Resource Development and the Community Engagement Professional: Building and Sustaining Engaged Institutions

David J. Weerts


Creating sustainable revenue streams to support community engagement is critical to building engaged colleges and universities. Drawing on social cognition theories within the organizational science literature, this article explores how community engagement professionals (CEPs) can promote sensemaking and organizational learning in ways that promote engagement as a pathway to institutional sustainability. Specifically, this article explores ways in which engagement can be positioned to differentiate institutions from their competitors, attract enrollment, and bolster public and private support for an institution. Toward these ends, this article makes connections among campus engagement identity, retention and completion, enrollment management, state relations, grant-writing strategy, advancement/alumni relations, and marketing and communications. Practical tools are provided to help CEPs lead strategic conversations about engagement as a means to promote institutional health and vitality.

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