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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1249; doi:10.3390/su9071249

Researching the Professional-Development Needs of Community-Engaged Scholars in a New Zealand University

Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
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Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult and Community Education for Sustainability)
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Abstract

We explored the processes adopted by university teachers who engage with communities with a focus on asking how and why they became community-engaged, and an interest in what promotes and limits their engagement and how limitations may be addressed. As part of year-long research project we interviewed 25 community-engaged colleagues and used a general inductive approach to identify recurring themes within interview transcripts. We found three coexisting and re-occurring themes within our interviews. Community-engaged scholars in our institution tended to emphasise the importance of building enduring relationships between our institution and the wider community; have personal ambitions to change aspects of our institution, our communities, or the interactions between them and identified community engagement as a fruitful process to achieve these changes; and identified the powerful nature of the learning that comes from community engagement in comparison with other more traditional means of teaching. Underlying these themes was a sense that community engagement requires those involved to take risks. Our three themes and this underlying sense of risk-taking suggest potential support processes for the professional development of community-engaged colleagues institutionally. View Full-Text
Keywords: community engagement; student placement; education for sustainability; scholarship of engagement; academic roles; functions for higher education community engagement; student placement; education for sustainability; scholarship of engagement; academic roles; functions for higher education
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Shephard, K.; Brown, K.; Guiney, T. Researching the Professional-Development Needs of Community-Engaged Scholars in a New Zealand University. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1249.

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