The Road Taken: Contributions to Advancing Community-Engaged Scholarship


  • Jomella Watson-Thompson University of Kansas



community-engaged scholarship, community-based participatory research, Ernest A. Lynton, Lynton Award


As an early career professional, I often felt as if I was on the road less traveled as a community-engaged scholar and tenured-track faculty member in academia. Although the work of community-engaged scholarship (CES) may be valued, the mechanisms for advancing CES, such as through faculty reward systems, often are not well-established. In my experience it has been extremely important to occasion both internal and external opportunities for community-engaged scholars to promote and recognize the collaborative work that integrates scholarly activities with communities in ways that are reciprocal and mutually beneficial. As a recipient of the 2014 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement of Early Career Faculty, I will share how the award and recognition was influential in my development and trajectory as a community-engaged scholar. In my professional journey, the Lynton Award was highly impactful in several ways, including preparing for promotion and tenure, establishing and expanding my network of community-engaged scholars, and advancing opportunities for both internal and external leadership roles in CES. Through this paper, I will share my journey as a community-engaged scholar, as well as discuss some factors that I found to be critical conditions for success. Lastly, I challenge us to consider the intersection and continuum of community-engaged and participatory approaches to ensure that we are maximizing our opportunities to collaboratively and collectively advance CES across fields, disciplines and approaches.


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