Community Engaged Scholarship

Photo credit: Arnold Morrison

Community engaged scholarship is a valuable way to enhance the quality and scope of research and teaching at UC Santa Cruz.  Faculty and staff across campus engage with community partners in various ways as part of their scholarship, and the University has become a global leader in best practices for community engaged scholarship:  mutually beneficial, with long-term relationships built on trust and strong collaboration. The Institute helps to coordinate and support this diversity of community engaged scholarship, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary research collaboration across departments and colleges, and the intentional inclusion of students, faculty, staff and community members who share the desire to engage in community knowledge production for community benefit.

Community Engaged Research Institute (CERI)

CERI is an annual four-day intensive program held at UCSC. The program introduces graduate students, early career scholars, and community members to the foundations, ethics, methods, tools and democratic aspects of collaborative research.

No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home is a community-initiated, student-engaged research project on the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz County. Based at UC Santa Cruz, the project grew out of two ongoing research initiatives: Critical Sustainabilities, led by Miriam Greenberg, and Working for Dignity, led by Steve McKay.

Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California

The Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (CCREC) supports the formation of the field of engaged scholarship, putting ethics at the forefront of an inter/multi/trans-disciplinary approach to addressing the needs of aggrieved communities seeking to build a more just and democratic society.  

Central Valley Freedom Summer

Led by Veronica Terriquez, Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, is the Central Valley Freedom Summer (CVFS) a community-action research project. CVFS will then place 25 trained UC Santa Cruz and UC Merced students from the Central Valley as paid summer interns and researchers in nonprofit organizations to investigate and improve non-partisan voter education and grassroots organizing efforts in California’s Central Valley.


Community Psychology Research & Action Team

Led by Regina Day Langhout, Professor of Psychology at UC Santa Cruz, the Community Psychology Research & Action Team (CPRAT) engages in participatory action research in a local community. The team has been working in the area since 2007. In all cases, the research questions and plans are jointly determined with community collaborators, but are always related to community-based empowerment, or groups with historically little power gaining control over the resources that affect their lives.


Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust

The Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust (SVRDT) is a secure cross-sector data-sharing environment combining administrative records from education, health and human services, and juvenile probation in the tri-county Silicon Valley.  It serves dual roles as (1) a data-driven decision making tool for improving service coordination, information flow, and educational outcomes and (2) a research engine for studying student learning in broader contexts, contributing to improved school and life outcomes for youth in the Silicon Valley and the broader field of data science for the public good.


Middle School Break Time Study

Led by Rebecca London, Assistant professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, this recent project was a collaborative research project with Santa Cruz City Schools to explore break time at middle schools. London worked with a team of 25 undergraduate students, a doctoral student, and a high school intern to collect observations and interviews at seven local schools.  The study explores the kinds of activities middle school students engage in during their breaks and alignment with middle schoolers' developmental needs.


Oakes Service Learning Program

Each Oakes service learning course combines classroom study and analysis with real community work: students, faculty, and community partners develop agreements to work on projects together, and in the process work on understanding, accepting, and celebrating human diversity, and expanding our potential to create justice.


Community Studies Program

UCSC’s pioneering community studies program provides a distinctive pedagogy of integrating classroom learning and extended field study. Community Studies was a national pioneer in the field of experiential education and its community-focused learning model has been copied widely by other colleges and universities.


Students at UC Santa Cruz have many service learning course options as part of the general education requirements. These courses provide supervised learning experiences where students reflect on, communicate, and integrate principles and theories from the classroom in real-world settings. Service learning provides students with an opportunity to integrate their academic coursework with community involvement. Students gain valuable practical skills while giving back to the community.


The Apprenticeship in Community-Engaged Research Program trains undergraduate students in participatory research methodologies and provides upper division research methods classes and internships for students to work in school and community contexts with our Community-Engaged Signature Projects. Under the leadership of Environmental Studies Professor and Provost Flora Lu and Program Director Linnea Beckett and in collaboration with our community partners, students engage in projects that address pressing issues such as social, economic, educational, and environmental injustice. (H)ACER's approach pushes against deficit and damage-centered frameworks and honors the cultural, social and epistemological strength of community members.