Building the Capacity of Community Engagement Professionals to Practice Inclusion of Racially Minoritized Students

Kara Trebil-Smith


This dissertation overview summarizes a study exploring how community engagement professionals (CEPs) can build their capacity to practice inclusion of racially minoritized students. With a foundation in empowerment evaluation, this participatory action research (PAR) project was designed as a professional development experience within a research study. Study participants included eight CEPs who were recruited through their affiliation with one state Campus Compact network. Qualitative data analysis revealed that as a result of the experience, participants demonstrated mostly cognitive and affective outcomes rather than behavioral outcomes. Positive outcomes were largely attributed to being a part of a community of learners, among individuals with a shared purpose and context. Participants improved their capacity to address personally mediated racism rather than institutionalized racism, reflecting a gap between the values CEPs develop through their education and field experience and the skills they actually practice in their professional roles.

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