Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




experiential learning, community engaged learning, community based research, community engaged scholarship, transformational leadership, distributed leadership


Higher education institutions are increasingly investing in community-university partnerships as a mechanism for strengthening relationships with the local community, expanding experiential learning (EL) opportunities for students, and supporting faculty in community engaged scholarship (CES). This organizational improvement plan (OIP) examines how a research-focused university can institutionalize CES so that faculty members feel supported and rewarded for their efforts to link teaching and research to community priorities. Using both transformational and distributed leadership approaches, as well as Kotter’s (1996) change model, in combination with Norris-Tirrell, Lambert-Pennington, and Hyland’s (2010) social movement model, the proposed change plan focuses on organizational structure, and suggests two key changes are necessary: moving the CES office from the student affairs unit to academic affairs, and hiring or appointing a new senior academic leader to oversee the priority. Given the complexity of large-scale, university-wide change, the OIP will ultimately include three change cycles; however, this document outlines the first cycle, and strategically builds on the existing success of CES at the institution.