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IU Southeast Service Learning & Community Engagement LibGuide: What is Community Engagement?

The Carnegie Foundation defines Community Engagement as the 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. 

Engaged Community Service can be non-course based involvement that may include alternative break trips, daylong immersive experiences, or helping to build the campus’ engagement within a particular agency. Some campuses “require” service as a part of the overall educational experience. Engaged Community Service works best if it is based on specific goals for student development and incorporates critical reflection. 

Social entrepreneurship is the recognition of a social problem and the uses of entrepreneurial strategies and partnership principles to organize, create and manage a social venture to achieve a desired social change. Faculty may participate in engaged scholarship or community-engaged scholarship, distinct in that it: 


  • is participatory and values the community partners as collaborators. 
  • benefits the community partners (e.g., agencies, neighborhoods, clients) in ways that are identified by them and others as being significant and effective. 
  • furthers the scholarship of the faculty member in ways that are recognized by others as having academic impact as well as community impact. (From the Memorandum, Indiana University-Purdue University).