Measuring Mutual Benefit and Reciprocity in Community Engagement and Public Service Activities
Thursday, November 19, 2020
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EST)

Mutual benefit and reciprocity are arguably the defining characteristics/principles of the Carnegie Foundation's definition for community engagement partnerships. In this session, we examine how these two characteristics/principles are often conflated as synonyms by researchers, administrators, and practitioners (Dostilio, et al, 2012; Janke, 2018), and offer definitions and measures that demonstrate their distinctiveness. We will share an emerging research program that is aimed at creating greater conceptual clarity and operationalization of these two terms in how we measure and track community engagement activities and partnerships. We explicate the terms (mutual benefit and reciprocity), describe measures developed to track these aspects of partnerships, and share initial findings of and reflections on 800+ partnerships tracked using Collaboratory(™). Participants will then engage in dialogue around the emerging results to further the development of a construct for measuring reciprocity and mutual benefit, with the hope that it will allow researchers to better establish parameters for inclusion/exclusion of partnerships in studies, allowing larger samples of “apples to apples” comparisons, help scholar-administrators establish baselines and goals for engagement, as differentiated from service. Guiding research questions: - If reciprocity and mutual benefit are two distinguishing features of CE, then how can we measure each one individually? - What types of roles and moments of community participation demonstrate reciprocity? - What outputs and outcomes demonstrate mutual benefit for community and academic partners? - In what ways do community engagement partnerships differ from public service partnerships with regards to reciprocity and mutual benefit?

Speakers:  Emily Janke, Terri Shelton, Kristin Medlin, Kristin Norris