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Open AccessArticle

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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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071249
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)
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
MDPI and ACS Style

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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