Benefits of CCE Primer


Released in February 2021, the Primer on the Benefits and Value of Civic & Community Engagement in Higher Education, was created by the NC Campus Compact Community of Practice, Inquiry & Learning (COPIL). COPIL is comprised of practitioner-scholars interested in being part of the ongoing inquiry that is helping to establish promising practices of civic and community engagement and to build a knowledge base around it.  While the Primer project was envisioned in fall 2019 in response to a growing critique of the “social justice” goals of higher education, the urgency of it’s purpose was increased due to the challenges of 2020 – the global pandemic, racial unrest, and political polarization and threats to democracy.

The Primer is one installment in the Contributions of Civic and Community Engagement in Higher Education Series. The next installment in the series will be 4-page briefs that expand on the 17 topics in the Primer.

Click on the cover to download.


The topics included in the document are organized into three categories, although there is significant overlap amongst them.

Each topical entry includes one or more examples of this occurring on one of NC Campus Compact’s 2020-21 college or university member institutions.  In addition to an extensive references section, there are photos from member institutions of civic and community engagement in action.

Student-Related Institution-Related Community Related
  • Student Success
  • Academic Learning
  • Civic Learning
  • Global Learning & Relationship
  • Career Development
  • Empathy
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Faculty Flourishing
  • Multi-, Inter-, & Transdisciplinarity
  • Public Trust & Partnership
  • Political Engagement
  • Justice & Racial Healing
  • Sustainability & Sense of Place
  • Economic Development
  • P-20 Education
  • Crisis Response


The Primer goals are to:

  • Assemble evidence of how civic and community engagement (CCE) – when done well – contributes to the overarching goals of higher education
  • Highlight the range of CCE activities occurring in community-campus partnerships throughout the state
  • Provide a tool to aid in deepening the practice of engagement
  • Make the case for investment in and commitment to CCE


COPIL 2019-21 members who contributed:

  • Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, Duke University
  • Patti H. Clayton, PHC Ventures (Editor)
  • Margaret Commins, Queens University of Charlotte
  • Leslie Garvin, NC Campus Compact (Editor)
  • Cara Kozma, High Point University
  • Danielle Lake, Elon University
  • Ryan Nilsen, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Allison Walker, High Point University
  • Catherine Wright, Wingate University

Friends of COPIL who contributed:

  • Jessica D. Brazell-Brayboy (Editor)
  • Robert G. Bringle, IUPUI
  • Emily Kohl, Rockbridge Area Relief Association (Editor)
  • Kristin Medlin, Collaboratory (Graphic Designer and Editor)


We are grateful to Patti Clayton and PHC Ventures for co-sponsoring the Contributions of Civic and Community Engagement Series. 

Questions about the project or sponsorship opportunities? Contact Leslie Garvin, Executive Director