Proponents of community engagement to promote social change advocate bringing together researchers, practitioners, politicians, business leaders, advocates and other relevant stakeholders to identify and solve community problems and issues. This chapter will describe the need for academic and community partnerships, how academic institutions can develop priorities, governance and financial structures that facilitate stronger, more effective community relationships and make contributions to the resolution of social ills. The current literature on community engagement, community-based participatory research, community action research, community-engaged scholarship and service-learning are reviewed. The principles and tenets of engaged scholarship are reviewed, barriers to implementation are discussed and examples provided. Academic institutions can play an important role in social change if they are willing to embrace community engagement. A key to success is building trust, sharing power, fostering co-learning, enhancing strengths and resources, building capacity, and addressing community-identified needs. Academic participation requires institutional and faculty commitment to engagement principles, flexible and inclusive governance structures and strategies to educate community members. The development of the relationships and structures required for successful community engagement can be inhibited by imbalances in power and knowledge that often exist among practitioners, researchers, and community members. This review may assist academic institutions to examine implementation of tenure and promotion policies, oversight strategies and structures that assure community development and benefit, as well as opportunities for faculty, staff and student training on principles and best practices of community-engaged research.
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