Are you Engaged with the Community?   Tell us how!   Visit the CE Register to submit your Community Engagement related activities at Mason:

Academic Service-Learning: Academic Service-Learning means service that is integrated with academic course content.  It may involve direct or indirect service, and may include academic research.


Action Research: Action research involves the process of actively participating in an organization change situation while conducting research. Action research can also be undertaken with the aim of improving strategies, practices and knowledge of the environments within which shared practice. As designers and stakeholders, researchers work with others to propose a new course of action to address community needs and issues.


Community–Based Learning: Community-based learning includes service, community based research, and other applications of course-related skills to assist local (and sometimes global) service organizations. There are many definitions, but all reflect the principles captured in this definition from the Campus Compact National Center for Community Colleges:

[It] is a teaching method which combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. Programs involve students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to the community.


Community-Engaged Research: Community-engaged research is defined as “a collaborative process between the research and community partner that creates and disseminates knowledge and creative expression with the goal of contributing to the discipline and strengthening the well-being of the community.  Community-engaged research identifies the assets of all stakeholders and incorporates them in the design and conduct of the different phases of the research process.”


Community Engagement: The collaboration between Mason faculty, staff, students, and alumni and the community (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge, resources and service in a context of partnership and reciprocity.


Community Outreach: The application and provision of institutional resources, knowledge or services that directly benefits the community.  Examples include music concerts, athletic events, student volunteers, public lectures, or health fairs.


Community-Engaged Scholarship: The creation and dissemination of knowledge and creative expression in furtherance of the mission and goals of the university in collaboration with the community.  Community-engaged scholarship addresses community needs through research, teaching and service in a mutually beneficial partnership.  The quality and impact of community-engaged scholarship are determined by academic peers and community partners.


Community-Engaged Teaching/Learning: A pedagogical approach that connects students and faculty with activities that address community-identified needs through mutually beneficial partnerships that deepen  students’ academic and civic learning.  Examples are service-learning courses or service-learning clinical practice.


Community Service: Community service means activities designed to improve the quality of life of off-campus community residents, particularly low income individuals.  Community service activities may include but are not limited to: academic service-learning, co-curricular service-learning (not part of an academic course, but utilizing service-learning elements) and other co-curricular student volunteer activities, as well as work-study community service and paid community service internships.  Community service includes both direct service to citizens (e.g., serving food to the needy) and indirect service e (e.g., assessing community nutrition needs or managing a food bank.)


Field Studies: Field studies is an immersion model in which classroom material is explored and applied within a given field experience. The center defines “field experience” broadly to encompass a wide spectrum ranging from the natural world to human populations in their respective social and cultural contexts and settings, including how individuals behave in families, neighborhoods, and communities. Within these field experiences, students apply their theoretical classroom knowledge in “real world” settings, through the collection of empirical data (whether quantitative or qualitative), which then becomes theoretically interpreted using a praxis model of application.


Integrative Learning: Refers to the integration of ideas and information from multiple perspectives and across numerous disciplines and experiences.


Partnership: Partnerships are defined as a, “sustained collaboration between institutions of higher education and communities for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information, and resources.  Examples are research, capacity building, or economic development”.

Reciprocal Partnership: A sustainable, community, university, and/or student-driven relationship/initiative that a) enhances learning, scholarship, service, programming, or resources and/or b) serves as a catalyst for initiating and/or improving policies, programs, and practices for the shared benefit of the involved communities and the people they serve.

Socially Responsible Leadership: reflects a conceptual shift from leader-centric, hierarchical approaches to leadership, to more collaborative, values-based approaches more appropriate for operating in a global networked era. These approaches focus on leadership as a process where people collaborate in order to produce positive change.