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Public Scholarship Definitions

From the University of North Dakota:

Public scholarship can be described as scholarly and creative work in the public interest, scholarship planned and carried out with community or public partners, and scholarship that produces a "public good" such as exhibits, performances, and broadly accessible research results.

The Public Scholarship Program provides funding, support, and visibility for projects from a variety of disciplines that enable the university to better serve its public purpose by contributing to public debate, solving public problems, and strengthening communities. Through public scholarship, faculty will be able to become more actively engaged in society, while communities will develop their capacity to address their own needs and improve the quality of life for their residents. This initiative directly supports the University's strategic plan and the Legislative Round Table Report with its emphasis on research and service that addresses the needs of North Dakota.

From the University of Minnesota:

"At the level of the institution, public scholarship means optimizing the extent to which University research informs and is informed by the public good, maximizes the generation and transfer of knowledge and technology, educates the public about what research the University does, and listens to the public about what research needs to be done. This scholarship contributes to the intellectual and social capital of the University and the State (and larger regions), and includes (but is not limited to) the transfer of knowledge and technology that contributes to improved quality of life for significant portions of the populous."

--"Reports and References—Public Scholarship Committee, April 2003," University of Minnesota,, retrieved April 26, 2004

From Emory University:

"The Center for the Study of Public Scholarship (CSPS) at Emory University promotes and examines scholarly work that crosses the boundary between the academy and the public. Established in 1995, it is guided by the assumption that a great deal of academic scholarship has the potential to address and engage with a broad range of different communities. The CSPS explores the public nature of this scholarship and the diverse forms it can take. It brings together academic and community based scholars whose work exhibits the potential to relate to one another and provides a space where models can be developed for collaborative scholarship that connects knowledge produced inside and outside of academic institutions."

--"Center for the Study of Public Scholarship,", retrieved April 26, 2004

From Penn State University:

"Public scholarship is an academic enterprise focused on issues of civic and social consequences beyond the classroom through field work, applied research, and other scholarly participatory involvement and is based upon methods and bodies of knowledge appropriate to principles of an academic and civic engagement."

"The Public Scholarship of Service Learning finds voice in the application of the discoveries and creative performances generated by faculty and students to the civic and social well being of the community."

--"Public Scholarship at Penn State" www., retrieved April 26, 2004

From Macalester College:

". . . Action research and service-learning are a critical way to tie the college value of service to others with the academic mission of the college. While volunteer support is helpful, research provides technical support so badly needed in communities. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for faculty involvement that lends itself well to the interdisciplinary work and can further their own research demands." 

For Public Scholarship courses: "Public scholarship projects are, above all, works of engaged scholarship . . . First, they may take the form of theoretical research into conceptual questions related to democratic practice, civic engagement, 'public work' and community enhancement/empowerment. Second, they may take the form of traditional policy relevant research. This typically involves the application of disciplinary/interdisciplinary modes of inquiry/research methods to public problems (typically for a specific client). Finally they may take the form of community based research (CBR). This involves academic and community members pooling their respective skills and forms of knowledge to collaboratively design and implement mutually beneficial research projects."

--"Public Scholarship," Macalester College,, retrieved April 26, 2004

From Americans for the Arts:

". . . [P]ublic art may be defined as "work created by artists for places accessible to and used by the public . . ." "Public art does many things, most of which can be divided into four areas. It can:

• Engage civic dialogue and community;
• Attract attention and economic benefit;
• Connect artists with communities; and
• Enhance public appreciation of art."

--Americans for the Arts (March 2004), "Public Art: An Essential Component of Creating Communities" Monograph, pp. 5 and 6.

From the Woodrow Wilson Foundation:

"Woodrow Wilson Public Scholarship Grants are designed for artists, humanities, teachers, and community members who are working together on cultural or social issues at the local, regional, or national level. This program arises from the belief that academics, educators, and community members, by joining excellent research and creative activity to the practice of civic engagement, can spark each other's creativity and strengthen the community as a whole."

--The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, "Imagining America,"
about_imagining_america.html, retrieved April 26, 2004