Where is the public in public universities?


Christopher Bacon, Malo André Hutson, Mary Louise Frampton, Saneta deVuono-Powell


citizen participation, community engagement, PAR, participatory action research, research and policy for institutional change, tenture criteria


Environmental Justice

Year Published:


Policy Summary

The pillars of a modern university are research, teaching, and service – yet these are often not practiced in a balanced way. AB 2132 was put forth in California to formally include the service component into the appointment and review of university faculty. The bill was veteod by Governor Jerry Brown because it was deemed duplicative of previously existing service criteria that are reviewed by campus tenture committees. Participatory action research (PAR) is one promising method of academic research that incorporates teaching and service to research. PAR conducts research with a community, not on a community. This happens through all stages of research, from the needs asssessment to the data analysis and report/paper, which results in more meaningful research and co-authorship on findings. The use of PAR in research could grow if policy changes occur that incorporate PAR research into tenture evaluation criteria, institutions teach and prioritize funding for PAR work, and if the funding agencies themselves require PAR research methods in a portion of their funding opportunities. In particular, public universities have a responsibility to their communities and increased use of PAR research methodology is a perfect way to fufill this responsibility.

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