Strategic Action: Community Engagement Professionals as Institutional Change Leaders

Ashley Farmer-Hanson, Julianne Gassman, Emily Shields


This research study analyzed the role of CEPs in strategic planning processes by examining the use of the civic action plan (Campus Compact, 2018). To ascertain whether institution-wide planning efforts around civic and community engagement create new opportunities for CEPs to take on institutional leadership roles, we interviewed CEPs who were involved in creating civic action plans at their campuses  and examined their role in plan development, the competencies most utilized in that process, and the most important support for building competencies and framing the change process. These interviews gave new insights into how strategic planning processes have contributed to the growth, development, and elevation of the role of CEPs on campus and the types of support structures they found valuable. The conclusions will inform future planning work by CEPs and support for that work by organizations. We make preliminary recommendations for change, process accountability, development, and future research.

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