Academic institutions have slowly started embracing the value of community-engaged research and partnerships, especially in response to a growing desire to remain relevant and under increasing pressure to clearly demonstrate their societal benefits while producing high-quality, high-impact scholarship. There have also been external incentives for institutions to develop more community-engaged educational and research platforms. For example, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, starting in 2015, initiated an elective process through which institutions could be classified as a community-engaged institution, a clear indication that community engagement is important to the assessment of academic institutions. However, despite the progress made, there are still a number of gaps that need to be addressed in order for community-engaged scholars to feel supported, such as an institutional culture and reward system that can nurture and sustain community-engaged scholars.
In contrast to traditional research, community-engaged research is more intensive and time-consuming and may not lead to the typical measures of productivity that institutions often rely on in making promotion and tenure decisions. Social work schools are uniquely positioned to be leaders in this area and model and document concrete tools and policies that can help contextualize the scholarly rigor and impact of community-engaged research. This roundtable will bring together a group of community-engaged scholars at various stages of their academic careers to talk about their experience with institutional practices and policies that have assisted or constrained them in their pursuit of community-engaged scholarship. Additionally, the roundtable discussion will be designed to yield actionable strategies that researchers can utilize to advocate for institutional support and recognition. By increasing the visibility and appreciation for community-engaged scholarship at all levels of the academy, social workers can help to maximize the transformative potential of community-engaged scholarship.