Skip Navigation

Community Engagement

Students embracing outside of Kaufman Hall.

Welcome to Community Engagement at OU

Community Engagement at OU leads efforts to strengthen a university-wide infrastructure for community engagement including community-based research, service-learning, public outreach, and community-campus partnerships.

OU Community Engagement facilitates student and faculty engagement with communities to promote shared knowledge, research, and service to society.  Community Engagement embraces all human differences and seeks to build on commonalities.  We support participation and capacity building with communities regardless of difference.  

Event Calendar

OU Community Engagement provides opportunities for civic engagement and leadership development at the University of Oklahoma for students, faculty, and community members. Through innovative courses, experiential learning, political engagement, participatory action research, and direct services, we partner the resources and expertise of the university with the knowledge and assets of diverse communities. Working locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally, OU cultivates strong leaders who will effectively advocate for social, economic and educational inclusion, and participate fully in the civic life and political processes of their communities.

Community Engagement: Definitions


For the purpose of university engagement, a community is a group (i.e., people, industry, entity) external to the university which is affiliated by shared characteristics such as geographical proximity, special interest, need, similar situation, or values.


Sustained collaboration between institutions of higher education and communities for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, and application of knowledge, information, and resources (i.e. research, capacity building, and/or economic development).

Community engagement

“Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional, state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity”  Purpose: “to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.” Carnegie Foundation
“The methods for community engagement of academic institutions include community service, service-learning, community-based participatory research, training and technical assistance, capacity-building and economic development.” Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH)

Community service and volunteerism

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

Community engaged scholarship

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

Community engaged teaching and 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 and service‐learning clinical pratice.

Community engaged research and creative activity

A collaborative process between the researcher 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 Enagaged Outreach

The application of professional expertise that addresses a community‐identified need and supports the goals and mission of the university and the community. Community engaged outreach may entail the delivery of expertise, resources and programs to the community.

Broader Impacts

Broader Impacts refers to the potential of research to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

Institutional Impact of CE

Community engagement can have positive institutional impact, such as improved diversity on campus or retention of students.