Publications and Reports
Civic Action Plan
To formulate the Civic Action Plan in 2016, the Duke Office of Civic Engagement convened more than 130 faculty, staff, students and community members to discuss how to strengthen civic engagement at Duke.Read more
NSLVE Campus Report
The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates. The 2012 & 2016 Duke University NSLVE Report offers a closer examination of the campus climate for political learning and engagement.Read more
Civic Engagement Inventory
In October 2015, the university published a comprehensive report on civic activities on campus during the 2013-2014 academic year. Civic Engagement at Duke: A Survey of Campus Programs, Initiatives, and Activities (2013-2014) examines the activities themselves, as well as their impact on various populations.Read more
Resources for Responsible and Ethical Community Engagement
This resource document was developed by a working group of 10-15 Duke staff members affiliated with programs that connect students to the community.Read more
2020-2021 Year in Review
Learn more about the activities and initiatives of the 2020-2021 academic year.Read more
Duke Policies and Procedures
Below are some essential Duke policies for engaging in the community. Remember that community partners may have their own waivers, trainings and policies by which you must abide. Be sure to do your research ahead of time and ask questions when in doubt.
National Networks and Organizations
A national coalition of 1,000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.
A nonprofit membership organization that promotes health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions.
A network which works to advance civic engagement and engaged scholarship among research universities and to create resources and models for use across higher education.
A national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education.
A consortium of over 100 colleges, universities, and cultural organizations dedicated to strengthening the public roles of arts, humanities, and design fields through research and action initiatives, coalition building, and leadership development.
A center housed at the Tisch College of Civic Life which conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
Principles of Effective Community Engagement
Preparation and Reflection
Before entering into a new community, take the time to learn about the history, strengths, challenges and community context. Also take time to understand your own values, beliefs and various identities. Throughout your experience, challenge your own beliefs and assumptions and engage in thoughtful reflection about your work and your role.
- What are the systemic, historical and institutional forces that give rise to the issues that you hope to address?
- What skills and knowledge do you need to develop before serving in the community?
- What is your role in the community and how might your involvement be perceived?
Build trusting, reciprocal and sustainable relationships by taking the time to get to know the community and the people who are a part of it. Be open, responsive, communicative and focused on mutual benefits. Work together to set clear expectations and establish a realistic timetable for communication and evaluation.
- Who benefits from the partnership and how?
- How can you use your strengths and unique position to best serve in this relationship?
- In what ways do your timeframe and expectations align or conflict with those of the community partner? How will you practice flexibility and open-mindedness when expectations differ?
Let your work be identified and driven by the community partner, responding to the needs and assets that are most salient for the community rather than imposed externally. Work to create inclusive environments in which all voices are heard and valued. Reflect on and try to understand the unique power dynamics that may be at play and work to distribute power equitably in this partnership.
- Who identified the need for the project or partnership and who participated in how it was shaped?
- How is power distributed in this endeavor? Which way does money flow in this project and how might that limit equity or partnership?
- What expectations, distrust or hesitations might a community partner have about your project?
Rather than entering into a community with an idea of “fixing” some aspect of it, approach your work with an asset-based perspective, seeking to understand the unique strengths and resources that already exist.
- What are the strengths present in the community?
- Who in the community is already working on these issues? How can you collaborate to support those existing efforts?
- Are you willing to step back from engagement if you learn your collaboration does not promote the strengths or best interests of this community?
Please contact us to set up a consultation about how you may adapt these principles to your work.
These principles were developed based on examples from within Duke and across other institutions of higher education, with special attention paid to the Principles of Community Engagement developed by the Office of Community Relations at Duke Health and the Principles of Ethical and Effective Service developed by the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. They were also informed by community input shared during the Civic Action Planning process and refined using feedback from the University Council on Civic Engagement and other campus partners.