Drawing Civic and Community Engagement

Even the most avid supporter of higher education civic and community engagement has probably struggled to describe this work simply and clearly. People use many different terms, support many forms of engagement, care about many outcomes, address many public issues, etc.

So it was helpful, at our recent Community of Practice launch event, to have Emily Shields of Iowa Campus Compact ask a group to introduce themselves partly by drawing their understanding of civic and community engagement. No words or even letters were allowed.

Here are a few of the images our group produced — and then discussed the values, goals, and assumptions they revealed. As co-authors in a Life Sciences Education article put it, “visual representations are a powerful tool, because they help to make the unseen seen and the complex simple.” What would you–and your students, partners, and colleagues–draw?