Community Engagement in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences: Academic Dispositions, Institutional Dilemmas
Engaged scholarship is increasingly concerned with how community engagement might be institutionalized in the contemporary university. At the same time, it must be attentive to diverse academic approaches to knowledge and to the forms of engagement associated with them. Attention to this plurality is especially important in the humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS). Based on a multi-method study conducted in the Faculty of Arts at a large western Canadian research university, this paper maps the demographic positions (gender, rank, and discipline) and scholarly dispositions (stances adopted toward the production of knowledge and the role of the academic) of HASS faculty and contract instructors onto the range of ways they perceive and practice engagement. Against this backdrop, we present a qualitative case study of two pairs of faculty that fleshes out the complexities and possibilities of divergent dispositions and the forms and experiences of engagement with which they are associated. We assert that understanding differentiated starting points to knowledge production among HASS academics is an important pathway to the fuller recognition and flexible institutionalization of engagement in research universities.ÂÂ
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