The Evolution of a Community-Engaged Scholar
Mara Tieken is the recipient of the 2016 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty. The award recognizes exemplary community-engaged scholarly work across faculty roles. The scholarship of engagement represents an integrated view of faculty roles in which teaching, research/creative activity, and service overlap and are mutually reinforcing, is characterized by scholarly work tied to a faculty member's academic expertise, is of benefit to the external community, is visible and shared with community stakeholders, and reflects the mission of the institution. Community engagement is defined by relationships between those in the university and those outside the university that are grounded in the qualities of reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation of goals and outcomes. Such relationships are by their very nature trans-disciplinary (knowledge transcending the disciplines and the college or university) and asset-based (where the strengths, skills, and knowledges of those in the community are validated and legitimized).
Dr. Tieken was selected from an outstanding pool of finalists because her work exemplifies the award’s criteria. She approached her work with rural schools by validating the knowledge assets in the communities she worked with to undertake research that addressed social and racial justice and equity in those communities. She brought her students into a pedagogy shaped by participatory epistemology in which they and the community partners they work with are knowledge producers and active participants in building a wider public culture of democracy. And through integrating her faculty roles, she contributed significant service with the partners she worked with. Further, she is an agent for change on her own campus, working to create an institutional environment that supports community engaged scholars.
Dr. Tieken’s emergence as an engaged scholar describes the critical nature of deep relationships with community partners, the importance of engagement being part of the socialization and training in graduate education, the significance of mentors, and the ways that institutions of higher education cultivate scholarly innovation by attending to the kinds of commitments and structures that support, recognize, and reward community engaged scholarship. As an engaged scholar, she pursues community engagement to advance knowledge that can address global social issues as they are manifest locally, and as perhaps the best way to advance knowledge in ways that fulfill the democratic purposes of higher education.
Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professorate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Boyer, E. L. (1996). The scholarship of engagement. Journal of Public Service and Outreach, 1(1), 11-21.
Boyte, H. C., & Fretz, E. (2011). Civic professionalism. In J. Saltmarsh & M. Hartley (Eds.), "To serve a larger purpose": Engagement for democracy and the transformation of higher education (pp. 82-101). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Howley, C., Johnson, J., & Petrie, J. (2011). Consolidation of schools and districts: What the research says and what it means. Retrieved from Boulder, CO:
Isserman, A. M. (2007). Getting state rural policy right: Definitions, growth, and program eligibility. The Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 37(1), 72-79.
Johnson, J., Showalter, D., Klein, R., & Lester, C. (2014). Why rural matters 2013-14: The condition of rural education in the 50 states. Retrieved from Washington, DC:
Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate, W. F. (Eds.). (2006). Education research in the public interest: Social justice, action, and policy. New York: Teachers College Press.
Lawrence-Lightfoot, S., & Davis, J. H. (1997). The art and science of portraiture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
O'Meara, K. (2011). Faculty civic engagement: New training, assumptions, and markets needed for the engaged American scholar. In J. Saltmarsh & M. Hartley (Eds.), "To serve a larger purpose": Engagement for democracy and the transformation of higher education (pp. 177-198). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Saltmarsh, J., & Hartley, M. (2011). "To serve a larger purpose". In J. Saltmarsh & M. Hartley (Eds.), "To serve a larger purpose": Engagement for democracy and the transformation of higher education (pp. 1-13). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Schafft, K. A. (2016). Rural education as rural development: Understanding the rural school-community well-being linkage in a 21st century policy context. Peabody Journal of Education, 91(2), 137-154.
Stanton, T. K., & Wagner, J. (2006). Educating for democratic citizenship: Renewing the civic mission of graduate and professional education at research universities. Retrieved from Stanford:
Strand, K., Marullo, S., Cutforth, N., Stoecker, R., & Donohue, P. (Eds.). (2003). Community-based research and higher education: Principles and practices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tieken, M. C. (2014). Why rural schools matter. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Tierney, W. G. (2013). Beyond the ivory tower: The role of the intellectual in eliminating poverty. Educational Researcher, 42(6), 295-303.
Walker, G. E., Golde, C. M., Jones, L., Bueschel, A. C., & Hutchins, P. (2008). The formation of scholars: Rethinking doctoral education for the twenty-first century. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Warren, M. R., Park, S. O., & Tieken, M. C. (2016). The formation of community-engaged scholars: A collaborative approach to doctoral training and education research. Harvard Educational Review, 86(2), 233-260.