Monitoring & Measuring Community Impact

With campus-community engagement work now well-established, there is greater focus on whether the work being done is effective and impactful.  Since 2012, NC Campus Compact has sought to support member institutions in better measuring and monitoring of their community engagement efforts.

In  June 2018, the focus of our annual Community Engagement Administrators Conference (CEAC) was "Planning for Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement Activities."  Participants engaged in a day-long workshop explore this question "How are the students, faculty, and staff on campus working to address civic issues and public problems?" In the workshop participants reviewed a range of strategies to assess community-engaged activities (i.e., curricular, co-curricular, or project-based activities that are done in partnership with the community). This session gave participants tools, strategies, and information to design, initiate and/or enhance systematic mechanisms for monitoring and auditing community-engaged activities across your institution.  The workshop was facilitated by Anne Weiss, Director of Assessment, Campus Compact of Indiana.

Between 2012-2015, NC Campus Compact partnered with Dr. Barbara Holland (click here to read her bio) to launch the Monitoring and Measuring Initiative (MMI) to provide ongoing professional development and training to member institutions.  

Engagement success depends on links to:

  • Strategic goals for the institution
  • The core emphasis, mission and capacity of the institution (i.e., research, teaching, learning)
  • Policies, structures, systems and values
  • An understanding of its external intellectual and physical context

How do you know if you are making the appropriate linkages? Monitoring and measuring can help! Very simply, monitoring is gathering information about what is happening on your campus. Measuring is capturing evidence about what happened as a result of that activity. Campuses use monitoring and measuring to:

  • Promote quality practices and improvement
  • Promote growth of engagement
  • Discover areas of similar work or partnerships
  • Encourage focused/strategic activities
  • Promote collaboration across projects
  • Engage and recognize partners
  • Identify resource needs or benefits of investment

NC Campus Compact knows that monitoring and measuring engagement can help, and so has created this website to keep you connected to resources, important dates, and others within our network who are thinking about this work. 

Learn more about MMI here
(for NC Campus Compact members only)

Get started in organizing the work on your campus with the

Campus Compact Institutional Self-Assessment!

The University of North Carolina System is the first public university system in the country to track systemiwide indicators for measuring the progress and impact of community engagement and economic development.  Learn more about this exciting initiative below.

Starting in spring 2014, NC Campus Compact began convening four community college member campuses to explore creating aligned metrics.  Stay posted for more details. 

Materials from 2012 Civic Engagement Administrator Conferences
"Measuring and Monitoring Civic Engagement"

Below are materials from the workshop Dr. Barbara Holland facilitated on June 11th at East Carolina University and June 13th at Queens University of Charlotte on measuring and monitoring civic engagement. 

Holland Powerpoint  Where referencing this PowerPoint, please include this citation: Holland, B.A. (2012). Tracking and Measuring Community Engagement [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Levels of Commitment to Community Engagement matrix

Tracking and Measuring Engagement “Purposes Worksheet”

Connecting Your Institutional Research and Assessment Offices with Civic Engagement Assessment (Presented by Dr. Jodi Pettazzoni , Director of Academic Assessment & Accreditation, UNC Greensboro)

Calling the Question: Is Higher Education Ready to Commit to Community Engagement?
A Wingspread Statement 2004
Mary Jane Brukardt, Barbara Holland, Stephen L. Percy and Nancy Zimpher on behalf of Wingspread Conference participants

In search of evidence; measuring community engagement, a pilot study (2006)   
Goedegebuure, L., VanDerLee, J., 2006

Tools for the Institutionalization of Public Engagement
Berth Dierker, Yi Cao, Lisa Burton, Michelle Kuhl, and Andy Furco, University of Minnesota, 2012

Democracy, Civic Participation, and the University:  A Comparative Study of Civic Engagement on Five Campuses Susan A. Ostrander, Tufts University

Exploring the Challenge of Documenting and Measuring Civic Engagement Endeavors of Colleges and Universities:  Purposes, Issues, Ideas
Campus Compact Advanced Institute on Classifications for Civic Engagement, March 23, 2001
Barbara Holland

Useful Links

Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Elective Classification

President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

National Campus Compact Annual Membership Survey

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

2011 article from Inside Higher Education, "Measuring Engagement," specifically about the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) but addressing an important set of issues for service-learning, engaged scholarship, and other forms of academic outreach and engagement.

UNC Greensboro's Community Engagement Collaboratory 

Central Piedmont Community College Builds the Case for Engagement Using Data

Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, has an established and thriving Office of Service- Learning.  Working with the Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment, they have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of service-learning as a retention strategy.

2011-13 Report

University of North Carolina Community Engagement and Economic Development Metrics Initiative

Combined Report of the Community Engagement and Economic Development Metrics Task Forces: Indicators for measuring the progress and impact of community engagement and economic

UNC System Community Engagement and Economic Development Metrics (Excel Workbook) 

UNC Engagement Report 2015

2013-2014 UNC Economic and Community Engagement Metrics Manual (Updated: 8/9/13)

SACS Accreditation

When thinking about assessing your campus’ engagement work, keep in mind that Institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, are required to demonstrate compliance with Accreditation Standard

3.3 Institutional Effectiveness
3.3.1 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to
which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of
improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following
areas: (Institutional Effectiveness) educational programs, to include student learning outcomes administrative support services academic and student support services research within its mission, if appropriate community/public service within its mission, if appropriate