As citizens and as scholars, we have an interest in today’s debates about public policy, conversations about the state of the world, and imagining a different future. We have the ability and the responsibility for participating and engaging with our fellow human beings in the service of the common good.
Our role goes beyond being members of the larger public. Most universities include a call to service to the larger community in the expectations of faculty members. Those of us employed at public institutions have an added responsibility to serve the public interest. Furthermore, many of us were educated at public universities or have received state-sponsored assistance to finance our education, and we have a particular responsibility to give back to the larger community.
We have a role in making the world a better place.
The Public Engagement Project Mission and Vision
The Public Engagement Project supports and trains faculty members to use their research to contribute to social change, inform public policy, and enrich public debate. Scholars learn new skills from experts and from each other to improve their communication and engagement with the media, community groups, policymakers, and practitioners. The Project also helps faculty members build their own networks of institutions and individuals who can apply their research findings, and it helpscreate institutional spaces for communication between academics and non-academics who do applied work in common areas of expertise. This public engagement not only expands the impact of research on society, it also improves the quality of research. By developing a new generation of public intellectuals, the project enhances the public’ s understanding, value, and use of research, and promotes greater integration of research and its application.
About the Public Engagement Project:
The Public Engagement Project was founded in 2007 by social, behavioral, humanities, and life scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who wanted to expand the engagement of scholars with the world outside the academy. Faculty from the Center for Public Policy & Administration, the Center for Research on Families, the Department of Sociology, and the Psychology of Peace & Violence Program in the Department of Psychology were involved from the beginning.