COCES Community Engagement Survey
The COCES Community Engagement and Service Faculty/Staff Survey was administered twice during the 2012-13 academic year (December and February). The COCES collected information from University of South Carolina faculty and staff from the Columbia and regional campuses regarding engagement projects. Projects included in this survey were classified by type: community-engaged, community-based, outreach, service/volunteerism and community-engaged scholarship. Full definitions and examples of these types were provided in the survey.
All faculty and staff received an email encouraging their participation in this survey. A total of 220 responses were obtained. A follow-up survey was also administered to those who were involved in recurring community engagement or service activities to identify the primary South Carolina cities and/or counties that were impacted by those projects.
Survey participants shared the general focus of their projects and other details regarding location, duration, funding sources and impact of the project.
This survey produced a number of findings. Data were shared during presentations to the Council of Academic Deans and the President’s Executive Council.
For Columbia-based projects, every academic unit on campus was involved in some type of community engagement initiative.
Approximately, 28 percent of the projects were affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences, followed by the College of Social Work (16 percent), the Arnold School of Public Health (14 percent) and the College of Education (9 percent).
Approximately 64 percent of the engagement projects are ongoing or recurring initiatives. These projects were targeted in the follow-up survey. If the project engaged a South Carolina community, the city and/or county was identified. [Web-based state and county maps are currently being developed to pinpoint the location of every USC engagement project that is currently operating within the state.]
Based upon definitions provided in the survey, respondents identified which which of five types of engagement best described their initiative (abbreviated definitions can be found below). Approximately the same percentages of initiatives were classified as community engagement or outreach (34 percent and 32 percent respectively). Programs/activities described as community-engaged scholarship represented 18 percent of the projects. Thirteen percent were labeled as service/volunteerism with 4 percent categorized as community-based scholarship.
The five community engagement types with abbreviated descriptions were:
- Community engagement: mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources with either a teaching or service focus.
- Community-based scholarship: campus designed research where community members participate as subjects.
- Community-engaged scholarship: community/campus designed research focusing on local issues with full collaboration of partners.
- Outreach: on-request assistance to community, agency, or individuals. Uses primarily university resources and professional expertise of faculty. May have a research outcome.
- Service/volunteerism: volunteering time and/or resources to contribute to the advancement and/or well-being of a community, agency or individuals.
Respondents were asked to identify a general category of focus that would eventually be used to create web knowledge maps.
Initially, 12 knowledge maps areas were identified. That number was increased to 16 based upon collective responses where further distinctions were asked for.
The area of greatest concentration of responses was Children and Youth (25 percent), followed by Health and Health Disparities (17 percent), Arts and Culture (11 percent) and Civic Engagement (8 percent).
Respondents were asked whether their initiatives were state-based, regional, national or international. If state-based, they were asked to identify the federal congressional district in which their project was primarily located.
Primary support for most programs, if necessary, came from department, college or university funds or resources. For all intents and purposes, no external funds were required for slightly over 52 percent of the initiatives.
Federal agency support was provided for 18 percent of the programs/initiatives with 14 percent indicating collaborative funding between the community and university, college or department.
12 percent were funded by outside local, regional, state agency or business entity with foundation/professional society/association funding supporting 4 percent of the programs/activities.
Impact information was indicated available for 30 percent of the initiatives with 46 percent of the respondents indicating that no impact information was available.