What is Public Scholarship?

Public Scholarship Infographic

The Public Scholarship program aims to help foster conversations about public scholarship across campus, provide resources and support for faculty engaged in public scholarship, and raise the profile of the exciting and diverse public scholarship carried out by Carleton’s faculty.

Here are two definitions of public scholarship from Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a consortium to which Carleton belongs:

  • Public Scholarship refers to diverse modes of creating and circulating knowledge for and with publics and communities. 
    • It often involves mutually-beneficial partnerships between higher education and organizations in the public and private sectors. Its goals include enriching research, creative activity, and public knowledge; enhancing curriculum, teaching and learning; preparing educated and engaged citizens; strengthening democratic values and civic responsibility; addressing and helping to solve critical social problems; and contributing to the public good.
           — Imagining America Mission Statement

Imagining America defines public scholarship as scholarly or creative activity that joins serious intellectual endeavor with a commitment to public practice and public consequence. It includes:

  • Scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners;
  • Intellectual work that produces a public good;
  • Artistic, critical, and historical work that contributes to public debates;
  • Efforts to expand the place of public scholarship in higher education, including the development of new programs and research on the successes of such efforts.
         — “Scholarship in Public,” the Report of the Tenure Team Initiative of Imagining America

Including Students in Engaged Research and Scholarship

In response to widespread concern about the nation’s anemic civic health, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future calls for investing in higher education’s capacity to make civic learning and democratic engagement widely shared national priorities. The report calls on higher education and many partners in education, government, and public life to advance a 21st century conception of civic learning and democratic engagement as an expected part of every student’s college education.

To download a copy of AAC&U'sHighlights of A Crucible Moment click here.