Communities of Practice

2019-20 Communities of Practice are underway. Check back soon for announcements on 2020-2021.

Why Communities of Practice?  

Those in a community of practice share a common concern or passion and learn how to advance that passion through regular shared interaction. The members of a community of practice share a domain of interest, engage in joint activities, and have an ongoing, sustained interaction over time contributing to their shared practice. Communities of practice can serve varied functions, including solving problems, sharing information, providing experience, utilizing shared assets, coordinating and strategizing, building a case for action, documenting projects, mapping knowledge, gaining confidence, and more. (Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, 2015) 

Ilinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Campus Compacts (CC), in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Office for Public Engagement (OPE) are offering a set of Communities of Practice (CoPs) in 201920 to enhance individuals’ capacity to do community engagement work in higher education; identify resources, research findings, program models, insights, etc., benefit a broader network; and build the field’s knowledge about CoPs as a model for professional development. 

What do the CoPs look like?  

CoPs will take place online and will include participants from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with 8-12 participants each, led by two co-chairs from the field, formed around a specific issue in higher education community and civic engagement. 

These CoPs will meet six times over the course of the academic year. Each CoP meeting will be 90 minutes long and take place via Zoom web video conference call. 

Who can be a CoP participant? 

CoPs are open to faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners affiliated with the University of Minnesota and Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Campus Compact member campuses. Graduate students and students in leadership roles may have interest in participating — please contact Sinda Nichols at snichols {at} compact(.)org if you’re an interested student so we can discuss this in more detail. Campus Compact operates on the belief that regardless of formal role, we all have valuable knowledge to share and learning to do. The CoPs are designed to leverage connections and open conversations that might not otherwise occur. Those interested in participating will complete a very short application, to be reviewed by the Campus Compact staff.  

Why Zoom video calls? 

The values of inclusion and openness lead us to use digital strategies for our regional CoPs. While there are both distinct opportunities and challenges that accompany this web-based strategy, our experience tells us video calls will allow a wider range of individuals from a broader geography to learn from one another. It also saves time and expense related to travel, lowering barriers to participation. If the video calls prevent access for a participant, staff will work with them to develop appropriate accommodations. Zoom is a fairly flexible and user-friendly platform that allows for smaller breakout discussions, shared screens, sharing resources, and more.  

2019-20 Communities of Practice


This CoP will begin with a deep dive into some of the core literature on effective and meaningful community partnerships*, and will review the different competencies related to community partnerships in The Community Engagement Professional edited by Lina Dostilio (2017). The CoP will include community partner guest experts to share their experiences as well as ongoing participant reflection around certain competencies. Our intention is for this experience to fit with the Campus Compact Community Partnership micro-credential, but it would still be valuable even if participants choose not to pursue the micro-credential.
*Note: This CoP will focus specifically on those working within a higher education context.


Alyssa Melby, St. Olaf College (bio)

Kara Trebil-Smith,  Coe College (bio)



  • Wednesday, October 30, 2019: 1:30-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019: 1:30-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, January 15, 2020: 1:30-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020: 1:30-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020: 1:30-3:00pm
  • Wednesday, April 8, 2020: 1:30-3:00pm


This Community of Practice aims to enhance capacity for community-engaged teaching and learning in higher education by developing and nurturing students’ critical consciousness through reflection, dialogue and action. The first two sessions will focus on understanding the meaning and practice of deep reflection, the middle two sessions will dive into the practice of meaningful dialogue – including the identification of “what we know to be true” in our own feelings, perceptions and lived experiences, that guides our modes of dialogue and understanding of each other. The final two sessions will focus on presentation of and deep discussion around case studies of community-institutional partnerships in action.


Aaliyah Baker, Cardinal Stritch University (bio)

Amy Shanafelt, University of Minnesota (bio)


October 31, 2019: 1:30-3:00pm
November 21, 2019: 1:30-3:00 pm
January 9, 2020: 1:30-3:00 pm
February 20, 2020: 1:30-3:00 pm
March 19, 2020: 1:30-3:00 pm
April 23, 2020: 1:30-3:00 pm


This community of practice will focus on deepening community engaged research through the lens of “Leveraging Research for Change.” Community of practice members will engage around identifying opportunities and beneficial, reciprocal partnerships that allow for research to address issues of public concern, participatory methods for community engagement to address issues of public concern, and investing in sustainability of change efforts that address public issues.


Marie Schaedel, University of Minnesota (bio)

Laura Palombi, University of Minnesota (bio)


  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019: 10:00-11:30am (could be moved to the 22nd if this is too early)
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2019: 10:00-11:30am
  • Tuesday, December 10, 2019: 10:00-11:30am
  • Tuesday, January 14, 2020: 10:00-11:30am
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020: 10:00-11:30am
  • Tuesday, April 7, 2020: 10:00-11:30am

Description: In this Community of Practice, participants will explore how to incorporate participatory processes into engaged scholarship and research. Topics for monthly meetings will include the 6 Tenants of Community-Based Participatory Research, , the spectrum of engaged scholarship (from community-placed to community-based participatory processes), and a deep dive into best practices such as crafting Memorandums of Agreement as well as useful strategies for sharing power in community-university research partnerships. While this COP is open to community partners and college or university faculty and staff, community partners are especially encouraged to apply.



Kayla Lyftogt,  University of Minnesota (bio)

Emily Oliver, Carleton College (bio)



  • Thursday 9:30-11AM, Nov 7
  • Thursday  9:30-11AM, Dec 5
  • Thursday  9:30-11AM, Jan 16
  • Thursday  9:30-11AM, February 13
  • Thursday  9:30-11AM, March 26
  • Thursday  9:30-11AM, April 23


“High Impact Practices” hold potential for transformative learning but only if the
experience is intentionally mined for meaning and integrated into other areas of one’s life. Often as faculty and staff we are not prepared to ask bigger questions of our students. Reflective practice, in order to be effectively taught to students, must be experienced personally. While the goal is to assist students in their reflection for transformative learning, one must embody reflective understanding, beyond simply analytical knowledge. Thus, in this Community of Practice, we will invite participants to engage in reflection together to work on personal skills of creating hospitable space, knowing and telling our own stories, asking better questions and learning from experience. These skills will then transfer to pedagogy and practice with our students. Success of the CoP will be participants’ increased capacity to use tools for reflection (especially, but not only, ePortfolios and reflective prompts) with their students and participants’ positive engagement in a supportive, learning community of colleagues.


Karin Trail-Johnson, Macalester College (bio)

Tina Kruse, Macalester College (bio)


  • Friday, November 1, 2019: 10:00-11:30am
  • Friday, December 6, 2019: 10:00-11:30am
  • Friday, January 17, 2020: 10:00-11:30am
  • Friday, February 7, 2020: 10:00-11:30am
  • Friday, March 6, 2020: 10:00-11:30am
  • Friday, April 3, 2020: 10:00-11:30am


In our current political context, how do we, as citizens (community members) engage one another across significant differences for our collective (common) good? This Community of Practice explores the intersection of community engagement and the importance of diverse, inclusive, and equitable conversations that engage and work for all people. Community engagement implies meaningful connections between and among citizens that give voice and agency and a feeling of power and effectiveness with real opportunities to make a difference.


Julianne Gassman, University of Northern Iowa (bio)

Phyllis Esposito, Edgewood College (bio)

Dates: COP meeting dates and times – Wednesdays 9:00-10:30

  • Oct. 23
  • Nov. 20
  • Dec. 18
  • Jan. 22
  • Feb. 19
  • March 4