What is a community of practice?

Communities of Practice event held at the Oak House

According to Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, communities of practice are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

There are three basic criteria for membership in a community of practice, including a shared domain of interest, a community or group of people who communicate with each other and engage in joint, sustained activities, and the practice, or development of a shared repertoire of knowledge and expertise through experiences, stories and tools. Finding value in the interactions and developing one’s sense of identity are common themes for community members (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002).

Some of the possible activities of a community of practice for research on global engagement include, but are not limited to: critical reflection on extant scholarship; mapping existing knowledge and identifying gaps; linking evidence to practice; showcasing “best practices”; identifying possible collaborative opportunities; discussing strategies for scholarly productivity across life ages and stages; mentoring students.

In 2023-24, there will be several themed communities of practice. The first is a multi-semester group developing and studying course-embedded Community-Engaged Global Learning (co-sponsored with the Kernodle Center for Civic Life; details sent via campus email). The second is Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Global Contexts, based on a sustained collaboration with the Association of American Colleges & Universities and the Forum on Education Abroad, among other partners. The third is on Intercultural Competences, based on Elon’s global partnership with the newly awarded UNESCO Chair of Intercultural Competences, with Chairs Darla Deardorff and Sarah Howie at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Further information about participation will be shared via campus email; if interested, please contact Maureen at vanderma@elon.edu.

Ketevan Kupatadze and Olivia Choplin present their project sponsored by the CRG