaged scholarship may become prevalent within the academy. Whatever their connection to the academy their motivation is grounded more in the direction of higher education as opposed to civic engagement.

 


 

Leadership

The study is directed by IA’s Co-Director Timothy K. Eatman, and a team of graduate student researchers. A committee of national leaders in graduate education advises the project.