Survey Terms & Definitions

Forms of Engagement


National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Advocacy is the act of promoting a cause, idea or policy to influence people’s opinions or actions on matters of public policy or concern (e.g. issue identification, research and analysis; public issue education; lobbying for or against legislation; nonpartisan voter registration, education and mobilization; litigation; educating government agencies at all levels; participation in referenda and ballot initiatives; grassroots mobilization; and testifying before government bodies).

Community & Economic Development

Fulton-Montgomery Community College

Community development takes a broader look at a geographic area and creates a vision for the future. It works to enhance the economic, social and cultural aspects that identify a region and give it a unique character. It is the activity of improving or enhancing the attractiveness of a community and thus raising the value of property, desirability, and livability. It is, then, all of those aspects that make a community a place where people want to live and work. It includes those attributes that create a sense of attachment to a community and provide its residents with a sense of pride.

Economic development is a focused initiative within the larger effort of community development and is the improvement and strengthening of communities with an emphasis on attracting and growing business and industry. The American Economic Development Council defines economic development as “....the process of creating wealth through [the] mobilization of human, financial, capital, physical, and natural resources to generate marketable goods and services. The economic developer’s role [then] is to influence the process for the benefit of the community through expanding job opportunities and the tax base.”

Community Capacity Building

The Aspen Institute- Measuring Community Capacity: A Workbook for Rural Communities

Community capacity is the combined influence of a community’s commitment, resources and skills that can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems and opportunities. The three essential ingredients of community capacity—commitment, resources, and skills—don’t “just happen.” Rather, they are developed through effort and will, initiative and leadership.

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) combines academic coursework with the application of institutional resources to address challenges facing communities through…

  • engagement that addresses societal needs identified by a community partner or group
  • intentional integration of learning objectives co-created with community partner(s)
  • student preparation and ongoing critical reflection
  • clearly articulated benefits for students, community, and campus partners
  • opportunities to critically examine social issues and situate self within a community setting

*Adapted from: Michigan State University – Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Service-Learning Toolkit and Stanford Teaching Commons Community Engaged Learning for Faculty

Community Engaged Research:

(Also: action research, participatory research, popular education, participatory action research)

Center for Disease Control

The process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people.

Interfaith Engagement

President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge

Interfaith service involves people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds tackling community challenges together – for example, Protestants and Catholics, Hindus and Jews, and Muslims and non-believers — building a Habitat for Humanity house together. Interfaith service impacts specific community challenges, from homelessness to mentoring to the environment, while building social capital and civility.

Philanthropy Education

Campus Compact, Student4Giving program

The Students4Giving™ program provides a framework for philanthropic education emphasizing community-based knowledge with both grantmaking and fundraising dimensions. Students manage the philanthropic process, including creating a charitable mission statement, researching community issues, assessing the ability of nonprofits to address those issues, and learning to manage charitable funds to achieve philanthropic goals.

Political Engagement

Political Engagement Project—American Association of Colleges & Universities

Responsible political engagement entails a multidimensional set of inclinations, competencies, and behaviors—we call these political understanding, skill, motivation, and involvement/participation.

Our definition of political includes deliberation about political values, collaborative public work, community and civic involvement that has a systemic dimension, various forms of engagement with public policy issues, as well as electoral politics at all levels.

Social Entrepreneurship

Duke University—Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is the process of recognizing and resourcefully pursuing opportunities to create social value. Social entrepreneurs are innovative, resourceful, and results oriented to address critical social needs. They draw upon the best thinking in both the business and nonprofit worlds to develop strategies that maximize their social impact. These entrepreneurial leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: large and small; new and old; religious and secular; nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid. These organizations comprise the "social sector."

Social Responsibility and Volunteerism

Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) is about an individual becoming responsible in his/her actions that have an effect on communities outside his/her immediate circle. The immediate circle being family and friends. ISR is not only about committing acts of charityorking for the communities where you have material interest. These only form part of ISR, which is a broader concept that can be manifested through action, such as philanthropic behavior of an individual; the campaigner, volunteer and activist instinct in the individual that picks-up and supports issues affecting the society; and, the above two coupled with an individual being ethical (integrity, honesty) in his/her outward dealings. 

Awards and Recognition

In recognition of the service and engagement of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners, Michigan State University was awarded the following prestigious awards in 2014

U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Logo

2014 U.S. President's "Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (with Distinction)"

Carnegie Foundation Logo

2014 Carnegie Foundation "Elective Community Engagement" Classification

Michigan Campus Compact Logo

2014 Michigan Campus Compact "Engaged Campus of the Year"