Next Generation Engagement Project

The Next Generation Engagement project is a collaboration between NERCHE, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and Imagining America and is led by a group of recognized scholars and practitioners to develop and implement civic engagement initiatives aimed at the next generation of students, faculty, and scholars in higher education.


It has become increasingly apparent that higher education, as an industry driven by the culture of research universities, is struggling to reinvent itself in the face of new challenges. Yet these challenges also present remarkable opportunities for innovation, experimentation, and civic purpose. While large-scale change has been slow to emerge, there are indications that the next generation of students and scholars has already committed itself to balancing the cosmopolitan with the local in a way that fosters a more socially responsive stance within higher education.

Considerable scholarship around the next generation of engagement has emerged over the past decade, influenced by the work of Roberto Ibarra, Gary Rhoads et al, Nick Longo, and KerryAnn O'Meara, to name only a few.  While representing a broad conceptual spectrum, much of this next generation work focuses on:

  1. Undergraduate students as co-producers of knowledge, valuing the knowledge and experience they contribute to the educational process, sharing authority for the process of knowledge generation and pedagogy, and allowing them to practice and experiment with a public culture of democracy as part of the work of higher education.
  2. Graduate education and graduate students who tend to be more politically aware and active than previous generations and who are looking to connect their academic passions with their commitments to social justice and community building.
  3. Early career faculty who, because they often began engagement as undergraduates and then brought questions of public relevance and action into their graduate studies, begin their faculty careers with inclinations toward engaged teaching and learning and collaborative knowledge generation with those outside the campus.
  4. The important and inevitable role of technology in connecting and advancing civic engagement (in ways that were unthinkable to earlier generations).
  5. Global competencies among students and faculty that reflect the importance of making connections between the local and international.
  6. The strong, even seamless, connection between engagement and diversity on campus.

Elements of the Project

 The Next Generation Engagement project:

Project Team

AdamBushAdam Bush is the founding Director of Curriculum of College Unbound, a college degree program formed in collaboration with Big Picture Learning, Roger Williams University, and Southern New Hampshire University working to create a model for a more just higher education system. Adam is completing his doctoral dissertation, “Passing Notes in Class,” at USC's Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, is a member of NERCHE's Next Generation Engagement project, a board member of Imagining America, Artists and Scholars in Public Life, and National Director of its Publicly Active Graduate Education program. Adam co-coordinates the newly formed Broad St Cultural Center and Broad St Synagogue in Providence and the Ashe Cultural Arts Center's College Unbound program in New Orleans..


Patti_ClaytonPatti H. Clayton is an independent consultant (PHC Ventures:, a Senior Scholar with the Center for Service and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and a Visiting Scholar with the Office of Research and Economic Development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Previously, she served as founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Curricular Engagement at NC State University. Her scholarly interests include critical reflection and assessment, student / faculty / community partner learning, instructional design and curriculum development, student leadership in service-learning, and transformational partnerships. She is co-editor with Bringle and Hatcher of the forthcoming book Research on Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Assessment and a Board member for the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

Patti co-authored the white paper "Democracy and Higher Education: The Future of Engagement" with John Saltmarsh and Matt Hartley. She works with NERCHE and with the Center for Service and Learning at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to conceptualize and develop tools in support of civic learning and is serving on a NERCHE-convened leadership team to advance scholarship on and support for undergraduate student leaders, graduate students, and early career faculty in their capacity as the next generation of community-engaged practitioner-scholars.

Patti received her Ph.D. and M.S. from the Curriculum in Ecology at UNC-Chapel Hill and holds undergraduate degrees in English, Biology, and Environmental Studies from NC State.

LinaDostilloLina D. Dostilio directs Academic Community Engagementactivities for Duquesne University. In this capacity, she works intensivelywith faculty members and community stakeholders to facilitate community-engaged teaching and research. As a base for these activities, she oversees the Office of Service-Learning located within the Academic Affairs division of the University. Dostilio also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE), on the Strategic Planning Advisory Board for Pennsylvania CampusCompact, and co-founded the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Network for the Growth of Service-Learning. She is a doctoral candidate, studying educational leadership, and is in the process of writing her dissertation on how community-university partnership stakeholders come to take on the roles andprocesses indicative of democratic engagement. As chairperson of the Graduate Student Network of IARSLCE, Dostilio convenes a team of graduate students from all over the world to discuss how they might best collaborate with their graduate student peers who aspire to be civically engaged educators and scholars. Dostilio also convenes the Reciprocity Writing Group, a thinking and writing network of scholars who explore the meaning and use of reciprocity within community engagement literatures. 

thmb_Eatman_TKTimothy Eatman is Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Syracuse University and Director for Research of Imagining America (IA). Tim provides research leadership for the Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship and is co-author of Scholarship in Public, Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University. This work on faculty rewards for publicly engaged scholarship extends to a recently established study of IA's Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program which examines the aspirations and decisions of engaged artists and scholars in the cultural disciplines. He earned degrees in Education (B.S.-Pace University, NY and M.Ed.-Howard University, D.C.) and the Ph.D. in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Eatman also pursues research on the pipeline to graduate school and the professoriate for students from traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education. This strand of his research examines the relationships among institutional policies, programs, and college student development. He has recently begun research with funding from the National Science Foundation that explored the transition from the military to higher education for veterans in engineering fields within the context of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Eatman has published in venues including the Journal of Educational Finance, Readings on Equal Education, Diversity and Democracy, other book chapters and reports.

Barbara HarrisonBarbara Harrison is a Ph.D candidate at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. She is currently writing her dissertation on the impact of service-learning on faculty members who belong to a food security research network at a university in Northern Ontario. Barbara has been involved in spearheading the growth of service-learning at her institution. In addition she co-chairs the Ontario Community Service-Learning Networking Group, which comprises representatives from universities and colleges across Southern Ontario. Barbara is a steering committee member of the Graduate Students Network of IARSLCE. She is also a Senior Editorial Fellow involved in co-creating the conference Proceedings for the IARSLCE annual conference along with an international group of graduate students and two established scholars. Barbara is a member of the Reciprocity Writing Group and other collaborative cross-institutional writing teams, and is a member of the NERCHE Next Generation Engagement Project.

thmb_emily_jankeEmily M. Janke is the Assistant Director for Service-Learning at UNCG,  providing curricular, administrative, and partnership support to faculty members and students who seek to enhance their teaching, learning, research, and service through academic service-learning and community-engaged research strategies. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from The Pennsylvania State University and her B.A. from Colgate University in Environmental Geography. Emily continues to incorporate service-learning into her curricula, as well as partner with other scholars to research student and faculty perceptions of community engagement. Her articles on public scholarship, graduate education programs, faculty motivation for public scholarship, and faculty-community partnerships have appeared in Journal of Higher Education Outreach and EngagementAdvances in Service-Learning ResearchNew Directions for Teaching and Learning, and Higher Education in Review. Emily is a Visiting Fellow with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) and is collaboratively exploring issues related to the next generation of engaged scholars. She serves as an elected board member for the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE). She was a co-winner of the 2008 IARSLCE Dissertation Award for her dissertation, Shared Partnership Identity between Faculty and Community Partners.

 thmb_nick_longoNicholas V. Longo is director of the Global Studies program and assistant professor of Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College. Previously, he was the founding director of the national student civic engagement campaign, Raise Your Voice, for Campus Compact from 2002-2004 and then director of the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute at Miami University.  Nick is also the author of Why Community Matters: Connecting Education with Civic Life (SUNY Press, 2007) and co-editor of Students as Colleagues: Expanding the Circle of Service-Learning Leadership (Campus Compact: 2006).


cecilia_orphanCecilia M. Orphan is a Ph.D. student in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies the role of higher education in American democracy. “My broad research interest,” writes Ms. Orphan, “is understanding and exploring the role of higher education in maintaining and improving American democracy. Specifically, I am interested in studying how universities might structure themselves in democratic ways to create robust civic learning outcomes for students. Additionally, I am interested in exploring the connections between civic engagement experiences and degree completion for low-income and minority students.”  Prior to coming to Penn, Ms. Orphan directed the American Democracy Project (ADP), a multi-campus initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  The 230 universities involved with ADP focus on higher education's role in educating informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. Ms. Orphan also served as the editor of the Academic Leadership and Change Digest series, a collection of queries about current institutional practices that are used by AASCU provosts as they consider new approaches to campus issues. Ms. Orphan serves on the board of directors for The Democracy Imperative, the steering committee of the American Commonwealth Project, and the editorial board on Penn GSE’s Perspectives on Urban Education journal. Ms. Orphan serves as a fellow for the following projects: Publicly Active Graduate Education with Imagining America; the Next Generation Engagement Project with NERCHE, and Editorial Fellow with the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Civic Engagement. In 2011, Ms. Orphan was awarded the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement. Ms. Orphan holds a B.A. in political science from Portland State University. As an undergraduate student, Ms. Orphan co-founded the PSU Volunteer Resource Center and was awarded the President's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement two years in a row.

margaret postMargaret A. Post is a Visiting Scholar at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education at UMASS Boston and at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy at Dartmouth College. Post holds a Doctorate in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. For over ten years, she has worked as a community organizer, educator, and scholar. Her research interests include the role of grassroots organizations in social policy change and the civic development of young people and new immigrants. In 2011, Post published Grassroots Coalitions and State Policy Change: Organizing for Immigrant Health Care, an investigation of how statewide, health policy coalitions incorporate immigrant interests in organizing strategies for policy change. In addition to teaching courses on organizing and public policy, Post conducts trainings and research with a broad range of non-profit and political organizations. Currently, as Senior Researcher with the Innovation Network, Inc. she is conducting a multi-year, multi-site evaluation of the Center for Community Change.

Post was Director of the Donelan Office of Community Based Learning at Holy Cross (Worceseter, MA) from 2007-2011. In 2007, she received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Bailis Family Social Justice Award from the Heller School at Brandeis University. She has served on the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Campus Compact and the Advisory Board of the publication, Diversity and Democracy. Post is a member of the Next Generation Engagement Project at NERCHE and is co-editor of Voices of the Next Generation of Engagement with Elaine Ward, Nicholas Longo, and John Saltmarsh (forthcoming, 2015).

thmb_AnnieMillerAnnie Miller currently serves as the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Miami University Hamilton. While leading the Center, she coauthored the Ohio Civic Health Index which identifies civic and community behaviors of individuals and policy changes that might effectively lead to enhanced participation. She also leads community and campus wide efforts for greater collaboration and support, programs such as Staycation, Constitution Day, Congress 2 Campus, Deliberative Dialogues, and Democracy Wall, as well as efforts to more effectively integrate connections between economic development in communities and civic health. While in Hamilton, Ohio, Annie founded HUB (Hamilton’s Underground Buzz); a young adult movement aimed at restoring green space to the urban core of the community and fostering public, multi-generational leadership. Annie is looking forward to focusing on the intersections between economic development and community health as well as identifying formative engagement experiences of individuals that lead to long-term community commitments in her academic career. The University of Colorado at Boulder welcomes Annie as she works to attain a Ph. D in political science. She completed a Master’s degree at Miami University and undergraduate work at Colorado State University. 

JessReadingJessica Reading is currently serving a year as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at Miami University Hamilton.  As community placement coordinator for the campus, she works closely with the Office of Student Activities and Service Learning as well as the Center for Civic Engagement.  Before her year of service, she was an undergraduate student at Miami University, majoring in Management and Organizations and American Studies.  While a student at Miami, Jessica became a leader in the Wilks Leadership Institute Acting Locally cohort, a program focused on bridging academic theories of civic engagement and community based work in surrounding local communities.  She immersed herself in the Hamilton community and worked closely with the Latino population and small business leaders over the past 3 years to help establish a non-profit geared to bring together local citizens to advocate against existing social injustices in the community. Her undergraduate work in Hamilton enabled her to establish relationships in the community and develop programs focusing on enabling other students to increase their civic capacity in the community.  Some of those activities include student service organizations, STAYcation, service-learning placements, and planning the first international service trip offered to students.  She also served as a participant in the Citizens' Leadership Institute and completed a Nonprofit Board Leadership Certificate Program to build help build relationships in the community.  After her year in AmeriCorps, she will move to Guatemala to join a nonprofit, MicroEnterprise Solutions, an organization aimed at using social entrepreneurship as a vehicle for community development.


John Saltmarsh is the Co-Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.


Tim ShafferTimothy J. Shaffer is a research associate at the Kettering Foundation and a PhD candidate at Cornell University. His scholarship is centered on the promise and challenge of intentional efforts to cultivate and develop respectful, productive, and effective relationships between experts and so-called “ordinary” citizens. He studies two related lines of inquiry: a historical line that focuses on public work in the 1930s and 1940s in the land-grant system’s Cooperative Extension work in developing farmer discussion groups and Schools of Philosophy for Extension Workers, and a line that utilizes narrative inquiry to illuminate, analyze, and interpret the contemporary democratic engagement experiences of academic professionals and citizens as co-creators of knowledge to name, frame, and address complex public problems.
Tim has written about higher education’s public mission and the role of graduate education in Collaborative Futures: Critical Reflections on Publicly Active Graduate Education, an edited volume published by the Graduate School Press of Syracuse University in 2012.  He has also written about deliberative democracy and ways academic professionals can collaboratively work with citizens to help address environmental issues in Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook, published by Sage in 2012.
Tim has a BA in theology and philosophy from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York, and an MA in theological studies and an MPA, both from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Immediately prior to his doctoral studies, he worked in the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community at the University of Dayton.



elaine_wardElaine Ward is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow for the Higher Education Policy Research Unit in the Center for Social and Educational Research at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Dublin, Ireland.  She is also a Visiting Scholar at NERCHE. Formerly, Elaine worked at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in the College of Public and Community Service, where she worked with adult students in the areas of leadership and community development, social justice and change, and civic and community engagement.  She also participated in research related to the institutionalization of community-engaged scholarship through promotion and tenure and the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.  As a native of Ireland, Elaine is also interested in the institutionalization of civic engagement in Irish higher education. Elaine holds a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Boston's Higher Education Administration program.

thmb_brandon_whitneyBrandon C. Whitney is Director of Operations and co-founder of, a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering local environmental knowledge and action in urban spaces. He is also an Associate with the Center for Humans and Nature, an interdisciplinary think tank that explores and promotes civic responsibilities for the environment. An environmental anthropologist by training, Brandon's interdisciplinary research background includes conservation science and education, community development, and civic engagement. His experience spans academia, NGOs, and community organizations in rural and urban contexts in the US and abroad, including West Africa and Latin America. Previously, with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, he worked to develop collaborative research programs on climate change, global water issues, and extreme poverty; he has also promoted urban environmental stewardship while at the Urban Resources Initiative at Yale University. He served as a Research Associate with the Center for Excellence in Curricular Engagement at NC State University for several years, collaborating on scholarship projects aimed at adapting the service-learning pedagogy to a variety of contexts including curricular development, international education and civic engagement in higher education. Brandon holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Political Science from NC State University and a Master of Environmental Science from Yale University.

thmb_ed_zlotkowskiEdward Zlotkowski is a professor of English at Bentley College and in 1990 founded the Bentley Service-Learning Center, an institution-wide program that has involved all of the college's undergraduate academic departments, more than a quarter of its full-time faculty, and several thousand students.  He writes and speaks extensively on a wide range of service-learning and engagement-related topics, and served as general editor of the American Association for Higher Education's 21-volume series on service-learning in the academic disciplines. He also served as editor of Successful Service-Learning Programs, published by Anker in 1998, Service-Learning and the First-Year Experience, published by the University of South Carolina in 2002, and as co-editor of Students as Colleagues: Expanding the Circle of Service-Learning Leadership, published by Campus Compact in 2006.  Dr. Zlotkowski has led service-learning workshops for international, national, and regional organizations as well as several hundred individual campuses. His non-service learning scholarly interests have included contemporary American poetry, and German and English romanticism.   He regularly uses service-learning in his own teaching.



  • "Students as Colleagues in the Next Generation of Civic Engagement." Presentation given at the New England Regional Campus Compact Conference, April 14, 2010.  Presenters: John Saltmarsh, Director, New England Resource Center for Higher Education, University of Massachusetts Boston; Edward Zlotkowski, Professor, Bentley University; Katelyn Horowitz, Undergraduate Student, Bentley University.  Download PowerPoint presentation (1 MB)