Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd DeMitchell


At a time when universities and their faculty are called to work in partnership with partners to address important societal issues, engaged scholarship has become an important movement in higher education. This research examines the perceptions of tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members at land-grant institutions and describes how disciplinary differences influence faculty members' expression of and likelihood to practice engaged scholarship; work with community partners; and how they perceive engaged scholarship is recognized and rewarded by their institutions. A stratified random sample of tenure-track faculty members from all 1862 land-grant institutions was surveyed via the Internet and data were analyzed using ANOVA, crosstabulations, and t-tests to examine differences based on discipline, gender, and academic rank.

Academic discipline, at least in broad categorical terms, does influence the extent to which faculty report their involvement in engaged scholarship activities and how they perceive rewards for it. Faculty that work in the applied academic disciplines such as engineering, agriculture, social work, and youth development not only reported working more in engaged scholarship, but also were more likely to report they felt this was engrained into their work as scholars. Having mentors and colleagues, as well as concrete examples of how work with community can be scholarly seems to be an important component to encouraging engaged scholarship. In addition, these disciplines, particularly faculty from the applied/soft disciplines, such as education and social work, indicated that they had appropriate, peer-review outlets for their engaged scholarship work, making it much easier for them to be rewarded for community engaged scholarship.

Women in this study reported working in engaged scholarship more often than men, but all respondents, regardless of gender, expressed concerns about rewards and the amount of time required. Faculty rank also influenced how rewards and benefits to their career were perceived. No significant differences were found between the ranks in reporting whether or not they had been involved in engaged scholarship. Surprisingly assistant professors worked just as often in engaged scholarship as tenured faculty.