J. Begeny1, H. Herrera2, C. Aguirre-Burneo3

1North Carolina State University (UNITED STATES)
2North Carolina State University (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
3Universidad San Francisco de Quito (ECUADOR)
For decades, educators have described an important gap between research and practice, which potentially hinders students’ overall educational success (e.g., Kratochwill, 2007; Kratochwill & Stoiber, 2002). For example, researchers sometimes argue that school practitioners do not adequately use the knowledge-base developed through educational research, and school practitioners argue that educational research is often tangential or irrelevant for solving the real-life everyday complexities of educating students in schools (e.g., Wampold et al., 2002). Contributing to this research-to-practice gap is the continuously low percentage of peer-reviewed research articles that describe feasible intervention and prevention activities for teachers (Bliss et al. 2008; Strein et al., 2003).

One possible strategy for reducing the gap between research and practice may come from an increased understanding and commitment to a framework of community-engaged scholarship (CES; Bringle et al., 2009; Giles, 2008). At its core, CES refers to full collaboration (not just involvement) of community partners (e.g., schools, community-based centers), university researchers, and university students. Within the collaboration, each partner is collectively responsible for (and capable of) generating information, learning, and resources that are guided by a shared goal and an effort to address a meaningful public concern. As such, collective responsibility for generating knowledge and resources is mutually respected and mutually beneficial for all partners. Thus, effective partnerships within CES include open dialogue about the meaningful contributions each member has the potential to make, as well as open conversation about a shared commitment to reciprocity (Bringle et al., 2009; Jameson et al., in press). In this presentation we contend that school-based researchers and practitioners can greatly benefit from a deeper understanding of the practices and benefits of CES, and that CES is more likely to result in research and knowledge generation that is more productive, practically meaningful, enduring, and of better quality.

One purpose of this presentation will be to compare traditional university research and scholarship to a CES framework for scholarship. The presentation will also highlight the important role of university leadership and administration for creating a supportive infrastructure for faculty-led CES, and highlight benefits and challenges associated with CES. For context and illustrative purposes, this presentation will also summarize the research and development of an early literacy intervention program that was developed locally within a CES framework and is now being used and evaluated internationally.

As a result of attending this presentation, it is expected that attendees will learn more about the theoretical and practical framework of CES and learn how to feasibly use a framework of CES within their own professional activities (research or school-based practice) in an attempt to address meaningful issues related to education. Strategies for using a CES framework at both a national and international level will be discussed.