Community Engagement

Building Capacity

Building Tri-Campus Capacity for Community Engagement


Building on each campus’ comprehensive assessments of community engagement through the Carnegie Foundation, which led to each campus’ successful classification as Community-Engaged Campuses in 2020, the UW continues to grow our collective abilities to partner effectively and equitably in community. In recognition of the potential of this collective work as the core to an “impact ecosystem”, in 2022 President Cauce directed resources toward improving tri-campus community engagement infrastructure. Supported by a generous anonymous gift, the goal of this new tri-campus effort is to catalyze measurable, positive progress across the University of Washington toward deeper, ethical and effective community engagement by building organizational capacities that support, improve, and celebrate community engaged work. In fall 2022 a tri-campus Community Engagement Working Group was charged to synthesize existing understanding of campus and university infrastructure, develop strategies and recommend priorities and processes toward that goal. Over the first half of 2023 the Working Group laid some groundwork for strategically investing resources to build capacity for community engagement, in alignment with existing campus and institutional capacities, priorities, and needs. (See an overview of this effort (PDF).)

In spring 2023 President Cauce approved initial priorities and allocated funds to build foundational infrastructure and set the stage for additional capacity-building. The initial priorities for community engagement infrastructure to be addressed through this funding include:

  • Develop community engagement best principles and blueprints in alignment with diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Support or incorporate community engagement in campus-scale strategies and planning
  • Remove fiscal policy/process barriers to community engagement
  • Improve data collection (tracking, mapping, documentation) and analysis (assessment, evaluation) of community engagement
  • Support faculty and staff community engagement by developing and expanding resources for professional development, promotion and tenure, and other supports  
  • Grow student community engagement training and professional development opportunities
  • Build appropriate tri-campus institutional efficiencies and coordination of community engagement to center the benefits to community partners


Community of Practice

As part of this tri-campus effort to build capacity, a UW-wide series of conversations was launched in Fall 2023. Entitled Cultivating Connections for Community Engagement, the purpose of these conversations is to connect with others across the UW who practice, support, or are interested in community engagement; to explore what’s happening across the UW in this space; and to contribute your ideas and perspectives for building the university’s capacity for community-engaged research and learning.

Spring Quarter gathering: April 20, 2024:

Winter Quarter gathering: February 27, 2024:

Fall Quarter launch: November 30, 2023:

Faculty and Staff Community Engagement Leads

Officially kicking off at the start of winter quarter 2024, twelve faculty and staff from Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses will collectively tackle key infrastructure priorities for community engaged research and learning at the University of Washington. Stemming from the tri-campus capacity-building effort launched in 2022, these Community Engagement Leads will work within and among campuses to assess, evaluate, and build community engagement supports for faculty, staff, students, and community partners. Learn about the Community Engagement Leads.

Community Advisory Council

For the period of April 15-October 15, 2024, a group of community partner representatives has agreed to advise on this project as the Community Advisory Council (CAC). The CE Working Group has established this CAC, representing a range of established community partners, to advise the current capacity-building effort as well as the University’s longer-term partner engagement strategy. The CAC will bring their experience with the UW and similar experiences to inform the Priority Work Teams as they make progress on the seven CE priority areas defined above. In addition, the CAC will make recommendations for community partner engagement in this tri-campus initiative beyond the current priorities and efforts.

The community partner representatives demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Has an established or ongoing relationship with the University of Washington in some aspect of CE. 
  • Addresses priorities that arise directly from the community. 
  • Participates in networks of current and potential partners. 
  • Exhibits a commitment to diversity and equity, through leadership, service, or otherwise representing marginalized groups. 
  • Exhibits reciprocity in relationships, goals, and actions with partners and community. 
  • At this time the UW is unable to provide translation services and will focus on English-language partners.  

 The CAC membership comprises a diverse group across the below categories: 

  • Sector of organization (private, governmental and non-governmental organizations, etc.) 
  • Size and resource-access of organization 
  • Topical focus of organization and of partnership with the UW 
  • Location and scale of partnership (local, state, global, etc.)  
  • Types of partnerships with the UW (course-based, research, etc.)  
  • Relationship/s with various units of the UW 
  • Demographic identifiers and lived experiences of representatives  

CAC members include:

  • Chalin Pahn, Asian Counseling and Referral Services
  • Laura Rodrigues and Micah Pepper, Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Heba Ramzy, Avanade
  • Daisy Parra-Padilla, Benton-Franklin Health District
  • Jacques Colon, City of Tacoma
  • Robin Schwartz
  • Lori Forte Harnick, Goodwill Industries
  • Luzviminda “Lulu” Carpenter, KVRU South Seattle Community Radio
  • Marisol Bejarano, Rosario Reyes, and Tom Laing, Latino Education Training Institute
  • Hiba Ishaq, Meenakshi Ruhela, Sukannyaa Lahon, and Nivedita Soni, Pravah
  • Mahnaz Eshetu, Refuge Women’s Alliance
  • Jen Reed, Sound Credit Union
  • Aimee Khuu, Tacoma Community House
  • Joshua Garcia, Tacoma Public Schools
  • Amy Norton and Erica Aparicio, Yakima School District

Learn more

The Working Group is now reaching out to UW campus partners to gauge their interest in learning more and/or engaging in this work. UW faculty, staff and students, please subscribe to the communityengagement listserv to learn more.