A framework for designing and monitoring high impact Community Engaged Research and Learning strategies

Moriau, L. (Speaker), Bram Pynoo (Contributor), Catherine Morel (Contributor), Tondeur, J. (Contributor), De Marree, J. (Contributor), Bertone, J. (Contributor), Temmerman, M. (Contributor), Meurs, P. (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


Driven by the need to respond to the challenges and opportunities of today’s knowledge society, universities are implementing a diverse set of community engaged research and learning (CERL) strategies. Studies show that impactful implementation of CERL asks for long-term coordinated action, crosslinking research expertise and agenda’s, educational programs and third pillar activities. Dominant narratives need to be reconsidered, new practices are to be developed, emphasizing the social, learning-centered and transformative dimensions of our universities. With UNIVER.CITY, the Belgian Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) explores innovative practices, evidence-based models and tools relevant for the implementation of high impact CERL strategies through an institution-wide professional learning community (PLC). In parallel with setting up the PLC quantitative and qualitative research was conducted to scrutinize the different stakeholders in CERL: lecturers, students, social partner organisations (SPOs). The results of the current study show that VUB students and lecturers as well as local SPOs acknowledge the value of CERL strategies at different levels (personal, institutional and societal) and that the spectrum of CERL across the campus is quite heterogeneous. The development of the PLC showed to have a positive influence on its members’ attitudes towards CERL and on their related self-efficacy. The PLC enabled us to (re)design Community Engaged curriculum units and develop a shared language about CERL. Based upon the notions of ‘transformative learning’ and ‘collective impact’ we developed a comprehensive design and assessment framework capturing the various dimensions and complex dynamics of CERL strategies and allowing more thoughtful design, implementation and assessment. This paper recounts the process that led to the creation of the framework and considers its effectiveness for curricular design and delivery at a research-intensive and community engaged urban university.
Period28 Nov 2019
Event titleInvestigating the societal impact of research: Past achievements and future developments
Event typeConference
LocationBrussels, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational