Toward a Research and Practice Agenda for Evaluation in Community-Campus Partnerships


  • Paul Kuttner University of Utah
  • Marcie Washington Florida International University
  • Lisa Rawlings University of Maryland Baltimore



Community-Campus Partnerships, Community Engagement, Assessment & Evaluation, anti-racism, participatory evaluation


The challenge: Evaluation of community-campus partnerships is a contested topic and, in many ways, still at an early stage of development. With growing momentum behind community-university collaboration and increased pressure to document the positive impact of universities, there is a pressing need for research and innovation in this area.

Potential consequences: Many community engagement professionals are looking for new and creative approaches to evaluating partnership work — approaches that capture the depth, complexity, and values of the work, and that can be used to foster learning, community accountability, collaboration, and systems change.

Description/analysis/methods: This article proposes six promising directions for research and practice related to evaluating campus-community partnerships: They emerged as themes from an interactive session of CUMU’s Community Engagement Evaluation Huddle at the annual CUMU conference.

Rationale/reflection/replication: Drawing on the collective knowledge of Huddle participants, we identified the following directions: 1) evaluating systemic racism, 2) community-driven evaluation, 3) community impact and benefit, 4) evaluating relationships, 5) alignment of stakeholders, and 6) blended approaches. We offer these directions, along with key questions and examples from the field, as a first step toward a field-wide agenda for advancing evaluation in a critical, participatory, community-based spirit.