Special Issue "Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Community and Urban Sociology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Richelle Winkler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49930, USA
Interests: rural sociology; population and environment; environmental sociology; community engaged scholarship; internal migration; GIS and spatial analysis
Prof. Angie Carter
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49930, USA
Interests: environmental inequality and justice; extractive industries; agrifood and energy systems sustainability; environmental and natural resource policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Local and community-scale practices show potential for addressing critical social and environmental problems, particularly in the absence of effective state or federal policy and programs. Partnerships between community organizations, policy-makers, and academic groups can both inform community-level solutions and create opportunities for learning and empowerment. Across academic disciplines, engaging communities in research and teaching practices has grown increasingly popular, but these endeavors often go unpublished and receive relatively little peer review or critical analysis.

For this Special Issue, we seek submissions on the analysis or application of community-engaged research promoting community sustainability. The issue aims to: (1) critically evaluate community-engaged research projects, practices, or outcomes; (2) develop or analyze conceptual understandings that guide community-engaged scholarship; or (3) share reflections, lessons learned, best practices, and experiences related to implementing community-engaged research endeavors. We define community-engaged scholarship broadly and will consider papers related to the research-teaching-service nexus using participatory action, citizen science, participatory GIS, community-based participatory scholarship, or other similar approaches where academic groups are engaged in a reciprocal relationship with community partners toward common goals. Accepted papers will directly apply these methods to the goals of improving urban or rural community well-being or otherwise working towards community sustainability, resiliency or policy solutions. Papers that are strictly focused on service learning (without a research imperative) are less appropriate. In particular, we encourage papers focused on addressing issues of environmental or social justice or building resiliency in disadvantaged or underrepresented communities. Articles can be theoretically or empirically driven and should be aimed at a broad, interdisciplinary audience. We welcome papers authored or co-authored by community members, practitioners, students, and faculty.

Prof. Richelle Winkler
Prof. Angie Carter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • community
  • engaged scholarship
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • participatory research
  • action research

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Visceral Encounters: A Political Ecology of Urban Land, Food, and Housing in Dubuque, Iowa
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040122 - 18 Apr 2019
Abstract
Through a praxis of co-authorship between a university scholar and two community gardeners/organizers/activists, this article showcases the ways in which knowledge, practices, and relationalities emergent in community gardens in Dubuque, Iowa USA directly engage with the politics of food, land, and housing. The [...] Read more.
Through a praxis of co-authorship between a university scholar and two community gardeners/organizers/activists, this article showcases the ways in which knowledge, practices, and relationalities emergent in community gardens in Dubuque, Iowa USA directly engage with the politics of food, land, and housing. The authors engage in co-authorship across university and community boundaries to ontologically reframe knowledge production and draw critical attention to the everyday livelihoods and political ecologies experienced within marginalized communities. We use extended conversations and interviews to analyze the food, land, and housing issues that emerge in the context of uneven racial relations and neighborhood revitalization. We then organize our analysis using a Political Ecology of the Body (PEB) framework to consider how people’s bodily, emotional, and social lives impact their relationalities with food, gardening, and neighborhood spaces. Our findings show that community gardening efforts are transforming the Washington and North End neighborhoods—even if these changes appear to outsiders to be small-scale or difficult to measure—while also calling attention to the anti-oppression and anti-racism work that remains to be done. Our co-authorship demonstrates how community gardeners and university partners can work together to contest histories of marginalization and foster more socially just relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Community Science as a Pathway for Resilience in Response to a Public Health Crisis in Flint, Michigan
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030094 - 13 Mar 2019
Abstract
While the story of the Flint water crisis has frequently been told, even sympathetic analyses have largely worked to make invisible the significant actions of Flint residents to protect and advocate for their community. Leaving the voices of these stakeholders out of narratives [...] Read more.
While the story of the Flint water crisis has frequently been told, even sympathetic analyses have largely worked to make invisible the significant actions of Flint residents to protect and advocate for their community. Leaving the voices of these stakeholders out of narratives about the crisis has served to deepen distrust in the community. Our project responds to these silences through a community-driven research study aimed explicitly at elevating the frame of Flint residents in and around the Flint water crisis. This paper describes the coming together of the research team, the overall project design for each of the three research efforts, and lessons learned. The three sub-projects include: (1) a qualitative analysis of community sentiment provided during 17 recorded legislative, media, and community events, (2) an analysis of trust in the Flint community through nine focus groups across demographic groups (African American, Hispanic, seniors, and youth) of residents in Flint, and (3) an analysis of the role of the faith-based community in response to public health crises through two focus groups with faith based leaders from Flint involved with response efforts to the water crisis. Our study offers insight for understanding trust in crisis, which could be valuable to other communities and researchers seeking to address similar situations. The project offers community science as a model for considering community engagement in research as part of the process of resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Working Through Uncertainty: The Perils and Potential of Community-Engaged Research on Refugee Resettlement
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030073 - 28 Feb 2019
Abstract
What can be learned from the process of community-engaged research (CER) on refugee resettlement? In the following, we share experiences, reflections, and lessons from implementing such a project. We begin with background on refugee resettlement and recent resettlement dynamics in the United States [...] Read more.
What can be learned from the process of community-engaged research (CER) on refugee resettlement? In the following, we share experiences, reflections, and lessons from implementing such a project. We begin with background on refugee resettlement and recent resettlement dynamics in the United States and Wisconsin, as well as literature on the study of refugees and this type of research more generally. Results and discussion are presented though our understanding of, and involvement with, the process via a framework of CER desired process outcomes, which we both propose and utilize to encourage effective efforts with marginalized populations going forward. CER is challenging and must be undertaken thoughtfully. One of the paper’s primary contributions is to share successes and failures in a transparent and unvarnished fashion. In particular, researchers need to share power and listen deeply, actions that will reverberate throughout such a process. Doing so comes with certain risks, and may be tangled, but also has strong potential to produce useful data, deep learning for researchers and participants, as well as empowerment of marginalized populations and relationship building that can yield future collaboration towards resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Graduate Students, Community Partner, and Faculty Reflect on Critical Community Engaged Scholarship and Gender Based Violence
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020071 - 25 Feb 2019
Abstract
This article reflects on the challenges and opportunities associated with community engaged learning at the graduate level, and challenges higher education to do more to support the teaching–research–service nexus. The community university partnership involved a graduate student class, a faculty member, and a [...] Read more.
This article reflects on the challenges and opportunities associated with community engaged learning at the graduate level, and challenges higher education to do more to support the teaching–research–service nexus. The community university partnership involved a graduate student class, a faculty member, and a community member from a provincial not for profit association. We examined our principled and collaborative process of critical community engaged scholarship geared toward addressing violence against women, and more specifically, femicide. Our research resulted in knowledge mobilization tools that could be used to inform various audiences (e.g., women’s shelter staff, the public, government, and journalists) about how mainstream media sources report and portray the issue of femicide. Our work had an explicit social justice focus with aims to generate a better understanding of the structural causes of violence against women and historically-created gendered hierarchy and its ongoing impacts. This paper offers insights for others interested in pursuing community engaged research within a community engaged learning environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
The Good Food Revolution: Building Community Resiliency in the Mississippi Delta
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020057 - 16 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Mississippi Delta represents one of the greatest concentrations of rural persistent poverty in the United States. High unemployment, high food insecurity, higher rates of obesity and diabetes, and low access to healthy, affordable food characterize much of the 18 counties in the [...] Read more.
The Mississippi Delta represents one of the greatest concentrations of rural persistent poverty in the United States. High unemployment, high food insecurity, higher rates of obesity and diabetes, and low access to healthy, affordable food characterize much of the 18 counties in the region. In the face of this, The Good Food Revolution, a community-based program to address food related health and thereby employment, developed in response to significant need in three small communities in North Bolivar County, Mississippi, bringing together community members, public and private sector organizations, researchers and students. This paper examines the process of community-engaged scholarship from the theoretical lens on building community capacity and resiliency developed by Chaskin. Increasing community capacity for all participants in the Good Food Revolution project through community-engaged scholarship has built resilient communities that are engaging more communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Term “Resilience” in Arctic Health and Well-Being Using a Sharing Circle as a Community-Centered Approach: Insights from a Conference Workshop
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020045 - 02 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the field of Arctic health, “resilience” is a term and concept used to describe capacity to recover from difficulties. While the term is widely used in Arctic policy contexts, there is debate at the community level on whether “resilience” is an appropriate [...] Read more.
In the field of Arctic health, “resilience” is a term and concept used to describe capacity to recover from difficulties. While the term is widely used in Arctic policy contexts, there is debate at the community level on whether “resilience” is an appropriate term to describe the human dimensions of health and wellness in the Arctic. Further, research methods used to investigate resilience have largely been limited to Western science research methodologies, which emphasize empirical quantitative studies and may not mirror the perspective of the Arctic communities under study. To explore conceptions of resilience in Arctic communities, a Sharing Circle was facilitated at the International Congress on Circumpolar Health in 2018. With participants engaging from seven of the eight Arctic countries, participants shared critiques of the term “resilience,” and their perspectives on key components of thriving communities. Upon reflection, this use of a Sharing Circle suggests that it may be a useful tool for deeper investigations into health-related issues affecting Arctic Peoples. The Sharing Circle may serve as a meaningful methodology for engaging communities using resonant research strategies to decolonize concepts of resilience and highlight new dimensions for promoting thriving communities in Arctic populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Engagement to Enhance Community: An Example of Extension’s Land-Grant Mission in Action
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010027 - 17 Jan 2019
Abstract
Engagement is a foundational practice for the Extension systems of land-grant universities and is demonstrated through its’ work in partnership with individuals, organizations and communities. This article will share how an Extension-led effort, focused on an aspect of community development, integrated several components [...] Read more.
Engagement is a foundational practice for the Extension systems of land-grant universities and is demonstrated through its’ work in partnership with individuals, organizations and communities. This article will share how an Extension-led effort, focused on an aspect of community development, integrated several components of engagement starting with the initial conversation through the evaluation process. Practitioner reflections on two examples that occurred in different states will highlight the processes and tools that helped nurture engagement between faculty and community and support the development of a sustainable and resilient community. The multi-state implementation will illustrate the unique depth and breadth of public participation that can be achieved when academic institutions are focused on engagement to strengthen communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Community-Engaged Research Builds a Nature-Culture of Hope on North American Great Plains Rangelands
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010022 - 12 Jan 2019
Abstract
In the North American Great Plains, multigenerational ranches and grassland biodiversity are threatened by dynamic and uncertain climatic, economic, and land use processes. Working apart, agricultural and conservation communities face doubtful prospects of reaching their individual goals of sustainability. Rangeland research could serve [...] Read more.
In the North American Great Plains, multigenerational ranches and grassland biodiversity are threatened by dynamic and uncertain climatic, economic, and land use processes. Working apart, agricultural and conservation communities face doubtful prospects of reaching their individual goals of sustainability. Rangeland research could serve a convening platform, but experimental studies seldom involve local manager communities. The Collaborative Adaptive Rangeland Management (CARM) project, however, has undertaken a ten-year, ranch-level, participatory research effort to explore how community-engaged research can increase our understanding of conservation and ranching goals. Using ethnographic data and the nature-culture concept—which recognizes the inseparability of ecological relationships that are shaped by both biological and social processes—we examine the CARM team’s process of revising their management objectives (2016–2018). In CARM’s early days, the team established locally-relevant multifunctional goals and objectives. As team members’ understanding of the ecosystem improved, they revised objectives using more spatially, temporally and ecologically specific information. During the revision process, they challenged conventional ecological theories and grappled with barriers to success outside of their control. The emerging CARM nature-culture, based on a sense of place and grounded in hope, provides insights into effective community-engaged research to enhance rangeland livelihood and conservation outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Putting Research to Action: Integrating Collaborative Governance and Community-Engaged Research for Community Solar
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010011 - 08 Jan 2019
Abstract
Community solar involves the installation of a solar electricity system that is built in one central location with the costs and benefits distributed across voluntary investors who choose to subscribe and receive credits based on the generated energy. Community solar is gaining attention [...] Read more.
Community solar involves the installation of a solar electricity system that is built in one central location with the costs and benefits distributed across voluntary investors who choose to subscribe and receive credits based on the generated energy. Community solar is gaining attention because of its potential to increase access to renewable energy and to democratize energy governance. This paper reflects on community-engaged research experiences in two rural community case studies in Michigan, USA, focusing on obstacles that were experienced during the research process rather than empirical findings from the research. We highlight difficulties we experienced to help advance a conceptual argument about incorporating collaborative governance strategies to improve community-engaged research for community energy projects. Our reflections illustrate challenges in community-engaged research that are associated with identifying who should be included in the decision-making process, sustaining participation and avoiding exploitation, establishing and communicating final decision-making power, and giving attention to outputs and outcomes of the research. We argue that collaborative governance strategies can help to address these challenges, as we experienced firsthand in our project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
‘Come Back at Us’: Reflections on Researcher-Community Partnerships during a Post-Oil Spill Gulf Coast Resilience Study
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010008 - 07 Jan 2019
Abstract
This paper presents findings from eight post-hoc interviews with individuals representing the key community partner organizations that facilitated and hosted data collection for an in-person mixed-methods survey about disaster resilience and preparedness in three communities on the Gulf Coast (U.S.) impacted by the [...] Read more.
This paper presents findings from eight post-hoc interviews with individuals representing the key community partner organizations that facilitated and hosted data collection for an in-person mixed-methods survey about disaster resilience and preparedness in three communities on the Gulf Coast (U.S.) impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and numerous disasters from natural hazards. We submit our analysis of these follow-up interviews with community partners as a case study to provide a set of recommendations for future community-engaged research practices, particularly in the field of environmental and disaster resilience. Input from community partners stressed the importance of engaging with local community brokers to enhance trust in research; researcher-partner communication; and researcher interaction with community residents that respects local knowledge and culture. The partners indicated that even communities that have often been the subjects of post-disaster studies are receptive to research participation, especially when the effects of disasters are long-term and ongoing. Recommendations include using research methodologies that are congruent with post-disaster community characteristics such as educational attainment; collaborating with community partners to disseminate research findings; and incorporating theories and practices that center critical reflection and consider power dynamics when working with communities that have experienced disaster and trauma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Towards a Framework for Building Community-University Resilience Research Agendas
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(12), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7120260 - 08 Dec 2018
Abstract
In this paper, we ask: “How can we scope multiyear, multiscalar community–university collaborations that draw on the university’s diverse resources and contribute to community resilience”? We approach this question by presenting the development and application of the Advancing Collaborative Transdisciplinary Scholarship Framework (the [...] Read more.
In this paper, we ask: “How can we scope multiyear, multiscalar community–university collaborations that draw on the university’s diverse resources and contribute to community resilience”? We approach this question by presenting the development and application of the Advancing Collaborative Transdisciplinary Scholarship Framework (the “ACTS Framework”) which we argue has been successful at helping us better understand, foster, and work towards communities’ resilience. The ACTS Framework, informed by our collective expertise in critical community-engaged scholarship (CES) and community resilience, contributes to knowledge and practice in critical CES, in particular by providing guidance for scoping and sustaining complex community–university collaborations. The structured yet iterative process involved in the framework development and application affirms and extends the work of other scholars interested in the links between CES and community resilience. Our contributions offer two other important practices—centring community concerns and facilitating cross-project collaboration—to critical CES knowledge and practice and highlight two promising practices of linking structures that facilitate community–university collaborations—specifically, a well-organized institutional memory and holding and bridging relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Solidarity, Collective Identity, Resilient Communities: Two Case Studies from the Rural U.S. and Uruguay
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(12), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7120250 - 27 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Worldwide, communities face disruptions driven by phenomena such as climate change and globalization. Socio-ecological resilience theorists have called for greater attention to the social dynamics that inform whether and how communities are reorganized and sustained in response to such challenges. Scholars increasingly stress [...] Read more.
Worldwide, communities face disruptions driven by phenomena such as climate change and globalization. Socio-ecological resilience theorists have called for greater attention to the social dynamics that inform whether and how communities are reorganized and sustained in response to such challenges. Scholars increasingly stress that social heterogeneities provide resources that communities can mobilize to adapt and sustain themselves in response to disruptions. Utilizing the sociological literature that emphasizes that social solidarities and collective identities are centrally important to community responses to socio-ecological disruptions, we argue that solidarities grounded in collective identities can act as important mediators between social heterogeneity and resilience. Drawing on qualitative data from rural communities in the central United States and southwestern Uruguay, we explore how group solidarity enabled individuals to more effectively draw on their diverse knowledges, skills, and resources to sustain their communities. Linked by a collective identity grounded in rurality, in each setting, individuals effectively worked together to adapt to emerging socio-ecological disruptions. These results suggest that we can better understand how social heterogeneities inform resilience by considering how solidarities grounded in collective identities influence whether and how individuals can successfully cooperate to rearrange and sustain their communities. When working with rural communities, specifically, it will be especially important to account for solidarities and collective identities tied to rurality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Community Protections in American Indian and Alaska Native Participatory Research—A Scoping Review
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040127 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 3 | Correction
Abstract
Experiences with unethical research practices have caused some American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) individuals, organizations, and tribes to mistrust health research. To build trust and repair relationships, current research with AIAN peoples often involves participatory research (PR) approaches. This article assesses community-level [...] Read more.
Experiences with unethical research practices have caused some American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) individuals, organizations, and tribes to mistrust health research. To build trust and repair relationships, current research with AIAN peoples often involves participatory research (PR) approaches. This article assesses community-level protections described in the scientific literature on PR involving AIAN communities. A scoping review search in PubMed and PsychInfo for articles published between January 2000 and June 2017 yielded an AIAN PR article dataset. Of 178 articles, a subset of 23 articles that described aspects of community protections were analyzed for descriptions of community-level protection practices. We identified the presence or absence of a description of four community protection measures in each article: a tribal research department, the development of community-level mechanisms for research regulation if not present, community collaboration throughout the research process, and project employment of a community member. The development of community-level mechanisms for research regulation was described in 39% of the articles. Ninety-one percent of these articles described community collaboration during the research process. Seventeen percent included descriptions of all four community-level protection measures. The extent and consistency to which community-level protections are described is variable; the current literature lacks reporting on community-level protection practices specific to tribal communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Facilitating Engagement among Academic and Community Partners: The Monteverde Institute’s View from the Middle
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040121 - 18 Apr 2019
Abstract
Researchers have recommended operative standards and ethical considerations to maintain the integrity of community engaged scholarship programs. This framework is valuable for guiding good practices and promoting enhancements. Implementation of these considerations in actual programs provides experiential knowledge and reveals additional considerations due [...] Read more.
Researchers have recommended operative standards and ethical considerations to maintain the integrity of community engaged scholarship programs. This framework is valuable for guiding good practices and promoting enhancements. Implementation of these considerations in actual programs provides experiential knowledge and reveals additional considerations due to the distinctive nature of each program. This article presents a descriptive overview of the Monteverde Institute’s history and model in its application of community engaged scholarship in Costa Rica. As a reflective exercise, I discuss the Monteverde Institute’s successes and challenges as related to six principles put forth by scholars. As witnessed by its practices, the Monteverde Institute endorses these important concepts and I provide specific examples of the implementation and customization of these principles in different situations. As a result of this review, I outline the beneficial role provided by the Monteverde Institute as an intermediary, on-site institution in the facilitation of community engaged scholarship. The Monteverde Institute is an academic, research, and community organization that provides both academic structure and community project coordination to its partners. It views community engaged scholarship from different perspectives and guides the applicability of programs to real situations in the region. These actions enable the Monteverde Institute to co-create respectful and functional partnerships. This is important for long-term sustained cooperation and in-depth community engaged scholarship. The process is continual, and I end this reflection with the question, what now? Answering this question, as it relates to the Monteverde Institute, may reveal aspects applicable for the advancement of community engaged scholarship in other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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